Three dozen young men and women graduated from the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s Modified Apprentice Training Program and are on their way towards self-sufficiency.

“Thank you for giving us a path to realize our potential,” said Marcus Graham, one graduate who was hired as a junior analyst for DCHA property management, at the September 13 ceremony. “Thank you for making the work fun…and for taking the time to help us perfect the skills.”

Graham also said he never expected the program’s managers would truly care about the participants and added that the time that was spent with the graduates “has not gone unnoticed.”

“The reality of this program has far exceeded our expectations,” said Graham, who said in addition to job opportunities, the program has renewed his sense of belonging and achievement.

The program, which began in March, provided DCHA customers the opportunity to learn job skills while also working to enhance the appearance and curb appeal of DCHA properties. At the end of the program the top performers competed for permanent positions within DCHA and with contractors who do business with DCHA.

So far, about 20 have found employment at DCHA, Department of Public Works, and with a DCHA contractor, Galaxy Paint. Another 20 are lined up for hire at DPW in the coming months.

“This is changing the game for all of you. I’m proud of you. You have come so far and worked so hard,” said DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett. “The Apprenticeship Training Program was designed to do just that—have resident participants learn job skills while working to enhance our properties. It is dedicated on the job training.”

DCHA will continue to keep the apprentices employed until they all find full-time employment.

“You took a step forward to change your destiny—a step to change your family’s destiny,” said Ward 8 Council member Trayon White.

Ward 5 Council member Kenyon McDuffie said that the support created through the program and from the graduates’ family and friends is priceless. He said the graduates can rely on the support network into the future.

DPW’s Demetria Harris who hired three of the apprentices and is lining up more opportunities for graduates in the coming months, said that the graduates were excited, professional, and well-spoken during their interviews, making them highly desirable candidates.

“Stop looking behind you and start looking in front of you,” she said.

Douglas Moody, a maintenance foreman who led the program, said this was a dream job for him.

“It is what I wanted to do all my life. I just wanted to give back to my community,” he said. “I really enjoyed working with you all.”

In addition to working throughout DCHA’s portfolio, the graduates participated in professional development trainings every other Friday that helped them have a more rounded education and training. A Wider Circle helped with these trainings and made sure all of the graduates had suits and business attire for the ceremony.

“Every end has a new beginning. We all worked hard to get to this day…Graduation is a launching point as we all continue on in our lives,” said Aleasha Meadows, who was named the Apprentice of the Program.

Last modified: 9/28/2018 3:28:38 PM