Mayor Bowser launches HBCU Public Service Program to provide careers in DC Government for UDC and Howard students

Mayor Bowser launches HBCU Public Service Program to provide careers in DC Government for UDC and Howard students

Mayor Bowser launches HBCU Public Service Program to provide careers in DC Government for UDC and Howard students

HCBU apprenticeship program
Miss Firebird Donique Francis; Miss UDC Jhanine Walker; Mr. UDC Kiran Terrelonge; DC Mayor Muriel Bowser; Howard University Student Association President Nia Taylor; USGA President Brent Thigpen; UDC President Maurice D. Edington, Ph.D.; Howard University President Ben Vinson III, Ph.D.; DC Department of Employment Services Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes

The University of the District of Columbia and Howard University are teaming up with Mayor Muriel Bowser to provide the District’s HBCU students a pathway to a career in public service.

Starting in 2024, the HBCU Public Service Program will allow graduates of both schools to participate in a yearlong paid apprenticeship with a District government agency. Afterward, they will be eligible for full-time employment with the DC government.

Applications will open on February 1, 2024, and close on February 28, 2024. Participants must be DC residents during their apprenticeship and maintain District residency to qualify for full-time employment with the DC government. Twenty-five graduating seniors will be chosen for the program.

Mayor Bowser announced the partnership on November 13 at UDC, where shared her goal of bringing the best and brightest graduates from UDC and Howard to the DC government.

“I know how exciting this opportunity is – it’s also exciting for your parents, because it may mean that before you graduate, you already have a job,” said Bowser.

Mayor Bowser explored how she sees it as part of her job to ensure that UDC and HU students see a career in District government as a first choice after graduation.

She explained, “Here’s why you should see it that way: We’re a local government, and in local government in DC, you could go to the feds. You can go to think tanks. You can go to a lot of places that do public policy, but you won’t have the immediate impact that you can have in local government.

“I tell folks if you like politics, if you like people, if you like to mix it up a bit, you like public policy but more than that, you want to change communities one block at a time, the place you go is local government. One thing we have that other cities don’t have is we’re a city, county, state, school district all at once.”

UDC President Maurice D. Edington, Ph.D., thanked Mayor Bowser for her steadfast support and shared his own excitement for the new program, and the many ways in which it aligns with his mission and ambitious vision for UDC.

“At UDC, we help prepare future public servants every day. For example, we offer workforce development pathways and construction and information technology, a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, a master’s degree in homeland security, a Ph.D. in urban leadership and entrepreneurship, the only program of its kind in the nation.

“Our law school is among the top tier in the country for sending its graduates to public interest and government jobs. So, as you can see, this program fits what we do, who we are and how we want to serve and impact our community,” the President said.

Edington continuing by warmly acknowledging his long partnership with Howard University President Ben Vinson III, Ph.D., and looking forward to their future work together.

“President Vinson and I  had a prior relationship in our former lives as provosts to other institutions, and so when we both came to town, we started having some preliminary discussions about how to build on and expand this wonderful relationship, this partnership that our two institutions have had, and so I look forward to working with you, Sir, in the future,” he said.

Vinson said it was “truly an honor and a privilege” to be at UDC to launch the very first HBCU Public Service program in the nation.

“This is a visionary program, and I’m so delighted on behalf of Howard University to be a part of the magic taking place here,” he said. “The vision couldn’t be more in line with what we’re trying to do at Howard University. Our core values – fostering excellence in leadership, truth and service – are footprints in this program.

“An overwhelming number of our students come to campus with the disposition to serve. You can see this almost every day at Howard University. You can see it at our Day of Service that kicks off our academic year. You can see it in the number of underclassmen who are applying to our alternative spring break program in which some students forfeit their normal break to go across the nation to serve,” Vinson said.

“Countless other students come to the Mecca unsure of their life’s purpose only to discover that purpose as they journey through the institution. All of this helps explain why anticipation for this apprenticeship program is already extremely high at Howard University. We already have several graduating seniors – and Dr. Edington, I’m pretty sure you know yours as well – who are primed and ready to begin this particular program. They are absolutely perfect for this opportunity,” he said.

Vinson said the HBCU Public Service Program is tailor-made for students with a heart for service, a heart for DC and who are in the midst of figuring out what’s next post-graduation.

“Throughout my experience in working with students in higher education, sometimes it’s the students who have a strong desire to work in public service who sometimes have the toughest time finding suitable employment after they graduate, but this program with 25 new apprentices, with a direct pipeline to employment in DC government, this helps rectify the issue, and we expect that this is just the beginning,” he said.

“As we develop this program and determine the best practices for making it a lasting success, I am confident in saying that all of us are more than happy in collaborating not just with UDC but hopefully, we can take this and collaborate with other HBCUs in delivering these types of opportunities in other cities throughout the country,” Vinson said.