The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) this summer welcomes 28 new Safety/Hospitality and Maintenance (SAM) trainees to its dedicated fleet of red-and-black uniformed ambassadors. All 28 of the class members are residents of the District of Columbia.
Ten of the trainees were engaged through the District’s Department of Employment Services (DOES), through a $160,000 grant as part of their workforce development services for individuals with employment challenges, such as previous incarceration and homelessness.
“We are proud to be providing workforce opportunities to 28 District residents this year,” said BID President and CEO Neil Albert. “Our SAMs remain the core of our organization. We work to improve, beautify and maintain DowntownDC in hopes of sustainably giving back to an entire community.”
Training includes three weeks in the classroom and one week on the field with a focus on customer service, trash and debris removal, safety and prevention, and CPR and AED training. Professional development coaches, including Rodney C. Burris, have already begun to work closely with the trainees on their personal and professional goals.
“SAMs daily display their dedication to providing exceptional service for DowntownDC and similarly, the BID remains dedicated to their professional growth, workforce development and their career goals,” said Director of Public Space Operations Gerren Price.
SAMs enjoy full benefits, tuition assistance, year-round stability, ongoing training, and they are provided English, computer literacy, and other educational opportunities.
The BID employs on average 80 SAMs who serve as the caretakers of DowntownDC 362 days a year. SAMs remove trash and recycling, graffiti, stickers, gum, repair select sidewalk issues and log other public space concerns, and beautify DowntownDC through powerwashing, landscaping, painting and other tasks. They offer workers, visitors and residents on-the-street assistance with directions, recommendations and safety needs.
The current SAM vacancies were created after ambassadors moved on to new career opportunities. This year, four SAMs became full-time facility assistants at the new Downtown Day Services Center, which serves individuals experiencing homelessness.