Living wage program launches in Alexandria

LaJuanna Russell of Business Management Associates, Danielle Romanetti of Fibre Space, Rev. David Gortner of Virginia Theological Seminary and Kim Bobo of Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (Photo credit: Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy)

Local nonprofit leaders have partnered to launch a living wage program in the city, the new organization announced on Monday.

The living wage program certifies employers who pay their workers a wage in line with living costs in the city. Alexandria businesses are at gold level if they pay $15.70 per hour, silver at $14.13 per hour and inspirational at $11.23 per hour.

The private program is envisioned as a road forward for increasing the housing options available to minimum wage workers in the city. Living costs in the city have far surpassed the wages of such workers in the city, and Virginia doesn’t allow individual communities to raise minimum wage. 

Employers apply for certification by emailing [email protected] and, after being certified, the program encourages customers to support those businesses through advertising, as well as in other ways.

The program was founded by Kim Bobo, executive director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and the Rev. David Gortner, associate dean of church and community engagement at the Virginia Theological Seminary, in collaboration with other leaders in the faith, civic and business sectors.