D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill that would ensure that city residents receive priority for new jobs created by municipal financing and development programs.

The District of Columbia Workforce Intermediary Establishment and Reform of First Source and Living Wage Act of 2011, signed on Dec. 21, mandates that all projects funded

in whole or in part with District of Columbia funds, or other funds which the District administers, shall provide for increased employment opportunities for District residents.

In addition, a pilot program will be created to match job seekers with employers, under the measure.

The bill is part of the mayor’s One City, One Hire plan, an economic development strategy designed to jump start employment in the District by providing incentives for employers to hire District residents and to partner with job coaching and mentoring services to help would-be employees be ready for jobs.

According to One City, One Hire’s website http://onecityonehire.org, there are about 51,000 advertised job openings in the Washington metropolitan area, with positions ranging from entry-level to executive-level in a variety of industry sectors.

Simultaneously, there are approximately 36,000 unemployed residents in the District of Columbia, with a variety of experience ranging from those who have limited skills and multiple barriers to employment to those with advanced degrees and impressive work histories.

The city’s Department of Employment Services has several programs and services to offer employers and job seekers to help bridge the skills gap. It offers tax incentives and wage subsidies to employers, provides pre-employment training for some emerging/high demand occupations, and offers employment hopefuls with work-readiness preparation.