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Funding goes to art jobs in Atlanta

March 5th, 2017

A new round of funding from city leaders will invest in art jobs in Atlanta, among other areas.

Atlanta has pledged $1 million to the Woodruff Arts Center Transformation Campaign, one of the most ambitious fundraising initiatives in the history of Atlanta’s largest arts organization. The Campaign raised $110 million total, surpassing its original goal of $100 million when it launched in April 2015. The Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Art. The Atlanta City Council voted Monday to finalize the donation to the Woodruff Arts Center.

“The leading cities of the world invest significantly in arts and culture, and Atlanta should be no different,” said Mayor Reed. “We’re fortunate to have the Woodruff Arts Center which has been bringing world-class art and arts education to Atlanta for nearly 50 years as a centerpiece of our thriving arts community. Providing this support to the Arts Center is both a privilege and a responsibility, and we are pleased to have been able to contribute to this vital campaign.”

The Transformation Campaign focused on three areas: endowment funding, capital improvements – primarily for the Alliance Theatre renovation —and funding for expanded family-oriented programming and greater activation of the Arts Center’s campus. Doug Hertz, chairman of the Woodruff Arts Center Board of Trustees, served as the Campaign chair.

“The Transformation Campaign has lived up to its name,” said Virginia Hepner, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Woodruff Arts Center. “Thanks to the incredible support of the community, we will literally transform our theater, increase the size of our orchestra, enhance our museum’s ability to exhibit great art and dramatically increase the community’s access to the arts. I believe the Transformation Campaign will be recognized as a watershed moment for the Woodruff Arts Center, a steppingstone to greater artistic and education achievement for years to come.”

Under Mayor Reed’s leadership, the City of Atlanta has continually increased its investments in arts and culture. In 2016, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs awarded more than $350,000 to individual artists and small to midsize organizations through multiple program areas. The Contracts for Arts Services program granted more than $1,000,000 to artists. The City of Atlanta also received $175,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts.

City hires for government jobs in Atlanta

March 5th, 2017

The city is making a move to hire for government jobs in Atlanta.

Deputy Chief Operating Officer William Johnson has been appointed Commissioner of the Department of Public Works. Johnson has served as the Interim Commissioner of the Department since the departure of former Commissioner, Richard Mendoza. Johnson was confirmed unanimously by the City Utilities Committee yesterday.

“I am pleased to appoint William Johnson as Public Works Commissioner,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “I am confident that his leadership and operating experience in the public and private sectors will enhance the Department’s focus on operational efficiency and customer service. With more than 20 years of experience in infrastructure management and emergency response, I believe he is uniquely qualified to serve in this new capacity.”

William Johnson joined the Reed Administration as Deputy Chief Operating Officer in May of last year. Johnson brings more than 20 years of experience in infrastructure management and emergency response to the position. He previously served as the Director of the Department of Transportation for the City of Baltimore, where he managed engineering and permitting services for the City. He also managed city-wide snow and weather emergency operations.

Prior to his service in Baltimore, Johnson held a key leadership role as Prime Contractor to the State of Florida Department of Transportation. In this role, he assisted local governments and private non-profits in developing disaster plans, performing damage assessments and developing projects and funding sources for public facilities, infrastructure and utilities damaged by natural disasters.

Throughout his career, Johnson has developed and managed budgets in excess of $400 million, managed organizations of over 2,300 employees, managed municipal waste collection operations for a population of 1.5 million, reduced customer complaints to achieve a 96 percent customer satisfaction rate, and assisted with reverse osmosis/carbon filter tertiary and secondary treatment facility upgrades.

HUD grant to create Atlanta jobs

February 28th, 2017

A new HUD grant is busy creating Atlanta jobs.

Atlanta has been selected to receive $30 million through the 2014-2015 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant. Mayor Reed and Secretary Castro made the announcement at a press event at The Oasis at Scholar’s Landing, a senior residence in the Atlanta University Center neighborhood.

With the $30 million award, the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Housing Authority will work with private and public sector partners to revitalize portions of west Atlanta, including Vine City, Ashview Heights and the Atlanta University Center neighborhood.

“Our historic Westside neighborhoods produced leaders and institutions which helped change the course of America’s history,” said Mayor Reed. “Winning the Choice Neighborhoods grant provides us with the resources needed to bring about unprecedented change. We leaned on each other and worked together to secure this grant, and we will lean on each other as we transform and renew these communities.”

Revitalization efforts will address local challenges identified during the Choice grant planning process. The City of Atlanta received a $250,000 grant to support this planning process in 2010.

“The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is responsible for transforming what were once vacant lots, crumbling parks and storefronts and distressed housing into vibrant communities,” said Secretary Castro. “It has become one of our nation’s most important tools in the fight to ensure that every family – no matter where they live – has the resources and strong foundation to succeed.”

The City of Atlanta, through the Department of Planning and Community Development, and the Atlanta Housing Authority jointly applied for the Choice Neighborhood grant.

“With receipt of this grant, the Atlanta Housing Authority, the City of Atlanta and our many partners will immediately begin implementation of the neighborhood transformation,” said Joy Fitzgerald, executive director of the Atlanta Housing Authority. “The transformation, which was developed with extensive community engagement, will include the continued redevelopment of the former University Homes site, development of affordable housing in the neighborhood, strategies to remove blight and stabilize the community, and services to enable families and children to reach their full potential.”

Company to create Atlanta food processing jobs

February 4th, 2017

One company is investing in the state and creating more Atlanta food processing jobs.

Diana Food, a global provider of natural ingredients to the food and beverage industry, will create more than 80 new jobs and invest $50 million in a food processing, manufacturing and research and development facility in Banks County.

Diana Food manufactures a wide range of clean ingredients with a guarantee of product quality, traceability and food safety. The company has more than 1,000 employees, nine production plants, 11 sales offices and seven research and development facilities. Diana Food is part of the Symrise Group, a manufacturer of food ingredients, flavoring and fragrances.

“Banks County, Georgia is the best partner for our new manufacturing Plant and Research and Development facility in North America,” said Yannick Riou, president of Diana Food. “Setting up a new facility in the US is a key milestone in our company development allowing us to stay always closer to our customers, access to a high quality of local and sustainable sourcing while committing in a long term perspective to the regional economy.”

The approximately 90,000-square-foot facility will be located in the Banks Crossing Business Park and will consist of office, manufacturing and warehouse space on nearly 40 acres. The facility will be predominantly dedicated to meat processing.

“We’ve been competing for Diana Food against more than 25 communities in the U.S. for a year and a half,” said Scott Ledford, Development Authority of Banks County chairman. “Diana Food brings high paying jobs for our people.”

New playground created construction jobs in Atlanta

February 4th, 2017

A newly built playground created more construction jobs in Atlanta.

The new Atlanta Memorial Park playground is in Buckhead.

The City of Atlanta invested $200,000 toward the new development and an additional $200,000 was raised by the Atlanta Memorial Conservancy through a combination of grants and private donors.

“The Department of Parks and Recreation worked closely with the local community to ensure that the new playground at Memorial Park would truly meet the needs of residents and their families,” said Amy Phuong, Commissioner of the department. “We heard them loud and clear, and we believe the investments made to Memorial Park will play a central role in the continued sustainability of this community for years to come.”

In March 2016, Mayor Reed met with members of the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy, neighborhood leaders and Councilmember Adrean, and his team developed an aggressive approach to solving the flooding problems at Atlanta Memorial Park and the Peachtree Creek basin. Mayor Reed also charged the Department of Parks and Recreation with installing a new playground and relocating the site to an area of the park which would less likely experience flooding.

The new playscape playground features modernized equipment and several nature-themed elements that were based upon feedback from the community.

In addition, a legacy grant from Park Pride funded new amenities surrounding the playground including newly-installed benches, picnic tables and bike racks.

Atlanta healthcare jobs increase

January 31st, 2017

With the addition of a new mobile health vehicle, Atlanta healthcare jobs are increasing.

The MHV, which features two exam rooms and a handicap-accessible bathroom, provides patients with a wide range of primary care services including biometric screening for blood pressure, blood sugar levels, body mass index and cholesterol levels, in addition to health coaching and immunizations.

“I want to thank Kaiser Permanente of Georgia for partnering to provide our employees with greater access to essential services through this state-of-the-art mobile health care facility,” said Mayor Reed. “In 2012, my administration launched ‘A Healthier You’ initiative with a goal to expand the City’s focus on employee health and wellness. The new Mobile Health Vehicle helps us reach our goals by making it easier and more convenient for employees to get the care they need.”

Inaugural health care services onboard the Kaiser Permanente “clinic-on-wheels” were administered to City employees at the Department of Public Works’ Solid Waste Services facility.

“Every day, we see these men and women moving through the city providing a vital service to help keep our city clean, so we wanted to bring our new mobile health vehicle to their truck yard and provide health screenings at no charge,” said Jim Simpson, interim president of Kaiser Permanente of Georgia.

The City of Atlanta is the third largest public sector health benefit plan in the state of Georgia and the largest municipality in the Southeast. It has over 22,000 covered lives with an estimated $140 million annual insurance budget. Kaiser Permanente is one of two medical insurance plans offered to city employees as part of the employee benefits package.

“We believe in the power of preventive medicine at Kaiser Permanente, so we are always looking for new ways to connect with our members and ensure they receive the care they need to thrive,” said Mary L. Wilson, M.D., president and executive medical director of The Southeast Permanente Medical Group. “Now, with our mobile health vehicle, our members can step out of the office and into our exam room within minutes.”

Company creates more IT health jobs

January 8th, 2017

One company is expanding and creating IT health jobs.

athenahealth, Inc., a provider of network-based services and point-of-care mobile applications for hospitals and ambulatory clients nationwide, will expand its workforce to nearly 1,000 by 2018 and double its initial footprint at Ponce City Market.

The company surpassed its three-year projected employee growth rate by approximately 40 percent in its Atlanta office and has invested a total of nearly $20 million in Georgia.

“Georgia boasts an expansive health IT sector and the growth of athenahealth further solidifies the state’s role as a leader in the industry,” said Governor Deal. “As one of the fastest growing companies in health IT, athenahealth will benefit from Georgia’s robust telecommunications infrastructure, highly-skilled workforce and pro-business environment. We value athenahealth’s continued investment in our state and look forward to the company expanding its economic footprint here.”

In this expansion, athenahealth will add an additional 40,000 square feet to its office space at Ponce City Market in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward. The company currently occupies 98,000 square feet in the development’s adaptive reuse project, which includes residential units, restaurants and retail in addition to office space.

“As we work to drive meaningful and measurable results for our growing base of clients on our network, we are ever-expanding to meet their needs. Strategic sites in key urban markets across the country—such as Atlanta—open up possibilities, helps us attract exciting new talent and resources, and affords us opportunities to host more prospects and clients,” said Todd Haedrich, vice president and general manager, Small Groups, athenahealth. “We’re proud of our athenaNation footprint here in Georgia, and will continue to deepen our roots, and grow a talented workforce.”

athenahealth partners with hospitals and ambulatory clients to drive clinical and financial results. The company provides network-based medical record, revenue cycle, patient engagement, care coordination and population health services, as well as point-of-care mobile apps.

Is the city embracing diversity for Atlanta first responder jobs?

December 30th, 2016

The city may be having a better outlook when it comes to diversity and Atlanta first responder jobs.

Results from the First Responder Workforce Diversity study, conducted for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Chief Evaluation Office by Coffey Consulting and their partners American Institutes for Research, were released in an effort to identify promising practices that first responder agencies and organizations can leverage to increase the diversity of their workforces.

The research team visited five first responder departments and training sites to identify and document promising practices and strategies that promote racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in the recruitment, training, hiring, and retention of individuals in first responder occupations.

The sites included two police departments (Atlanta Police Department and Dallas Police Department), one fire department (San Francisco Fire Department), and two third-party training providers (Bay Area Youth EMT program and Camp Fully Involved).

The report’s executive summary states: “Public citizens and officials have placed a renewed focus on improving agencies’ relations with their local communities by ensuring that first responders reflect the populations they serve.

The potential benefits of increasing diversity and moving toward greater representation could also provide more secure and rewarding employment opportunities to historically underrepresented populations, thus having implications for local economic and workforce development.”

The department has also awarded an additional $5.5 million to help youth between the ages of 16 to 21 who are at risk of dropping out of public or alternative high school gain skills to serve their communities in justice careers. Six non-profit organizations received funding for pilot programs that provide at risk youth mentoring and career exploration in justice and emergency services, including police officers, firefighters, lawyers, and paramedics. This is the second set of grants awarded for the “Pathways to Justice Careers” initiative, which was first announced in April 2016.

UPS creates warehouse jobs in Atlanta

December 27th, 2016

UPS is busy creating more warehouse jobs in Atlanta.

The package delivery company will create 1,250 jobs and invest more than $400 million to establish a regional sorting and distribution hub in Atlanta by the end of 2018.

“Georgia demonstrates an enduring commitment to industry leaders and job creators. With this investment, UPS will use Georgia’s location, transportation infrastructure and logistics sector to reach customers more quickly and more efficiently. UPS is already making a substantial economic impact in the Atlanta area and we look forward to the company’s continued success.”

UPS will create supervision, administrative and warehouse positions for the new sorting and distribution hub.

“We are excited that UPS has decided to expand its operations in the city of Atlanta with this major distribution center,” said Invest Atlanta President and CEO Dr. Eloisa Klementich. “This new facility represents a significant economic investment in the southside of Atlanta that will provide residents access to new jobs across a spectrum of skill levels. Invest Atlanta looks forward to working with the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency and UPS to build a pipeline of qualified professionals for these positions.”

“I am pleased that our county leaders had the foresight to realize the value of this land and work closely with UPS to make this exciting project happen,” said John Eaves, chairman of the Fulton County Commission. “The benefits it will bring in terms of jobs and investment are immeasurable. This is a huge shot in the arm and yet another example of the economic engine that Fulton County has become.”

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Director of Existing Industry and Regional Recruitment Lindsay Martin represented the Global Commerce division throughout this project in partnership with Invest Atlanta and Fulton County.

Deal will create Atlanta construction jobs

December 9th, 2016

A new deal will probably create more Atlanta construction jobs.

Atlanta and the Atlanta Hawks have reached an agreement on key terms for the $192.5 million renovation of Philips Arena, subject to approval by the Atlanta City Council and the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority (AFRCA).

The deal terms will ensure that the Atlanta Hawks remain in the City of Atlanta for decades to come and will maintain the downtown facility as a world-class, state-of-the-art venue for sports and entertainment events. Specifically:

  • The public contribution for arena renovations is capped at $142.5 million, of which $110 million will come from a series of bonds backed by the recently expanded car rental tax collected at the CONRAC (Car Rental Facility) at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and other facilities throughout the City. An additional $12.5 million will come from the City’s proceeds of the $30 million sale of Turner Field to Georgia State University and Carter and approximately $20 million in proceeds from the liquidation of other underutilized City assets. No money from the City’s general fund will be used on this project.
  • The Atlanta Hawks will contribute $50 million to the renovations of the arena. The team and the arena operator will execute an extension of the lease and operating agreement for the facility. Under this extension, the arena operator will make lease payments of $5.9 million to the City throughout the term of the agreement.
  • To promote full and equal business opportunities in connection with the renovations of the arena, the Atlanta Hawks have agreed to develop an Equal Business Opportunity Plan that will ensure at least 31 percent participation by women and minority business enterprises.
  • The agreement includes a break-up clause that would require the Atlanta Hawks to pay up to $200 million should the team leave the City prior to 2046.
  • The ongoing capital repairs and maintenance costs of Philips Arena will be covered by a facility charge on tickets to be introduced by the Administration for consideration by the appropriate levying entity.
  • No property taxes or new taxes of any kind would be paid by or levied on City of Atlanta residents or businesses to fund renovations of the arena. The City of Atlanta will not serve as a backstop for this debt associated with the renovations of the arena and this agreement will not affect the city’s bond capacity or credit capacity.