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Alamo City Chamber response to Bexar County

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DEAR MR. SMITH:

We (The Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce) received your letter dated July 17, 2018 “suspending” the Agreement. While the Chamber is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the County, we are disappointed with both the suspension and the manner in which the suspension arose.

As a reminder of how the Agreement materialized:

The Chamber was approached around January of 2018 regarding the results of Bexar County’s UTSA AABE study. The study demonstrated rather clearly that, despite existing programs in the County, African-American Business Enterprises (“AABE”) accounted for merely 3.8% of all firms in the Bexar County- San Antonio Metropolitan Area. The study further identified that these businesses faced barriers to contracting and advancement that could be ameliorated with management assistance and training. Despite the desire and stated commitment to alleviate this problem and prior initiatives regarding the same from numerous parties (and even the County’s own DBE department), the community continued to experience a gap in the availability and capacity of African-American Business Enterprises.

Founded in 1938, the Chamber is the third oldest black chamber of commerce in the United States. The Chamber has a diverse mix of board members and relationships with other, similarly aligned organizations. The Chamber is thus a natural partner for matters affecting the black business community in the Bexar County- San Antonio Metropolitan Area.

After being approached to propose a resolution to the issues identified in the UTSA AABE Study, the Chamber spent months developing a proposal for a program that would train and equip both African American Business Enterprises and other underserved businesses in the County to bid on County contracts and ultimately succeed in becoming contracting partners with the County. The first contract/grant proposal was presented to the County on or about January 4, 2018. Between January 2018 and March 2018, the County’s staff and the Chamber closely collaborated, and the Chamber received feedback on requested adjustments and capacity building that the County sought in order for the Chamber to be a grant recipient.

The full Commissioner’s Court fielded multiple responses from the Chamber and others regarding the proposal, and ultimately voted unanimously in favor of approving the proposed program.

The Chamber and Black Contractor’s Association then made a public presentation and request for approval of the Chamber’s proposal (and the Agreement) to the full Bexar County Commissioner’s Court on March 13, 2018 along with a proposed budget. Program goals and solutions were presented in detail, including proposed partnerships, performance measurement, and the Chamber’s capacity for goal achievement. The Chair of the County’s SWMBE Advisory Committee, Chris Forbrich, and Renee Watson, the County’s SWMBE manager, were in attendance (Ms. Watson made a presentation regarding AABE’s immediately prior to the Chamber’s presentation). Frank Dunn and Margaret Wilson-Anaglia, members of the County’ SWMBE Advisory Committee, were also in attendance. Joe Linson, another member of the SWMBE Advisory Committee, voiced his support for the Chamber’s proposal during the Chamber’s presentation commenting that “this has been vetted.” Commissioner Kevin Wolff asked various questions about the program’s reach and performance metrics, which the Chamber addressed, including multiple clarifications that the reach of the program was not limited to AABEs. Commissioner Tommy Calvert highlighted the program’s ongoing reporting requirements. Commissioner Paul Elizondo commented on the goal of developing local businesses within the Bexar County metro area to help fill the gap in such a manner that programs like the Chamber’s proposal became unnecessary. The full Commissioner’s Court fielded multiple responses from the Chamber and others regarding the proposal, and ultimately voted unanimously in favor of approving the proposed program. Video of the presentation is available on the County’s website.

See more: Full Response at Alamo City Chamber website

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Amazon’s Pledge

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Amazon Pledges to Upskill 100,000 U.S. Employees for In-Demand Jobs by 2025

Amazon will invest over $700 million to provide upskilling training programs for one in three of its employees across the U.S.

Programs will help Amazonians from all backgrounds access training to move into highly skilled technical and non-technical roles across the company’s corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retail stores, and transportation network, or pursue career paths outside of Amazon

Based on a review of its workforce and analysis of U.S. hiring, Amazon’s fastest growing highly skilled jobs over the last five years include data mapping specialist, data scientist, solutions architect and business analyst, as well as logistics coordinator, process improvement manager and transportation specialist within our customer fulfillment network

Employee upskilling investment builds on Amazon’s $15 minimum wage and comprehensive benefits including medical insurance, 401k savings plan, and generous parental leave

Amazon’s Upskilling 2025 pledge invests in a range of new upskilling programs to serve employees from all backgrounds and Amazon locations. Programs include Amazon Technical Academy, which equips non-technical Amazon employees with the essential skills to transition into, and thrive in, software engineering careers; Associate2Tech, which trains fulfillment center associates to move into technical roles regardless of their previous IT experience; Machine Learning University, offering employees with technical backgrounds the opportunity to access machine learning skills via an on-site training program; AmazonCareer Choice, a pre-paid tuition program designed to train fulfillment center associates in high-demand occupations of their choice; Amazon Apprenticeship, a Department of Labor certified program that offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships with Amazon; and AWS Training and Certification, which provide employees with courses to build practical AWS Cloud knowledge that is essential to operating in a technical field.

“Through our continued investment in local communities in more than 40 states across the country, we have created tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S. in the past year alone,” said Beth Galetti, Senior Vice President, HR. “For us, creating these opportunities is just the beginning. While many of our employees want to build their careers here, for others it might be a stepping stone to different aspirations. We think it’s important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves. With this pledge, we’re committing to support 100,000 Amazonians in getting the skills to make the next step in their careers.”

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Subcontractors Opportunity

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ST. PHILIP’S COLLEGE IS THE HOST SITE OF A JOB INFORMATION SESSION FOR POTENTIAL SUBCONTRACTORS IN A HALF-BILLION-DOLLAR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT—A 12-STORY UHS HOSPITAL SERVING CHILDREN AND WOMEN

SAN ANTONIO (June 26, 2019)–––St. Philip’s College is the host site of an information session for potential subcontractors in a half-billion-dollar construction project with a bevy of jobs to fill.

A capital improvement at University Hospital’s main campus in the South Texas Medical Center includes a 12-story hospital serving children and women.

The subcontractor job information session for the $500 million project is June 29 from 9 a.m. to noon in the college’s 600-seat Watson Fine Arts Center at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive. Parking and admission are both free. Guests should look for event parking in front of the college’s large blue Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award signage on the auditorium exterior that is visible from Martin Luther King Drive.

The project is by far the largest single project the college has supported as a facility-leasing community partner for an emerging job opportunity. Guests should also note that St. Philip’s College operates the city’s most advanced community college-level training facilities for most of the construction subcontractor—and medical technology—job opportunities related to this project with a November 2019 groundbreaking date and a 2022 completion date. 

For subcontractor details on the June 29 information session, contact UHS director of supply diversity Edward Cruz, Jr., at (210) 358-9112,edward.cruzjr@uhs-sa.com. For leasing details at the SPC Watson Fine Arts Center, contact college technical director-auditorium manager Russell Calder at (210) 486-2706, rcalder@alamo.edu. Find details for St. Philip’s College education in the types of professions related to this $500 million project at alamo.edu/spc.

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1st African American USAA Chairman to Retire

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Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Lester Lyles has announced the next USAA’s membership meeting in August will be the last as chairman.
Since 2004 General Lyles has been on USAA’s board of directors. He told members that he deeply appreciates their trust and thanked them “for your loyalty through the years” in a recent letter that was part of the annual membership report.

Born April 20, 1946 General Lyles is a former United States Air Force general, Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, and Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. After retirement from the Air Force in 2003, he became a company director for General Dynamics, DPL Inc., KBR Incorporated, Precision Castparts Corp., MTC Technologies, Battelle Memorial Institute and USAA. Lyles is also a Trustee of Analytic Services and a Managing Partner of Four Seasons Ventures, LLC.

In 2017, Lyles earned $461,034 from his role as board chairman, up from $449,910 in 2016. In 2018, Lyles earned $458,499 in salary for the role, records show.

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