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City of San Antonio to Launch $500,000 Capacity Building & Bonding Assistance Program to Grow Local Small Businesses

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In the ongoing effort to support local small businesses, this week the City of San Antonio Economic Development Department, and the San Antonio Economic Development Corporation (SAEDC) launched the Capacity Building & Bonding Assistance Program administered in partnership with Alamo Surety Bonds.

This program will provide surety and bond assistance to eligible local small, minority, and woman-owned businesses seeking City construction contracts. This assistance is designed to establish, enhance, and increase the program participant’s bonding capabilities and capacity, which should lead to an increase in the number and size of City construction contracts they are both bidding on and awarded.
 
Eligible program participants will be provided a tailored needs assessment that includes educational, technical, and financial literacy components for success. In addition, program participants will be provided one-on-one bonding counseling, project support if awarded a City contract, and access to a $500,000 revolving pool of funds for those in need of assistance to cover costs related to City bonding requirements in order to bid on a City solicitation.
 
For more information on how to apply for the City of San Antonio Capacity Building & Bonding Assistance Program, visit www.sanantonio.gov/edd or call program administrators, Alamo Surety Bonds, at (210) 930-5550 or email at Jim@alamobonds.com.  

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San Antonio Airport Ranked #2 in U.S. by The Wall Street Journal

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San Antonio International Airport (SAT) is ranked #2 on The Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) list of Best Midsize Airports for 2023. SAT jumped up two spots from last year’s #4 ranking and only missed the number one spot by less than a point.

The newspaper’s annual U.S. Airport Rankings rate the 50 busiest airports based on reliability, value and convenience. SAT’s overall score is 70.4, behind San José Mineta International Airport in California, which scored 71.2.

“This is spectacular news about SAT being ranked #2,” said Jesus Saenz, Director of Airports, San Antonio Airport System. “We are always aiming to be the #1 airport. We are so close! Being ranked second best airport shows we are doing a stellar job serving our travelers. We are so proud of our entire team. Their passion for helping people and our strong partnerships with our airlines help us stand out. We’ve had a phenomenal year. We’re up to 45 nonstop destinations – including our first flights to Europe that start in May 2024.”

The WSJ evaluates each airport on 30 factors. Information is gathered from government data and traveler surveys to account for the entire process – from buying a ticket to arriving at a destination. The rankings highlight which airports have the most on-time flights, short waits throughout a traveler’s trip and their favorite amenities.

According to the WSJ, the San Antonio airport ranked:

  • #1 for fast security clearance
  • #2 for taxi/rideshare
  • #6 for flight cancellation

For more information about the rankings, please visit WSJ’s website.

To learn more about San Antonio airport, visit the airport’s website.

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Black Life Texas

San Antonio’s Plan to Use Solar to Help the Environment

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The San Antonio City Council recently approved the largest on-site solar project by a local Texas government. The $30 million project will install rooftop, parking, and park canopy solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at 42 city facilities. 

The City’s newly approved services agreement with local developer Big Sun Solar will also make progress toward San Antonio’s 2040 goal of zero net energy for all municipal buildings.

San Antonio’s innovative multi-site deal will result in energy and cost savings, shade and weather protection and local jobs.  

  • Energy and Cost Savings: The projected electricity generated annually from the 42 sites is expected to offset an estimated 11% of the City’s electricity consumption from its buildings.
  • Shade and Weather Protection: 23 of the installations will be parking canopies that will power on-site municipal operations and provide shade and hail protection to people and vehicles. 
  • Local Jobs: Big Sun Solar estimates this will create more than 15 full-time jobs. The company’s collaboration with the St. Phillip’s College Solar Apprenticeship Program (part of the Alamo Area District of Community Colleges) will train students in solar energy.

“This will be the largest local government on-site solar project in Texas and the second-largest in the nation,” City Manager Erik Walsh said. “The City of San Antonio is setting a new standard in Texas of what is possible to reduce carbon emissions, adapt to climate change, and ensure San Antonio remains a healthy, vibrant City for generations to come.” 

The project will use new Inflation Reduction Act incentives, the State Energy Conservation Office LoanStar low-interest loan and local tax dollars.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said, “Today’s vote was a big win for San Antonio. The project will reduce the amount of electricity that the city takes from the grid and sets a national example for innovative approaches to reducing carbon emissions and ensuring a healthier future for our community.”   

Solar installations will begin in Spring 2024, with an anticipated completion in Fall 2026.

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Black Life Texas

Most Employees From Racial and Ethnic Groups Have Experienced Workplace Racism

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As companies worldwide face opposition to their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, two-thirds (66%) of employees from marginalized racial and ethnic groups in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States have experienced racism at work during their career, according to a new global report from Catalyst. Half (52%) have experienced racism in their current job.

The report, How Racism Shows Up at Work—And the Antiracist Actions Your Organization Can Take, surveyed over 5,000 women, men, transgender, and nonbinary employees and revealed the pervasive and insidious ways racism exists in the workplace. Catalyst is a global nonprofit supported by many of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women. 

The most common expressions of racism are workplace harassment (48%)—such as racist jokes, slurs, and other derogatory comments—and employment and professional inequities (32%), where respondents experienced pay gaps, were passed over for promotion, or were assigned more or less work than their colleagues based on race.

Participants also report experiencing racism through racial stereotypes and degrading commentary about their bodies or cultures. Stereotypes include assumptions about a person’s intelligence, cleanliness, or language abilities and blame for Covid-19. Women (51%) and men (50%) experienced racism in the workplace to the same degree. Trans and nonbinary employees experienced more racism than others (69%).

Respondents most often named leaders (41%) as the instigators of racism, but co-workers (36%) and customers/clients (23%) also engaged in racist acts. White people initiate four out of five acts of racism, and one out of five are instigated by another non-white person.

Studies show that “Whiteness” is at the center of work contexts. It is used as a lens through which employees, organizational policies, and business strategies are judged, assessed, and valued. This can result in, for example, dress codes that don’t work for natural Black hair or performance assessment criteria that value white modes of leadership over others.

Catalyst offers actionable solutions for leaders to make systemic changes to their organizations: leaders must commit to addressing racism and recognizing how Whiteness is centered in work contexts. Organizations need to enact policies that eliminate racial workplace inequities, such as implementing systems to end bias in hiring, development, and promotion processes and training managers to notice and act when employees experience racism from teammates, customers, or managers. Key steps also include fostering a climate of mutual respect in the workplace, instituting codes of conduct for clients and customers, and understanding emotional tax.

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