(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser announced her appointment of Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes to be Director of the Department of Employment Services (DOES). Dr. Morris-Hughes has been serving as the interim Director of DOES since March 2018. Prior to serving as the interim Director, Dr. Morris-Hughes served as the agency’s Chief Strategy Officer.
“Dr. Morris-Hughes has a proven record of improving efficiencies and was instrumental in removing DOES from a federal high-risk designation while improving the agency’s ability to meet the needs of residents and businesses in Washington, DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “Since joining the agency, she has used her skills, knowledge, and experience to work relentlessly on building pathways to the middle class by connecting District residents, job seekers, and employers to opportunities and resources that empower fair, safe, and effective working communities for more Washingtonians.”
As the Chief Strategy Officer, she led a successful turnaround of the agency’s federally-funded workforce programs, eventually leading the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) to remove the District’s designation as a high risk grantee. The designation, which the District first received in 2012, came with sanctions and requirements, such as the submission of a corrective action plan and monthly progress reports. The removal of the designation reflected the vast improvements that have been made at DOES during the Bowser Administration.
Dr. Morris-Hughes came to DOES from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), where she served as Chief Operating Office and acting Assistant Superintendent of Wellness and Nutrition. At OSSE, Dr. Morris-Hughes led the turnaround on efficient distribution of the U.S. Department Education’s federal grant programs – and resulted in that agency also being removed from federal high-risk status for grant oversight, operation management, and fiscal reporting.
Dr. Morris-Hughes obtained a doctorate from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a Master of Business Administration from Trinity University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Johnson C. Smith University.