Skyland Workforce Center Celebrates 5th Anniversary

The Skyland Workforce Center and its nonprofit partners celebrated five years of helping people get trained and placed in jobs.

Many jobseekers face multiple challenges related to literacy, computer skills, work readiness, transportation, housing and other barriers to employment. The Center leverages the expertise of its six partners to provide high-quality workforce development programs in one location, leading to work-ready employee candidates, career-focused job placement, economic self-sufficiency and improved quality of life.

The Center’s partners are Byte Back, Calvary Women’s Services, Life Asset, Southeast Ministry, Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, and Samaritan Ministry. The Center is a program of Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR).

WC Smith Chairman and CEO Chris Smith and Rappaport CEO Gary Rappaport founded Skyland Workforce Center as a way to provide employment training for people seeking jobs at the Skyland Town Center development, which is across the street. WC Smith is the residential developer and Rappaport the retail developer for Skyland Town Center.

Among the people recognized during an anniversary celebration today were three graduates of Skyland Workforce Center’s training programs – Dexter Wilson (pictured above, with Center Director Annemarie Bairstow), who works for District Electric Services, Michele Holmes, who works for Worcester Eisenbrandt, and Edward Thomas, who works for Safeway.

Since opening its doors in December 2014, the Center has served more than 5,000 people, residing mostly in DC’s Wards 7 and 8, and placed 561 people in jobs spanning a wide range of fields: construction, retail, hospitality and office. Of those, 25 have been hired to work at the Skyland Town Center.

“When we opened the Skyland Workforce Center in 2014, it was a new venture for BBAR, and an experiment in having nonprofits collaborate on service delivery,” said Chris Smith, chair of the BBAR Board and chairman and CEO of WC Smith. “We are thrilled to see that the experiment was a success, and that so many people have been able to receive services at the Center.”

More information about the Skyland Workforce Center can be found at