DC Mayor Vincent Gray’s One City Summit: Grade B-

I have spent the last couple of days thinking about how to explain my thoughts about the One City Summit.  I could take hours sorting and referring to data but I will just reference a few “wins” and “losses.” And of course, a few recommendations.

Losing

1.  Too much CASH spent! $650K (ish) -$50K donated- at least that is what my source from the Mayor’s office quoted.  So roughly $333.00 was spent per person. That could have been a great professional development course!

2.  Too long

3.  Social Media use by participants was not encouraged in fact it was discouraged.

4.  Tone of summit in my opinion focused almost entirely on one segment of District residents.  The summit did very little to discuss underemployement and people who have skills but are unemployed due to a saturation of skilled people in particular fields or with specific education.  Many people in DC that have degree’s have nearly the same skill set.  Below are words that I took from the “Aligning Residents Job Skills with a Growing Economy” document that was provided in the participant guide.  Not once were phrases or words like:  “professional development,” “higher education,” “career advancement,” and “visionary” mentioned in the jobs skills literature.

Aligning Residents Job Skills with a Growing Economy Wordle

Winning

(^^^I have never used or made a reference to the above phrase but I thought it would be fun)

1.  After reading the One City Preliminary Data Report (I LOVE data) I was very pleased to see that the demographics at the Summit came very close to matching the 2010 Census data.  I am very passionate about Census data I was in fact a Census taker in DC for 5 months.

2.  Meeting new people!  Around 2000 people came out to get involved in DC Government issues.  A DC government representative told me that only about 40% of attendee’s were “regular” civic meeting attendees.  Cool-i-o.  Basically, I had one of the coolest ladies in my group let’s just say if we had been coming up together in grade school the teacher would have separated us for talking too much!

One City New Friend

3.  Watching a bunch of old people (me included) dancing in mass was GREAT!  I would say that was the best part of the day!

For next time (because there should be one)

1.  Save money! Don’t use a high-gloss folder for participant materials.  Give us a magnet or something that we can use in the future with city services or contacts.  Post documents online and have only a few paper copies for people that request a copy.

2.  Encourage social media use among participants!  Have “social media” time built into the discussions.

3.  Hold a youth summit occurring simultaneously.

4.  When presenting topics of discussion give an idea of how District policies and services are already in existence.  Don’t give people false hope that their ideas may take shape if there is no way it could tangibly take place.  For example, ex-offenders may never have the opportunity to use some of the mentioned employment reform ideas due to their criminal record.  In fact criminal records are one of the #1 barriers to employment in the District and it was not mentioned in discussions. The Office of Returning Citizens Affairs and Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (I realize this is a federal agency) are not listed among the agencies to be reviewed for job training of residents.

5.  Continue to have what I am calling “One City One Cookie” at all future events!

One City One Cookie