D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's "One City One Hire" program reaches milestone

Wednesday marked a milestone for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's "One City One Hire" program. Gray announced he's halfway to his goal, connecting 10,000 D.C. residents with employment opportunities.

The program was launched to bring down the city's high unemployment rate.

At his bi-weekly press conference, Gray congratulated Dennis Green on his new job at Costco.

"Costco is my family now. So when I go to work, I don't think of it as work. It's a family," Green said.

Green was hired to work at Costco's new D.C. location through the "One City One Hire" program along with 140 other workers.

In all, nearly 5,200 D.C. residents have been hired though the program by 870 employers across the region.

The employers, in turn, get tax credits and subsidized job training for new hires.

Next month, the Department of Employment Services will launch a mobile app.

Lisa Mallory, the director of D.C.'s Department of Employment Services, said, "We do know of a lot of individuals who do not have access to a computer, but they do have a cell phone..."

But some have questioned how many of the jobs obtained through the program are in the private sector versus the D.C. government.

Gray said an overwhelming number have been hired by private companies.

"We don't expect the government to be the growing part of the economy. We expect to happen in the private sector. So when you look at our five year economic development plan, that's a lot of what we're focusing on," Gray said.

The Department of Employment Services says salaries range from minimum wage at $8.25 an hour up to $70,000 a year.

Najla A. Haywood, Acting Public Information Officer for the Department of Employment Services said, "177 residents were placed in District Government positions," less than 3.5% of the total 5188 residents hired through the program.

Gray added the program is helping to drop the unemployment rate from 11.2 percent in September to 8.5 percent presently.