Monday, April 26, 2010

UDC to Open NOMA Campus

The Washington Business Journal reports that the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) has signed a 17-year lease for 88,000 square feet of space at 801 North Capitol Street NE.  The office building, which formerly housed the District's Department of Housing and Community Development, Office of Planning, and several other agencies, will serve as the new campus for UDC's community college.  UDC also plans to open additional campuses at the Bernie Backus Middle School at 5171 South Dakota Avenue as well as at Hayes Street and Kenilworth Avenue NE.

Until now, the District was the only major urban center in the country without a standalone community college.  This is an important step forward.  Here's a few interesting facts:
  • Census estimates for 2005 suggest that more than 111,000 working-age adults in the city have no post-secondary education.
    • Among DC's adult population, roughly 36% has no education beyond high school, and one in seven adults has less than a high school diploma.
    • 20% of District adults are functioning at the lowest level of literacy.
  • Brookings Greater Washington Program estimates there are between 51,000 – 61,000 low-income residents aged 16 to 64 in the District with less than a college degree who could benefit from education, training, and work-readiness services. The majority are less-skilled, with a high school degree or less. D.C. residents with a high school degree or less have higher poverty and unemployment rates than those with some postsecondary education and college degrees.
  • In DC's highly-skilled labor market, 45% of all job openings from 2006-2016 will require a bachelor's degree or more, while another 30% of projected jobs will be "middle-skill" occupations—those that require a college credential, but not necessarily a bachelor's degree.
  • "Middle-skill" jobs are projected to continue to account for one-third of DC's jobs in 2016. Projections estimate that DC employers will need to hire over 6,300 workers in middle-skill jobs annually.
    • Six career clusters ranked at the top for the number of middle-skill jobs in 2006: (1) Business Management and Administration; (2) Law, Public Safety, and Security; (3) Health Science; (4) Marketing, Sales, and Service; (5) Hospitality and Tourism; and (6) Information Technology.
    • There is steady demand for auto mechanics, skilled construction trades, and electronic equipment technicians.
    • Many of the local high-demand middle-skill occupations are also projected to grow nationally. For example, registered nurses, computer support specialists, paralegals and legal assistants, legal secretaries, and dental hygienists represent occupations with the largest projected job growth nationally among occupations requiring an associate degree.
    • Together, occupations in the top six clusters account for 64 percent of all middle-skill jobs (in 2006 and projected in 2016). These career clusters are projected to provide over 4,000 middle-skill job openings annually.
  • Environmental technology and green building trades is a potential growth area: construction, architecture, engineering, and landscape design.
  • Brookings estimates that a full-service DC community college is likely to enroll between 7,000 and 9,000 students, or approximately 5,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) students (not including enrollment in noncredit programs).
Personally, I would have preferred that UDC find a more prominent, inspiring location than an old office building for its flagship downtown location (the Franklin School, for instance).  Hopefully, UDC will do a bang up job on the build out of 801 N. Cap. to make it a worthy location for the District's students.  UDC plans to have the building ready for classes this fall.

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