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When Tamika pushed open the door to the office of the District of Columbia Job Placement Program (DC Jobs), she had one goal in mind: earn enough money to buy a reliable car so she could take her children to school and other local activities. Tamika was determined to get a job, even a short-term one. But thanks to the support of our Maximus team that operates DC Jobs, she got more than that. She got an on-ramp to an upwardly mobile career.

Situation

In a city with an unemployment rate that’s often among the highest in the nation, DC Jobs offers a critical lifeline to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients who are seeking employment and self-sufficiency but face significant barriers. They may not have a high school diploma or ever held a job. They may be struggling to secure child care, obtain mental health services, or find permanent housing.

Darren Ross, Maximus project director, explains, “Many of the customers we support don't have stable housing. They may be staying temporarily with family and friends or in a shelter while trying their best to improve their circumstances. They're often in shaky situations.”

For many, landing a job is the first step toward greater stability.

Challenge

DC Jobs works with TANF recipients and District of Columbia Family Rehousing and Stabilization Project participants to overcome barriers and secure reliable work. Yet finding work in DC can be tough. The once-thriving downtown is quieter these days as more people work remotely and many small businesses reliant on this in-person workforce have permanently closed.

Solution

Our Maximus team has connected over 14,000 families to employment, with 8,200 being higher wage jobs, since 2000. Through DC Jobs, we offer three core services to get our customers back into the workforce as quickly as possible.

    For example, DC Jobs partners with a local grocery chain for monthly job fairs. The grocer wanted residents to know about a new nutrition center at the store. DC Jobs wanted to offer customers an easy-to-attend job fair. To meet both goals, the event was timed with the release of SNAP benefit payments, giving customers an opportunity to purchase healthy food for their families while also learning about employment opportunities.

    Results

    With a focus not just on jobs but also long-term careers, DC Jobs connects customers to employment opportunities that can become on-ramps to upward mobility.

      Many of our customers gravitate toward positions in the medical and security fields, which tend to offer higher-paying entry-level professional jobs. Once we help a customer secure a job, we work with them to keep it — or move on if it isn’t a good fit.

      The Maximus difference

      Darren has spent the last 20 years connecting people to satisfying, steady work. For him, it’s about building community, fostering connections, and creating a culture where people genuinely want to support each other. He stays in contact with former customers and has even hired some, too. In fact, about a third of his Maximus team started out as DC Jobs customers, bringing valuable lived experience to their work.

      As for Tamika and her quest for a car? “Her initial placement was as a receptionist at a security firm. Her employer saw real potential in her, moving her to a lead position, then a supervisor,” Darren recounts. She got the car, and now has a reliable source of transportation for her family.

      “Helping people embrace their new jobs, work hard, and advance is a personal goal for me. I love to see my customers become self-sufficient and able to support their families with pride.”

      - Darren Ross, Maximus Project Director, DC Jobs