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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Mayor of Washington, D.C. has opened a partnership that will provide a pipeline to in-demand infrastructure jobs.

Mayor Muriel Bowser opened the DC Infrastructure Academy on Monday and called it a pathway to the middle class.

The DC Infrastructure Academy will provide high-quality, specialized trainings and other workforce development programs that help District residents secure high-paying, long-term employment in the infrastructure industry.

A statement says the District’s infrastructure sector included 6,753 jobs, with 2,231 job openings and only 1,246 hires in 2017, representing a shortage of nearly 50 percent in an industry with an average hourly wage of $48.75.

The District partnered with utility companies, unions, universities and private companies on the new training effort.