Career Pathways - Entry Level Jobs for Resident District Graduates


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
Feb. 12, 2021 When Superseded 2  


On February 22, 2019, the District government created the Pathway to Government Employment Partnership Program ("Career Pathways Program") to give graduates of District public high schools and recipients of a GED or high school equivalency credential from the District a first shot at entry-level District government jobs. This issuance provides additional information about the Career Pathways Program, how District agencies support the Program, and how District residents may take advantage of the Program to gain a foothold into middle-class, public service careers.

About the Program

The Career Pathways Program gives District residents who are graduates of District public high schools or recipients of a GED or high school equivalency credential from the District priority consideration for entry-level District government jobs. Using partnerships between the District government and District public schools, adult education schools, and nonprofit organizations that prepare District residents for District high school diplomas or high school equivalency credentials, the Career Pathways Program will promote employment applications from and the hiring of resident District graduates into entry-level jobs that serve as steppingstones to skilled, professional careers.


To be eligible for priority consideration for entry-level job opportunities via the Career Pathways Program, an individual must currently reside in the District and have obtained one of the following:

  • A high school diploma from the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS);
  • A high school diploma from a District public charter school; or 
  • A GED or high school equivalency credential from the District of Columbia.
Note: There are no date restrictions on when a District resident earned their diploma or received a high school equivalency credential. All applicants will need to be able to provide verification of eligibility.

Entry-Level Jobs

Under this Program, an entry-level job means a competitive job classified at grade seven or below in the Career Service.

Note: Agencies may request other positions that are not grade seven or below to be designated as entry level with the approval of DCHR. Further, DCHR, at its discretion, can designate other positions that are not grade seven or below as entry level.

Priority Hiring Consideration

For each entry-level job opening, District government agencies under the Mayor’s authority must exclusively consider hiring resident District graduate applicants who are scored or ranked as at least qualified. The District government can only consider other candidates from the public if there are no qualified and eligible resident District graduate candidates to fill the position.

Applying for an Entry-Level Job

How to Apply

Eligible resident District graduate applicants can apply for an entry-level position by following the steps below:

  1. Visit and create a new user account by clicking “New User.” If you already have an account, click “Sign In.”
  2. Once you have logged in with your user account, click “View All Jobs” to see a listing of all vacant positions within the District government.
  3. To filter for positions that are part of the Career Pathways Program, select “District Graduate” in the “Area of Consideration” field on the left-hand side.
  4. View the jobs that interest you. When you are ready, click the green “Apply for Job” button to apply to the position.

Getting an Interview

After applying for a job on, eligible applicants undergo a screening and evaluation using established competitive recruitment procedures. After applying:

  1. The agency to which you applied will determine if you have the necessary qualifications based on your answers to the application questions.
  2. If you are qualified, the agency, or DCHR on behalf of the agency, may contact you to conduct an interview.
  3. After interviewing candidates, the agency, or DCHR on behalf of the agency, will select applicants for hire.

Getting a Job Offer

If the hiring agency selects you and you are a qualified, eligible candidate:

  1. You will receive a conditional offer letter.
  2. After receiving the conditional offer letter, you must submit proof of education of one of the following:
    1. High School Transcript;
    2. GED Certificate;
    3. High School Diploma;
    4. Official letter from DCPS or the Office of the State Superintendent of Education certifying you as a District public high school graduate; or
    5. Equivalent documentation that the personnel authority considers acceptabl
  3. You will also have to submit proof of your District residency. This may include a driver’s license or other proofs (see Issuance No. 2020-03, Residency for more details).
  4. Depending on the position, you may have to undergo suitability checks such as a criminal background check and/or drug screening.
  5. DCHR, in partnership with other agencies, will review and verify the documents you provide. Once verified, and after you have passed any applicable suitability checks, you will receive a final offer letter.
  6. Your final offer letter will contain your scheduled New Employee Orientation Date, which will officially mark your first day of work!
Note: Once a candidate becomes an employee, the employee is not required to remain a District resident, unless the employee also selected the Residency Preference when applying for the position. If the employee selects the Residency Preference, they must remain a resident for seven consecutive years.

For Hiring Agencies

Posting Career Pathway Jobs

Agencies must post all Career Service job vacancies at grades seven and below on, initially limiting the area of consideration to resident District graduates. While most entry-level jobs must be competed, in some cases, non-competitive procedures will better serve an agency’s needs, i.e., the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program. In those cases, agencies must request and receive authorization from DCHR before making any non-competitive job offers for these positions.

For all competitive Career Service vacancies at grades seven and below, agencies must develop a vacancy announcement that includes the following language:

This position is part of the Pathway to Government Employment Partnership Program. District residents who received a high school diploma from the District of Columbia Public Schools or a District public charter school or received a GED or its equivalent from the District of Columbia will receive priority consideration for this entry-level position. Applicants must provide a high school transcript, GED certificate, high school diploma, or other applicable documentation along with verification of District residency before the District government may extend a final offer of employment.”

Additionally, agencies must select “District Graduate” under the area of consideration for any applicable postings.

Agencies must accept applications from resident District graduates for each competitive entry-level position for at least five business days. If an agency is unable to fill a position after exclusively considering all resident District graduate applicants who are ranked as “qualified” (or equivalent) and above, the agency may consider applicants from the general public to fill the position.  

Screening Applicants

A qualified applicant claiming to be a resident District graduate will receive consideration priority for entry level Career Service positions. The assigned HR Specialist shall confirm that the applicant selected “yes” on the Career Pathways screening question and conduct an analysis of the application to determine whether the candidate qualifies for the Program and the job.  All qualified resident District graduate applicants must be referred to the hiring manager before any other candidates may be referred.  If an agency is unable to fill a position after considering all qualified resident District graduate applicants, the agency may consider other candidates. Quarterly, DCHR will review entry-level positions to ensure eligible resident District graduates were considered prior to reviewing other applicants.

Fine Print

Preference Points

Program participants may select and receive any additional, applicable preferences, such as Veteran’s Preference, Foster Care Youth Employment Preference, or Residency Preference as part of their application to an entry-level job.

Term Employees

Employees who currently occupy entry-level term positions that were obtained by open competition do not have to compete for their positions again once the position is eligible for conversion in accordance with Chapter 8 of the District Personnel Manual (DPM). Moving forward, however, competitive entry-level term positions will be required to go through the Career Pathways Program process.

Returning Employees

When an agency experiences a reduction-in-force and has individuals within its Agency Reemployment Priority Program (ARPP) or Displaced Employee Program (DEP), the agency must first make entry-level positions available to ARPP and DEP program participants. The agency must hire for the entry-level job using competitive recruitment procedures giving priority consideration to resident District graduates after exhausting any list of ARPP and DEP candidates.

In addition, agencies may give priority placement to employees returning from a workplace disability before making the position available to resident District graduates.

Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs)

In the event of a conflict between any of the provisions of this issuance and any CBA, the provisions of the CBA shall control to the extent there is a difference.


This issuance applies to those District government agencies subordinate to the Mayor’s personnel authority.

More Information

To learn more about the Career Pathways Program, we encourage you to review the corresponding Career Pathways Program at a Glance. To view the law passed by the D.C. Council creating the Pathway to Government Employment Partnership Program, please review D.C. Official Code §§ 1-603.01, 1-604.02a and 1-608.01.

Additional Questions

If you are a resident District graduate or an agency seeking assistance, please contact



  1. Attachment 1 - The Career Pathways Program at a Glance
  2. Attachment 2 - Career Pathways Checklist for Agencies

Issued by Director Ventris C. Gibson, D.C. Department of Human Resources on Feb. 12, 2021, midnight