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Mayor Bowser Kicks Off HBCU Public Service Program and Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

Monday, November 13, 2023
Program to Connect HBCU Students to Careers in DC Government; DOES to Hold Apprenticeship Events Throughout Week

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by the presidents of Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) to officially launch the new HBCU Public Service Program. The HBCU Public Service Program is a first-of-its-kind partnership that recognizes the important impact Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have in DC and that will create a new pathway to public service for graduating students from Howard and UDC.

“Through the HBCU Public Service Program, we will bring some of our best and brightest HBCU graduates into DC Government where they will not only launch their careers but contribute directly to DC’s future,” said Mayor Bowser. “And this new effort is just one way to build a career in local public service. From apprenticeship programs to the opportunities listed on, if you want to make a difference in DC there is a place for you here in DC Government.”

Announced by Mayor Bowser at this year’s Bloomberg CityLab, the HBCU Public Service Program will provide participating students with a yearlong paid apprenticeship and valuable work experience with a District agency. Participants will also be eligible to enroll in professional development courses led by the Department of Employment Services (DOES).

“For 156 years, Howard University has been an engine of change, providing students with opportunities to learn and grow in ways that truly prepare them to be successful when they begin the next chapter of their lives,” said Ben Vinson, Ph.D., President of Howard University. “This program will play a key role in ensuring that the talent we see daily basis from our dynamic students will be able to assist with fortifying our local government, which, in turn, will result in delivering programs and services that will make the District of Columbia an even better place to live, work and learn. It’s especially meaningful that Mayor Bowser is choosing to partner with HBCUs, exemplifying her commitment, belief, and respect for our institutions of higher learning that possess a very distinct purpose and standing not just in our nation, but throughout our world.”

Starting in June 2024, the inaugural cohort will consist of 25 Howard and UDC graduates who will be placed with participating District agencies and offices. Upon completion of the yearlong apprenticeship program, participants will be eligible for full-time employment in District Government. Interested applicants must maintain District residency throughout their apprenticeship year and to qualify for full-time employment within District Government.

“We appreciate Mayor Bowser’s support and investment in our University and look forward to partnering on this exciting new opportunity for UDC students,” said Maurice D. Edington, Ph.D., President of the University of the District of Columbia. “Preparing students for careers in public service is a key component of our mission, both as the District's only public university and as an HBCU. The HBCU Public Service Program will further strengthen our capacity to produce talented graduates who meet workforce needs, activate the local economy, and serve their communities.” 

Applications for the HBCU Public Service Program will open in February 2024. Interested students can learn more by visiting

Beyond the HBCU Public Service Program, DOES supports a wide range of apprenticeship programs through the Office of Apprenticeship, Information, and Training (OAIT). This year, OAIT connected over 850 District residents in all eight wards with apprenticeships at over 300 businesses, trade unions, and employers.

“DOES has worked for years to ensure Washingtonians have access to high quality job training for some of the most important careers of the future,” said Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes, Director of the Department of Employment Services. “Our relentless commitment to District residents to provide these opportunities open gateways that can lead to economic prosperity.”

In honor of National Apprenticeship Week, OAIT will host a series of events this week, including:

Apprenticeship Registration Day:

  • When: Tuesday, November 14, 10 am – 12 pm
  • Where: DOES Headquarters, 4058 Minnesota Ave. NE
  • RSVP here.

Apprenticeship Hiring Fair:

  • When: Wednesday, November 15, 10 am – 12 pm
  • Where: DOES Headquarters, 4058 Minnesota Ave. NE
  • RSVP here.

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