Locally based Code Up, which offers a coding bootcamp for job seekers in software development, has caused quite a stir in the black community. Many are saying its job shaming black hair stylists.
Its recent billboard features the word hair stylist marked out in red ink. The hair stylist featured in the sign is a former Code Up student.
Code Up said in a blog post its intentions were good and its message was to tell people if they are in jobs they don’t enjoy, they can choose Code Up as a means to another career.
However, If Code Up did its research on black hair stylists, such as watching the “Barbershop” movie series, they would have reconsidered placing the billboard in Northeast San Antonio – an area that is home to some successful salons.
Many black hair stylists often have long careers and are considered almost holy in the black community. To get hair braided, relaxed, colored or even weaved in can cost female consumers hundreds of dollars. It’s not your typical $12 hair cut. Black salons for both males and females are the one place where you not only go to get your hair done, but catch up on the news, sports, politics and make lasting friendships. In many communities, it’s the epicenter besides the church.
Facebook user Carolyn Brown posted, “What company would career shame another career choice. I was a hair stylist for over 25 years and believe me, that was one of the best decisions of my life. I’m no longer a cosmetologist, and have a different business, but being a hair stylist and salon owner will always be my first. Be the best you can be at whatever career you choose and take the billboard down!”
Salon owner Toni Campbell of House of Royal T is also fighting back on her own Facebook page by posting her own “billboards.”
Code Up responded directly to Campbell on her Facebook page and said they weren’t trying to offend anyone. In return, she said, “I have seen your response but have you seen our response? It may have not been your intention but it is very offensive to me and others … I understand the intent but execution was bad … so therefore for me (a stylist for over 25 years) to pass by and see that sign is very disrespectful and appalling to me.”
Code Up says on its blog post why it chose to use the message.
“Luke used to be a soldier, Mars was a barista and bartender, John was studying law, and Sukari was a hairstylist. We’re not saying those weren’t real jobs! And we’re not saying software development is better for you,” according to Code Up. “We ARE saying that each of our students chose software development for their own reasons. We highlight those stories to show that YOU, regardless of what career you have now, CAN become a software developer IF that’s what you want.”
It’s commendable that Code Up responded and does offer people an opportunity to a new career. At the same time, its response seems a bit condescending, especially with all the cap letters, and doesn’t seem to understand the cultural value of black hair stylists in their communities.
Yes not every person will be satisfied in their careers. Some hair stylists may say why choose to be a software developer when you can be just as successful as a hair stylist.
City Seeks Applicants For SA: Ready To Work Advisory Board
The City of San Antonio is accepting applications for the SA: Ready to Work Advisory Board.
In November, San Antonio voters overwhelmingly approved SA: Ready to Work, a training and education initiative to assist San Antonio residents impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Last week, City Council approved the creation of a nine-member SA: Ready to Work Advisory Board to provide feedback on program objectives.
“During the campaign this fall, voters asked how this initiative would incorporate diverse community feedback and remain aligned with business and resident needs. The timely creation of this board establishes a transparent and inclusive process from the start as City Council considers the various policies associated with this workforce and training initiative,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “I encourage employers, participants and stakeholder organizations interested in playing a role in this important initiative to apply to serve.”
This Board will consist of representatives from four local employers with in-demand occupations, two current/previous participants in the City of San Antonio workforce development programs, one trade or labor organization, one community organization, and one workforce training provider. In additional, two City Council members appointed by the Mayor will serve as liaisons to this Advisory Board.
Applications for the Advisory Board positions can be found at the City of San Antonio’s Board and Commissions website (https://www.sanantonio.gov/Clerk/Legislative/BoardsCommissions#13319780-apply-for-a-board). Applications will be reviewed for eligibility beginning in mid-January and forward to City Council for review and potential appointment. Potential applicants are asked to consider that no appointed members of this Advisory Board may have direct relationships with entities that contract with the City for implementation of the SA Ready to Work program.
SA: Ready to Work will be tax supported through a 1/8th cent sales tax. This education and workforce program would begin serving San Antonio residents in fall 2021 and extend through December 2025. Each year of the initiative, up to 10,000 residents will be served with a total of up to 40,000 residents served over the four years.
Open Call: Calling All Artists
The City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Division is seeking applicants for the 2021 Public Art Pre-Qualified List for Artists and Support Services.
The Pre-Qualified List works as a roster of emerging and experienced individuals and organizations who are pre-qualified by City Council to work on designing, building, and promoting future projects within the Department of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Program.
We are seeking professional qualifications from area, state, national, and international artists and arts organizations as well as individuals and businesses that provide support services including, but not limited to, consulting, curating, writing, project management, art history, art handling and shipping, art appraising, restoring and conserving art, art fabrication and installation, photo and video documentation, graphic and web-based design, and technical design.
· Deadline to Apply: January 18, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. CT
· Optional Virtual Informational Workshop: December 8, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. CT.
All Open Call details and application instructions can be found at http://www.sanantonio.gov/arts/open
Applying for the Pre-Qualified List allows applicants to be selected for future projects, inclusion does not guarantee selection for a public art contract.
CPS Energy Makes Move to New Headquarters on McCullough
The boxes are packed, the moving trucks are here, and the first CPS Energy employees are officially moving to the utility’s new headquarters at 500 McCullough Avenue. While we will dearly miss our old home on Navarro Street, our big move signals a new era for us and the community we’ve loyally served for 160 years.
The old CPS Energy headquarters on Navarro Street are comprised of buildings that are 92 and 52 years old, respectively. The age of these buildings continually required escalating operating and maintenance costs to keep them safe and secure. Their sale will offset the cost of our new home and help us save money each year going forward. Once sold, the older buildings can be redeveloped by the next owner.
“The building is…attractive, but it’s affordable,” said Frank Almaraz, Chief Administrative and Business Development Officer, in an interview that took place on Sept. 11, 2020 with News 4 San Antonio’s Jaie Avila. “We focused very, very much on making sure that we were spending these dollars in the most prudent way possible. We think it’s going to be a fantastic place for us to base our operations out of. We are a 24/7/365 business that supports our community. In this time of COVID, everything’s just gotten a little more complicated, but we know one day we will welcome our customers to our facility and they will see that we have done the right thing for the community.”
Our new home will be more energy efficient and cost-effective. It is 60% more efficient that our older headquarters and we paid special attention to things like using recycled wood to create tables and fixtures, as well as having fewer offices that would block natural sunlight.
“Our customers are going to be better served with this new building with the lower cost that it takes to maintain it,” said Frank. “It’s 60 percent less energy intensive. With an [older building], everything is more expensive from an efficiency standpoint, but even just maintaining the exterior, it’s gotten so cost-burdensome that really the only responsible thing to do is to consolidate our employees into something that’s going to last us for many more decades [to come] and be more cost-effective.”
Once it is safe to return to the office, nearly 1,200 of CPS Energy’s 3,100 total employees will work at the new McCullough building, which will serve as a modest yet attractive addition to the Broadway corridor downtown and the downtown skyline. The total cost of the building will come in at $212 million, which is less than the company’s original budget allocation of $215 million. Significant care was taken to ensure that every monetary decision, even down to each piece of furniture in the building, was made with discretion and with the community in mind.
“The cost of furnishings is a small fraction of the total amount of the project itself,” said Frank. “We are taking over as much of the furniture that has an existing useful life in our current facilities…[but] it really is time for a refresh.”
Expenditures to our competitively selected furniture vendor represent only 3.4% of the total project costs. ($7.3 million for furniture / $212.0 million for the total spend = 3.4%).
From the very beginning when the project formally began in 2017, CPS Energy obtained public input to come up with three key principles in making our decision for our future headquarters selection:
- Stay in the downtown area,
- Ensure the cost of the new headquarters would not drive an increase in customer rates, and
- Take the opportunity to spur economic development in the selected area of downtown.
“We watched every penny as though it was our own,” said Frank. “We know that, in the end, these are the dollars of our community and we were careful to only spend money that was cost-effective and prudent. I’m very comfortable with what the big team of people, who analyzed this to every penny, have produced and I think that we’ve been very, very reasonable.”
We are confident that, in the years to come, the new McCullough building will serve as a beacon to our community.
For additional information about CPS Energy’s new headquarters on McCullough, read this informational fact sheet.