Working Poor Families

About the Project

One out of three working families in the District earns less than 200 percent of poverty. To address this issue, DC Appleseed joined the national Working Poor Families Project as a DC partner. Through this effort, DC Appleseed works to improve economic opportunities for low-income families by focusing on policies in three areas: adult education and training, economic development, and working conditions in low-wage jobs. The Working Poor Families Project is supported by the Casey, Ford, Joyce, and Kresge foundations. For more information about the Working Poor Families project, visit

Seven of our current initiatives are part of the Working Poor Families Project:

Adult Literacy: DC Appleseed is advocating that the District expand adult literacy services and better integrate them with vocational training and education in order to increase earning capacity for D.C. residents without a high school degree.

Community College: DC Appleseed is helping advance a strong, independent community college in the District, which until recently was the only major American city without one.

Early Childhood Education: DC Appleseed is helping the District raise the quality of its early childhood education system by advocating better compensation and access to higher education for early childhood teachers, especially those who work in community-based programs.

Green Jobs: DC Appleseed is working to ensure that District residents have the right training to take advantage of new jobs and small business opportunities created by investments in stormwater infrastructure and the revitalization of the Anacostia River.

Increasing Quality of Home Health Jobs: Because two-thirds of the working poor families in the District are headed by single women, DC Appleseed is working to design career ladders, raise wages and improve working conditions in occupations dominated by women, in particular home health care.

Stronger Workforce Development System: DC Appleseed is advocating for the District to reform its federally funded workforce development system—including its one-stop career centers—to better meet the needs of both job-seekers and businesses.

Workforce Intermediary: DC Appleseed is helping the District launch a “workforce intermediary” to match hospitality and construction employers with qualified District residents as new jobs become available.

Project Staff and Partners

Staff Contact: Judy Berman and Amber Rieke

Pro Bono Partners: Arnold & Porter, LLP; Crowell & Moring LLP; Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP; Nelson Mullins; Squire Patton Boggs LLP; Steptoe & Johnson LLP; and Zuckerman Spaeder, LLP

Recent Working Poor Families News

Working Poor Families Library