The number of Black women mayors leading major cities to reach historic high. Here is why they are winning

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Kim Janey and Tishaura Jones giving speeches while looking off camera

By Nicquel Terry Ellis, CNN

A new wave of Black women are breaking barriers as they ascend to mayoral seats in cities with deeply rooted histories of racism and inequality.

On Tuesday, Tishaura Jones will be sworn in as the first Black female mayor of St. Louis after winning the election earlier this month.

Her victory came just two weeks after Kim Janey was appointed Boston’s first Black female mayor following the resignation of Marty Walsh, who is now the US Labor Secretary. Janey recently announced she would run for a full term in this year’s mayoral election.

With the ascension of Jones and Janey, there will be a historic high of nine Black women serving as mayors of the nation’s 100 largest cities. Other major cities led by Black women include Atlanta, San Francisco; Chicago; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; New Orleans; Washington, DC; and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Political observers say the growing number of Black female mayors signals they are gaining electoral strength and appealing to voters in races that have been historically won by White men. They say Black women have proven they are relatable with an ability to lead, organize and engage new voters. Black women are also speaking out against the racial disparities in their communities at a time when the nation is having to reckon with systemic racism and police violence against Black people.
Kimberly Peeler-Allen, a visiting practitioner at the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University, said as more Black women rise to political power, the electorate is seeing the importance of having diverse voices making decisions.

“Black and brown women are running with a message that is a totality of their life experiences, which transcends race or gender,” Peeler-Allen said. “And there are people who are saying ‘she may not look like me but I know we share the same experience, because she is wrestling with credit card debt, or she has a family member with addiction or she’s a small business owner, she’s a veteran.'”
Peeler-Allen said she believes the advancement of Black women in all levels of government could also be inspiring more to run for office.
In the last few years, Kamala Harris became the first Black female vice president, Ayanna Pressley became Massachusetts’ first Black woman elected to Congress, and Tish James was elected New York’s first Black female attorney general.

Stacey Abrams narrowly lost her bid to become the nation’s first Black woman governor in 2018, but is now a powerful advocate for voting rights for people of color. Some political analysts view Abrams as a viable candidate for Georgia’s gubernatorial election in 2022.

Creating equity in St. Louis

Both Jones and Janey have vowed to make racial equity a priority while reflecting on their own lived experiences as Black women.

Jones said during her victory speech that she would not stay silent or ignore the racism that has held St. Louis back.
She told CNN she wants to address the exodus of Black residents in recent years and why they don’t feel welcome in St. Louis. The city’s Black population dropped from 51% to 45% in the last 10 years.

Jones said she wants to revitalize the northern part of the city where she grew up because the neighborhoods have been neglected.

“I am ready for St. Louis to thrive instead of just survive,” Jones said on CNN “New Day” earlier this month. “We need to provide opportunities for everyone to succeed, no matter their zip code, the color of their skin, who they love or how they worship.”

Kayla Reed, executive director of the grassroots racial justice group St. Louis Action, said she believes Jones can relate to the plight of Black people in St. Louis because of her lived experience as a single mother from a marginalized neighborhood.
The city, Reed said, struggles with segregation, disparities in education, employment and housing, overpolicing and violence in the Black community.

Reed said Jones has embraced the demands of a racial justice movement that started in 2014 when unrest broke out in nearby Ferguson following the police killing of Michael Brown. Ferguson elected its first Black woman mayor Ella Jones last year.

Jones is listening to the concerns of organizers and giving them a seat at the table, Reed said.
“She understands the unique inequality that our communities face,” said Reed, who campaigned for Jones and sits on her transition team. “And it gives her an advantage to think through creative, innovative solutions to shift outcomes and conditions.”

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

Stacey Abrams: A Hero’s Journey

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By: Sarah Mosqueda

If there is one name that has become synonymous with heroism, it is Stacey Abrams.

“Whatever happens,” author and niece of former president Trump, Mary L. Trump tweeted on the evening of Nov. 3, 2020, “@staceyabrams is a hero.”

“She is one of THE heroes of the US election #StaceyAbrams,” tweeted actress Thandiwe Newton on Nov. 6 2020.

Hillary Clinton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Susan Rice, Viola Davis and Whoopi Goldberg were among those who tweeted thank you’s to their new hero during the 2020 election.

The 49-year-old Abrams founded Fair Fight, an organization dedicated to addressing voter suppression, in 2018 and is credited with registering 800,000 new voters across Georgia who were affected by voter suppression in time for the 2020 U.S elections.

On Dec.1, 2021 Abrams had her own tweet to share:

“I’m running for Governor because opportunity in our state shouldn’t be determined by zip code, background or access to power.”

Besides being a candidate for governor, Abrams also happens to be a tax attorney, romance novelist, and former state representative, serving in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017 and as minority leader from 2011 to 2017.

Abrams is a powerhouse. A superwoman. A hero.

But the journey of the hero we often see, in literature, movies and life, is not one without conflict. From Odysseus to Luke Skywalker, the hero’s journey is a long one that begins with a departure, followed by an initiation and ultimately a return.

Abrams’ journey is no exception.

Act I: The Call to Action

Abrams was born in 1973, the second of six siblings, in Madison, Wis. Her parents, Robert and Carolyn Abrams, raised their family in Gulfport, Miss. before moving the family to Atlanta, Ga., where they pursued graduate degrees at Emory University and eventually became Methodist ministers.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – Former President Barack Obama speaks to a crowd of thousands at Morehouse College as he campaigns for Democratic nominee for Georgia Governor Stacey Abrams. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Abrams interest in politics began at a young age. When she was 17, she was hired as a typist for a congressional campaign, which led to a promotion to speechwriter, based on the edits she had made while typing.

It was during high school that she learned an important lesson about her worth too.

In 1991, Abrams was valedictorian of her high school class and received an invitation to meet the Governor of Georgia. The family didn’t have a car, and instead took the bus to the Governor’s Mansion. Upon arrival, the guard at the gate stopped the Abrams family, saying the event was private, and they didn’t belong there. Her parents presented the the invitation, stating their daughter was invited to the event.

“I think two things happened that day,” Abrams said when she recounted the story to CBS news in May of 2021, “One, they were not going to let me be denied this honor that I’d achieved. But two, I think they wanted me to see my responsibility is to not let someone else tell me who I am and where I belong.”

Abrams earned a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies from Spelman College, studied public policy at the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, where she earned a Master of Public Affairs degree and earned a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School.

After law school, Abrams worked as a tax attorney at Atlanta’s Sutherlan Asbill & Brennan law firm, primarily working with tax-exempt organizations, health care and public finance.

ATLANTA, GA – Former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives Stacey Abrams speaks to a crowd at a Democratic National Committee event at Flourish in Atlanta. (Photo by Dustin Chambers/Getty Images)

Abrams was appointed a deputy city attorney for the City of Atlanta in 2002. Then in 2006, she won a seat as a Democrat in the Georgia Assembly and became the first female minority leader of her party.

In 2010, she co-founded Nourish, Inc, which was eventually rebranded as the invoicing solution business, NOW Corp. She became district attorney for Atlanta and then minority leader for Georgia’s House Democrats in 2011, all while writing romance novels under the pen name, Selena Montgomery.

Her level of accomplishments up until this point already seemed heroic. Abrams was just getting warmed up.

Act II: The Road of Trials

Abrams became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia in 2018 and the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States. Abrams ran against then Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp. She ultimately lost to Kemp by less than two percentage points.

Abrams claimed there was a gross mismanagement of the election by the Secretary of State’s office. The Associated Press reported at the time that Kemp put nearly 53,000 voter registrations on hold ahead of the election, nearly 70 percent of them from Black people.

Allegations of voter suppression sparked a massive voter registration effort, spearheaded primarily by Abrams.

Within days of the election, Abrams founded Fair Fight, an organization devoted to promoting fair elections, encouraging voter participation in elections and educating voters about elections and their voting rights.

It is no coincidence voter suppression is most notably associated with the civil rights movement. Voter suppression, particularly of voters of color, isn’t always easy to understand if you’ve never experienced it Abrams has said.

“When you’ve never had to think about the hardship of voting, then yes, these conversations on voter suppression seem absurd to you,” Abrams said in her May interview with CBS News, “When you have never spent more than seven minutes in line, it is nearly impossible to imagine that there are poor Black people who stand in line for eight hours, miss an entire day’s wages, risk losing their jobs simply to cast a ballot in an election that may or may not have any benefit in their lives.”

After her loss, Abrams fought to campaign against voter suppression

ATLANTA, GA – Jonathan Slocum, Stacey Abrams, Maxine Waters and Rashan Ali attend a celebration for Abrams at The Gathering Spot .(photos by Prince Williams/Wireimage)

in the run-up to the 2020 election through Fair Fight, making sure that everyone who had the right to vote, did so.

Her efforts were successful.

In the 2018 election, her campaign registered more than 200,000 new voters. In 2020, Fair Fight and her other organization, the New Georgia Project, registered more than 800,000 new voters.

Besides fighting against voter suppression, Fair Fight has taken on other causes that align with Abrams’ platform.

In 2019, Abrams launched Fair Count to ensure accuracy in the 2020 Census, stressing the need for greater participation in civic engagement from the POC community, and the Southern Economic Advancement Project, which is a public policy initiative to broaden economic power and build equity in the South.

More recently, Fair Fight has turned its attention to the state’s healthcare system.

In October, Fair Fight launched a new seven-figure ad campaign urging Gov. Brian Kemp to help Georgians by supporting an expansion of Medicaid.

Paying off medical debt is another part of Fair Fight’s advocacy.

“I know firsthand how medical costs and a broken healthcare system put families further

and further in debt,” Abrams said in a statement on Fair Fight’s website, “Working with

RIP Medical Debt, Fair Fight is stepping in where others have refused to take action. For people of color, the working poor and middle-class families facing crushing costs, we hope to relieve the strain on desperate Americans and on hospitals struggling to remain open.”

In November, Fair Fight celebrated the win of 12 Fair Fight-endorsed candidates in local elections across Georgia.

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THE VIEW – Stacey Abrams is the guest on “The View” with Joy Behar, Abby Huntsman, Ana Navarro, Sunny Hostin, Meghan Mccain (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/Disney General Entertainment.

“Democrats in Georgia scored key victories as Fair Fight-endorsed, pro-voting rights candidates prevailed in every corner of the state,” said Fair Fight Political Director André Fields.

Abrams used her loss to build a sturdy platform on which she could stand, and see tomorrow.

Act III: The Hero Returns

Abrams announced her campaign for Georgia governor on Dec. 1, 2021, promising to fight for economic equality and expand health care access.

“I’ve never stopped fighting for Georgia. I’ve never lost faith that — together — we can build a brighter future for all of us,” Abrams said in a statement on her official campaign website, “Together, we can keep more money in families’ pockets, help our communities prosper and give our children the greatest opportunities to thrive.”

Polls conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies in November suggest a race against Kemp, her long-time political rival, could be a close one, again. Abrams trailed Kemp by 3 points among likely voters in the state.

Abrams’s journey has been a long one that, truthfully, is still ongoing. As she prepares her gubernatorial bid, she is also laying the groundwork for the next leg of her journey: a bid for the presidency.

“When someone asks me if that’s my ambition, I have a responsibility to say yes,” Abrams told CBS News, “For every young woman, every person of color, every young person of color, who sees me and decides what they’re capable of based on what I think I am capable of.”

Lumen: The Platform for Amazing Things

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Lumen is guided by our belief that humanity is at its best when technology advances the way we live and work. Learn more about our purpose to further human progress through technology at jobs.lumen.com.

We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all persons regardless of race, color, ancestry, citizenship, national origin, religion, creed, veteran status, disability, medical condition, genetic characteristic or information, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, pregnancy, or other legally protected status (collectively, “protected statuses”).

We do not tolerate unlawful discrimination in any employment decisions, including recruiting, hiring, compensation, promotion, benefits, discipline, termination, job assignments or training.

Hot Jobs of 2022

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The past few years have brought about a lot of changes to the workforce. We have improved on our “work from home” systems and specific industries have grown in unexpected ways. If you’re looking for a career change this year, here are 2022’s fastest growing jobs that you may want to consider.

Healthcare

It’s no surprise that the healthcare industry has risen so quickly with recent events. Now the industry is in need of professionals in every field of medicine, and these jobs are some of the least likely to ever see a decline.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth of healthcare careers is expected to grow by 2.6 million jobs in the next decade.

Jobs to Consider:

  • Nurse Practitioners:
    • Description: Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty healthcare.
    • Median Pay: $117,670 per year ($56.57 per hour)
    • Education Level: Master’s Degree
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants:
    • Description: Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, improve as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.
    • Median Pay: $60,950 per year ($29.30 per hour)
    • Education Level: Associate’s Degree from an accredited program
  • Physical Therapy Assistants:
    • Description: Physical therapy assistants and aides are supervised by physical therapists to help patients regain movement and manage pain after injuries and illnesses.
    • Median Pay: $49,970 per year ($24.02 per hour)
    • Education Level: Associate’s Degree from an accredited program

Information Technology

Not only is the world of tech and online presence growing, but it’s becoming more and more necessary every year. Whether you are working in the world of cybersecurity, code or maintenance, this field isn’t slowing down any time soon, with an estimated 668,00 jobs to be created in the next 10 years.

Jobs to Consider:

  • Information Security Analysts:
    • Description: Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.
    • Median Pay: $103,590 per year ($49.80 per hour)
    • Education Level: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Web Developers:
    • Description: Web developers create and maintain websites. Digital designers develop, create and test website or interface layout, functions and navigation for usability.
    • Median Pay: $77,200 ($37.12 per hour)
    • Education Level: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Software Developers:
    • Description: Software developers design computer applications or programs. Software quality assurance analysts and testers identify problems with applications or programs and report defects.
    • Median Pay: $110,140 per year ($52.95 per hour)
    • Education Level: Bachelor’s Degree

Energy

As more and more of an effort is being made to invest in clean energy, prevent climate change and work to care for our planet, specialty jobs centered around these projects have begun to increase.

Jobs to Consider:

  • Wind Turbine Service Technicians:
    • Description: Wind turbine service technicians install, maintain and repair wind turbines.
    • Median Pay: $56,230 per year ($27.03 per hour)
    • Education Level: Postsecondary nondegree award
  • Solar Photovoltaic Installers:
    • Description: Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers assemble, set up and maintain rooftop or other systems that convert sunlight into energy.
    • Median Pay: $46,470 per year ($22.34 per hour)
    • Education Level: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Forest and Conservation Technicians:
    • Description: These technicians provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, forests or related natural resources.
    • Median Pay: $38,940 ($20.57 per hour)
    • Education Level: Associate’s Degree

Finance

No matter what the career, everyone could use some extra help when it comes to dealing with their finances. If you have a strong suit for math and an expertise in matters of money, careers in finance are a sturdy, high-paying route that might work for you.

  • Accountants:
    • Description: Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records.
    • Median Pay: $73,560 per year ($35.37 per hour)
    • Education Level: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Statisticians:
    • Description: Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply computational techniques to solve problems, usually working in areas of the federal government, scientific research and development companies.
    • Median Pay: $93,290 per year ($44.85 per hour)
    • Education Level: Master’s Degree
  • Financial Analysts:
    • Description: Financial analysts guide businesses and individuals in decisions about expending money to attain profit.
    • Median Pay: $83,660 per year ($40.22 per hour)
    • Education Level: Bachelor’s Degree

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Best Colleges

“Stay Interviews” Are Coming. Here’s What Workers Need To Know

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Posted on Yahoo! Life

As the Great Resignation continues, many employers are starting to wonder what they can do to keep more people from leaving. Enter the “stay interview.”

Don’t worry — this isn’t an interview where employees have to make a case for why they should stay in their jobs. Rather, it’s about employers learning what experiences, benefits, and compensation will help them retain the people that they hope to keep on their teams.

To learn more about stay interviews and how you can use them as a time to negotiate for what you want, I reached out to Lily Valentin, Head of Operations for North America at the job posting search engine Adzuna.

Here’s what she had to say:

1.First of all, stay interviews are generally more informal than, say, a job interview.

Don’t worry — this isn’t an interview where employees have to make a case for why they should stay in their jobs. Rather, it’s about employers learning what experiences, benefits, and compensation will help them retain the people that they hope to keep on their teams.

Valentin says that these types of interviews tend to be a bit more casual, so you don’t need to freak out or get extra dressed up if your boss schedules a stay interview with you. “The conversation focuses on what is motivating an employee to stay, what they enjoy about their current position, what would improve their work experience, and their career development goals within the organization.”

“Though this can seem nerve-racking at first, the stay interview is an opportunity for every employee to share how they have been feeling, what they are enjoying about the company, and what can be done to keep them from looking elsewhere if they’re on the fence about their future.”

2.In fact, getting invited to a stay interview can actually be a really great sign that your boss wants to keep you around.

Being invited to a stay interview is pretty positive — it means that your boss recognizes your contributions and likely doesn’t want to lose you. “At a time when employees aren’t short of choice, knowing their current employer cares about their experience, work situation, professional ambitions, and is eager to address any challenges, makes all the difference,” Valentin says.

3.So what kinds of questions can you expect to be asked in a stay interview?

A stay interview can cover a lot of ground. Valentin provided a list of some sample questions that you might get from your employer:

• How are you feeling in your role?

• What motivates you to “come in’ to work/log on every day?

• What are some of the challenges you’re facing that prevent you from delivering your best outputs, and what do you think the team and company can do to alleviate these challenges?

• Are you able to find a positive work-life balance, and if not, what can we do to help?

• Is there anything you really don’t enjoy working on, and is there anything you are looking to work on more?

• What are your longer-term career aspirations?

4.And unlike a job interview, you can actually ask to see stay interview questions in advance and prepare your answers.

When it comes to stay interviews, Valentin says that it can be really helpful to ask for the questions in advance and prepare your answers. “A great way to ensure there is no miscommunication on the objectives is to ask what questions will be asked in advance and have bullet points for each one. This is especially important if your chat is with a member of the executive team or even the CEO.

Read the complete article originally posted on Yahoo! Life

Michelle Obama’s guest appearance on ‘Black-ish’ excites fans while also serving a purpose

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By Kyle Moss, Yahoo! Entertainment

On the eighth and final season premiere of Black-ish Tuesday, Michelle Obama made a guest appearance after the show’s main characters attended an event for When We All Vote, an organization that Obama founded to help register and turn out voters across the country.

What began as Andre (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross)’s chance encounter with the former first lady turned into a casual dinner at the Johnson house.

Obama’s main scene mostly consisted of the rest of Dre and Bow’s family interrupting with attempts to try and impress her. And there were also a few moments of conversation among Obama, Dre and Bow about what it’s like having teenage kids.

“When our girls were that age, you should have seen how they rolled their eyes, especially at their father,” Obama said during the episode.

But clearly the cameo for Obama, who was personally asked to appear on the show by Ross herself, was all about getting the word out about voter registration. And while it was subtle within the episode, Obama reiterated the objective with a tweet after the show aired, reminding people to get themselves and others registered.

Meanwhile, viewers on Twitter celebrated Obama’s appearance on the hit series with plenty of praise and even a few requests like, “Please decide to be president in 2024” and “I too would like to invite you over for dinner.”

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Entertainment.

Why Do You Want This Job?

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One of the most common interview questions is some version of “why do you want this job?” or “why do you want to work here?” How you answer that question can be a significant factor in whether you get the job because the employer wants to know if you will add value and be a good fit for their organization. They want to know why you like the position and why you like their company. So how should you prepare to answer that question?

Sometimes it helps to think of the flip side of this question. Ask yourself, “Why would this company want to hire me?” In other words, think more about what you have to offer, and how you could make an impact rather than why getting the job would benefit you. There are 3 factors that most employers are looking for in your answers. They want to know: (1) that your experience and skills qualify you to do the job; (2) that you have researched their organization and are enthusiastic about its product, service or goals; and (3) that you align with the company’s values.

Match Your Skills with the Position

If you have previous work or volunteer experience that is a good fit for the company or position, be ready to discuss that as well as why you enjoy the type of work the company does. If your skills match up well, you can shine when you are asked why you want this job.

If your work skills don’t necessarily match perfectly, maybe your soft skills do. Does the person in this position communicate with the public? If that is something you enjoy, you can focus on that aspect of the position and share your experience. Do you enjoy problem solving at work? Again, if it fits, describe how you’ve solved problems on the job or with a group before.

Express Your Interest and Enthusiasm for the Company

Before you landed the interview, you did your homework and checked out the company culture, right? Learning about the organization you’re interviewing with is key, but this includes more than just knowing what the organization does. You’ll also want to know about its leadership, culture, employees, stakeholders and competitors. By being well informed, you’ll make a good impression on an interviewer. You will also learn whether the organization is a good match for you.

When you make it to the interview, share what caught your eye about either the company or the position. Maybe the position is a good fit or the company’s mission is something you can support.

Think About Your Career Goals

Are you applying for an entry-level position in a field you’re really interested in? Are you making a career change, or do you want to apply the skills you’ve gained to a new type of position? While you don’t want to sound like you’ll only stay in this position for a short time, you can discuss where you see yourself in the future and how the knowledge you can gain from this position can help you get there. This is also a great time to discuss why you picked this company. Asking about growth opportunities and career development show you’re interested in investing in the employer for a longer time.

Source: Ticket to Work

Formulating the Perfect STEM Resume for 2022

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A fresh start is one of the gifts of a brand-new year, especially coming out of unprecedented times. If you’re looking to change up your career, here are some tips to help you revise your current resume and make the kind of impact you really hope for.

Polish visual elements

A resume that’s too visually distracting or disorganized can make an employer dispose of it without actually delving in. Use plenty of white space, and sharp, consistent formatting for each job. Use a limited number of fonts, preferably just one or two. Avoid using too many attention-getting methods such as all caps, bold and increased font sizes, or the reader struggles to know where to look. Make it neat and scannable by using clear headings.

Focus on Technical Skills

This is one of your strongest opportunities to introduce yourself; every organization, and even different jobs within one organization, may require you to make subtle tweaks to your resume to make it count. For STEM-related fields, it’s always best to showcase your skills for a specific position and the specific certifications that meet their needed criteria. Avoid listing expected skills required in any job and focus on special abilities that make you the best candidate for the job. It may also be helpful to list your expertise level (expert, proficient, etc.) to drive home your skillset.

Show Your Experience Across Disciplines

Though you want to be specific to the job, you will also want to showcase how your disciplines have crossed paths, especially in a time where scientific innovations and technological advances are increasing in overlap. Tell your reader about the experience you’ve had in your lines of work and school from outward appearance and design to the more behind-the-scenes work of sample collecting and data recording.

Add Results to Build Context

Do your jobs appear lacking in results? Maybe you didn’t track your statistics to — down the road — accurately report them on your resume. But numbers and impact are helpful to get a picture of what you’ve done. For example, a Conservation Corps worker described his experience as, “Coordinated group of 25 volunteers. As leader of 25-person team, removed invasive species growth over 50-acre wilderness, restored and maintained over 10 miles of trails. Developed new team protocols that led to improved communication and more efficient trail practices.” These numbers add more weight.

Revise Repeatedly, Even When You Can’t Stand It

The last thing you want is for your resume to be rejected over simple errors that could have easily been fixed. Go over your resume, use spellcheck, have a friend or trusted individual read through it, and ask for feedback from qualified individuals willing to help.

With these tips in mind, your resume will not only be ready to take on job opportunities, but your confidence will only increase. 2022 is a fresh start from the past two years; go make it count!

Source: CareerOneStop, KForce

Michael Jordan and His Son Jeffrey Jordan Launch Heir Inc., an Entertainment and Tech Venture Geared Around Athletes

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By Todd Spangler, Variety

Michael Jordan and his son Jeffrey Jordan are looking to drive the six-time NBA champ’s legacy into the world of NFTs and next-generation entertainment.

The Jordans have launched Heir Inc., a new holding company that plans to build a consumer-facing community platform for athletes to connect with fans — as well as other lines of business, including an entertainment studio and consumer products. (“Heir,” of course, is a play on the Air Jordan brand at Nike.)

The company was co-founded by Jeffrey Jordan (above left) along with marketing exec Daniel George (above middle), founder of agency Limitless Creative, and Jeron Smith (above right), former CEO/co-founder of Stephen Curry’s Unanimous Media.

Heir Inc.’s first tech product, called “Heir” (heir.app), is envisioned as a Web3 personalized community platform for athletes. For the Heir product, the startup closed a $10.6 million seed funding round led by Thrive Capital, marking the venture-capital firm’s foray into NFTs (and its largest seed investment ever). Investments also came from Solana Ventures, the investment arm of public blockchain platform Solana, along with angel investors including tech entrepreneur and investor Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit), New York Knicks EVP and senior basketball adviser William Wesley and Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball.

Here’s how the founders say the Heir platform will work: Athletes will sell a limited number of membership-based “seats” to fans, who will get access to digital assets and first-person NFT drops, using an exclusive Heir token built on Solana’s energy-efficient blockchain network. (NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, are used to verify ownership of unique digital content.) Supporters will have the opportunity to purchase one-time digital assets or join an athlete’s “huddle” for exclusive drops, digital goods, immersive experiences, and other perks.

“The Heir platform reimagines the creator-fan experience, to empower athletes to engage with their fans,” Jeffrey Jordan told Variety.

For now, the founders are mum on which athletes may be on board for the initial launch of Heir, slated for 2022. “We’re being very deliberate with our early-adopter athletes,” Jordan said, adding that Heir is aiming for “tier one” NBA and WNBA players and the next generation of rising stars in the NCAA.

Will MJ be on the Heir platform? It’s unclear. According to Jeffrey, “My dad is a strategic adviser and partner. We meet with him regularly, and he provides guidance and insightful ideas… When he was playing, he didn’t have the same tools to connect with his fanbase or monetize that.”

Alongside the three founders, Heir Inc.’s executive team includes VP of operations Briana Richardson, formerly business manager at Robinhood and consultant with Bain & Co.

The focus for Heir is on young stars like Lonzo Ball who appeal to Gen Z and millennial fans, according to Smith. “Individuals his age have grown up with social platforms,” he said. “This is the first step for athletes building their meta-brands in the metaverse/Web3 world.”

Heir will generate revenue from consumers purchasing memberships in an athlete’s “huddle.” Athletes will get an 80% cut of primary sales of NFTs and Heir Inc. will keep 20%; on subsequent sales the split is 50-50.

The idea is keep the Heir memberships scarce: The number of seats in a given “huddle” will be capped at about 0.5%-1% of an athlete’s existing social following, according to George. Once you hit the cap, “the only way to get in is if somebody sells you their seat,” he said. “The value of the huddle seat appreciates over time.”

Digital content from athletes on Heir will encompass multiple formats, ranging from exclusive behind-the-scenes videos to what they’ve watched on Netflix. Athletes also will be able to host live Q&As with their huddle members and post polls and quizzes. Fans who are highly engaged on the platform will be rewarded by unlocking digital goods.

Click here to read the full article on Variety.

Black Women Gamers Aren’t Unicorns — They’re The Future

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Gamer Girl and founder of Black Girl Gamers

By Jay-Ann Lopez

Many people still think that being a gamer and a Black woman is a juxtaposition. It’s not. We’re not unicorns. Just like in any other industry, there are content creators, industry professionals, and consumers, and Black women can be found in all of these categories — but they’re often overlooked, underestimated, or outright ignored. So Black women are taking their spot in gaming for themselves.

If you’re not familiar with gaming, let me briefly explain how we got here. Gaming started with simplistic classics like Pong, and in their infancy, games were aimed at a broad audience who just wanted to play and have fun. But after the video game crash in the 1980s, the industry essentially said, “Fuck it, let’s just focus on white men and boys.” And after decades of game creation and marketing geared toward men, here we are in 2021, with the majority of the highest paid gamers being white men. Not to mention that the workforce in the industry is also dominated by white men. According to jobs site Zippia, 72% of video game developers in the US are men, and 72% of developers are also white. And unfortunately, with this came the foundation of a toxic misogynistic culture, which companies overlooked and sometimes encouraged with their early marketing — just look at one ‘90s Playstation advertisement.

As the social climate changed to become more critical and vocal about racism, sexism, homophobia, and discrimination, some companies have vowed to change, but only after hitting rock bottom. In July, a lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard by the California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleged the company long facilitated an environment of harassment, discrimination, and a toxic “‘frat boy’ workplace culture.” The suit led to an outpour of horror stories on social media that exposed what often happens behind game creation. Some triple-A companies have started to hire experienced chief diversity officers, who slowly but surely hope to tackle the ingrained bias internally and in their games.

But many gaming companies are still struggling to hire, and retain, Black employees which means, beyond the marketing, the culture isn’t progressing. Just 6% of video game developers in the US are Black, according to Zippia, so it doesn’t take long to look under the surface and see the dust is still under the rug. Brands are still enabling toxic content creators or work environments where marginalized people can feel as though they are collateral damage as we’ve seen with recent revelations about Activision. There’s still so much to do, and it seems the industry only reacts to current events, such as the murder of George Floyd, rather than plan for a better future. Despite changing demographics and efforts from within to create more inclusive spaces, Black women still aren’t visible and have long been ostracized, ignored, and underpaid.

The space is democratizing. But rather than the companies that make millions, it’s creators-turned-entrepreneurs who are doing the necessary work to address the lack of transparency and seemingly unclosable gaps in gaming.

Click here to read the full article on Refinery29.

A Maine city that’s 90% White now has a Somali mayor

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Somali Mayor, Deqa Dhalac, poses for a portrait at her home in South Portland in 2018. Of becoming the city's mayor this week, she said, "I'm...really proud of the fact that I'm going to be opening a lot of paths for other folks who look like me."

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

Deqa Dhalac saw it in their faces when she started campaigning. Some people, she says, seemed scared to open their doors when she knocked. Others saw her hijab and assumed she didn’t speak English. But Dhalac kept knocking and telling her story. And she says a lot has changed since those days back in 2018, when she first ran for City Council in South Portland, Maine — and won. On Monday she became the first Black mayor of the small city on the state’s Southern Coast. And she’s believed to be the first Somali American mayor in the United States. South Portland’s other city councilors, who are all White, elected her in a unanimous vote, heaping praise on Dhalac for her dedication to the community and thoughtful consideration of issues.

Dhalac, 53, says her election shows what can be accomplished when people find ways to connect with each other instead of putting up walls.

“People will always have some kind of reservation…but will get to know you, listen to you and see who you are through that,” she says. Given that Maine is the whitest state in the country, and that South Portland is 90% White, Dhalac knows her election sounds surprising to some. But she says that it shouldn’t be. And that’s one reason she ran for office in the first place. She hopes her election as mayor will inspire others to follow in her footsteps.

“I’m…really proud of the fact that I’m going to be opening a lot of paths for other folks who look like me, especially our young community members, to say, ‘If this woman can do this, actually I can do that,'” Dhalac told the City Council last month after her nomination. “And also not only for immigrant, first-generation or Black people, but also young, White individuals who may have been afraid or don’t want to be a part of the civic duties that we all have. … I say, ‘Yes, if I can do this, yes, you can do it. We really, really need you, each and every one of you in this beautiful city of ours, to step up.'”

Her election marks multiple milestones
Dhalac’s inauguration is a milestone for Somali immigrant communities that have grown in size and become more established in states like Maine, Minnesota, Ohio and Washington. As that’s happened, more Somali Americans are taking on roles on local school boards and city councils — and also serving as lawmakers, like Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota.

Dhalac is the first Somali American mayor in the United States, according to New American Leaders, an organization that trains and encourages immigrants to run for office. But the organization says they hope she won’t be the last.

“Her leadership will certainly make a big difference not only in South Portland, but around the country,” said Ghida Dagher, the organization’s president. “She’s going to serve an example for Somali Americans across the country to step up and step into their own leadership journey. … It’s about owning their own power and potential in our democracy.” Dhalac’s election is also a historic first for South Portland, which has never had a Black mayor before, says Seth Goldstein, vice president of the South Portland Historical Society. Goldstein, who teaches history and leads historical tours in the area, says he’s happy to watch this new chapter in his city’s history unfold. “It’s very exciting, I think that it is reflective of the way that the community here is gradually changing,” Goldstein says. About 6,000 Somalis live in Maine, Goldstein said, thanks to a wave of migration that began in the early 2000s.

Their arrival hasn’t always been met with open arms. In 2002, the mayor of Lewiston, Maine, drew national media attention when he wrote an open letter telling Somali immigrants not to come to his city.

But Dhalac says the people she’s met in Maine have been welcoming, and in recent years she’s seen more Somalis and other immigrants taking on leadership positions in the state. In the past, she says, immigrants were more hesitant to run because they were focused on making ends meet and supporting their families.

“I think we were always kind of afraid to get involved. … We were waiting on somebody (else) to do something,” she said.
In 2018, Dhalac got tired of waiting.

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

Afro-Latinx Artist Reyna Noriega Is Using Art to Uplift Brown and Black Women

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Afro-Latinx Artist Reyna Noriega

By Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Pop Sugar

In 2017, Afro-Latinx visual artist Reyna Noriega began her career as a full-time creator. Little did she know that in just a few short years, she would have over 100,000 followers on Instagram, would be working with huge brands like Apple and Old Navy, and would design a cover for The New Yorker. Born and raised in Miami to a first-generation Cuban father and a Bahamian mother, Noriega, who is best-known for her bold, vibrant, graphic work, was destined to be an artist.

“My father is also an artist, and I became interested early on in just the magic of it all, being able to bring ideas to life on paper and communicate in a universal language,” Noriega told POPSUGAR in a recent interview. “I was always the ‘sensitive kid’ feeling a lot and thinking a lot, so art and writing were great outlets for me to get all of that under control and to be able to process my emotions.”

Now, Noriega’s art is being seen on a much wider scale and impacting thousands of people who follow her on social media or see her art on city walls and T-shirts. To get there, she had to put in a lot of work, including studying and learning on her own, despite the fact that she took art classes throughout high school and minored in art in college. Using the help of books and YouTube, Noriega honed her skills and eventually left her job as a teacher, with the full support of her parents.

“I was very fortunate that my family believed in me and my ability to make my passion a career and even help me make it happen! To this day, my mom is the person that helps me run my online shop, and they encourage me to strive higher,” Noriega told us.

By 2019, Noriega started doing brand work, after getting comfortable with her style and what she wanted to represent as an artist. It gradually became easier for her to align herself with brands that had the same mission. She is currently working on Amex’s “Always Welcome” design collective launch, which will provide businesses with signage for their storefronts and indicate their stance on inclusivity.

“Honestly, every time I get an email, I am honored and humbled that my name enters rooms I never thought would. From companies whose products I used to save up for at one point, like Apple, to legendary publications like The New Yorker, or having thousands and thousands of people wear a shirt I designed with Old Navy. It really is a dream come true,” she said.

Ultimately, it was Noriega embracing her culture and her commitment to advocating for Black and brown people through her art that got her there. She says her Afro-Caribbean culture is what brings “vibrancy and flavor” to her art. But we think it’s so much more than that. With just a single glance, it’s obvious that Noriega’s background informs her work. Her use of color, the way she showcases the female form, the various complexions and skin tones she celebrates in her work, and the stunning, tropics-inspired botanical scenes she often creates speak to exactly who she is and where she comes from.

“Art has always been a place I look to boost my mood, museums, galleries, [and] learning about art history. But unfortunately in those spaces, rarely did I ever feel I belong, because my story wasn’t told on those walls, and in the rare occasion it was, it only highlighted the struggles and traumas,” she said. “I wanted to create work that would lift moods and raise the self-efficacy of Black and brown women with positive representation and vibrant depictions of joy.”

Noriega describes the art she creates with a tremendous amount of care and respect. Her mission is to create art that represents and uplifts communities that are often left out of the conversation. “I focus on women because as a woman, I know all of the challenges and barriers we face,” she said. “Inequalities in pay, harmful messaging on body image, the ongoing fight for body autonomy . . . it can be really exhausting. Add on to that the challenges being a BIPOC, and it just magnifies. My art is meant to celebrate women, inspire joy, and a reclamation of peace and rest.”

Noriega recognizes how important it is to not only amplify voices like hers but also to use her gifts and resources to speak up for people who don’t have the same advantages that she does. Even as a Black Latina, she’s cognizant of the privileges she has and the responsibility associated with them. “For me personally, I often look at my identities as a privilege, which pushes me to amplify Black voices even more. I am all too aware of the advantages I have received being a Latina in Miami, and even being ethnically Caribbean, although my race is Black,” she said. “Being able to say where your lineage comes from is a privilege many Black Americans don’t have. I have been unfairly judged and treated and had some very hurtful comments said to me, but I must also be aware of how my skin tone provides privileges, how my heritage provides privileges, and how knowing more than one language is a privilege.” And in recognizing that, she’s able to leverage her position to empower others in really visible ways.

Click here to read the full article on Pop Sugar.

Certifications: A Power Tool for Career Advancement

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black woman holding an award certification

Want to improve the impression you make in your job search or advance in your current job? Earning one or more professional certifications demonstrates your subject matter knowledge and skill, as well as your motivation to add a credential to your qualifications.

What are certifications?

A certification is a nationally recognized award that shows you have specific skills or knowledge in an occupation, industry or technology. To earn a certification, you usually have to pass a test or demonstrate a skill.

Certifications are sponsored by professional associations, product manufacturers, corporations, unions and others. Training to pass a certification test is often available at community or technical colleges, or from the organization that offers the particular certification exam.

Many certifications must be renewed on a time-specified basis by earning continuing education credits or keeping up to date on advancements in the subject area. Some product-related certifications, which are common in technology fields, may lose value when the related product is no longer widely used –– so it’s always a good idea to keep your certifications updated.

Certifications are more commonly earned or required in certain occupations and industries, particularly in information technology, accommodation and food service, finance, construction, health care and social assistance.

What are the benefits of certifications?

There are several key benefits to earning a certification:

  • It’s portable.Having a certification is widely accepted as proof that the individual holding it has particular skills and knowledge, so it’s considered “portable”— when you earn one, you take it with you to other jobs — and it can translate across occupations, industries and geographical locations.
  • It may be required for the job.Employers in some fields require candidates to have certifications before they even apply for a job, or that they are willing to obtain them immediately upon being hired.
  • It gives you an edge.A certification can also be seen as a marketing tool that gives you an extra edge over other job seekers who may meet the requisite qualifications for a job but haven’t gone above and beyond the essentials.
  • It can provide a professional development goal.To pass a certification test requires that you develop the specified knowledge and/or the technical or professional skill. Earning one certification, or a series of them, can serve as a goal to work toward in your professional development.

How to get started?

As a first step, you can look up certifications that fit your career goals using CareerOneStop’s Certification Finder. You can start your search based on the name of an occupation, industry or a specific skill or technology. If you know the occupation’s O*NET code, or the industry’s NAICs code number, you also use those as search terms, or you can just browse a list of occupations or industries to start your search.

Once you click “Search,” you’ll see a list of certifications that match your search term. There are filters to narrow your results for related industries, types of certifications, and organization names.

What are some certifications that are popular with employers?

Project Management Professional

Certified Fundraising Executive

Group Exercise Instructor

Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Certified Business Analysis Professional

Certified Respiratory Therapist

Patient Care Technician

Certified Quality Auditor

From your results, you will be able to visit an association’s website by just clicking the link in the URL column. Certifications marked with a chili pepper indicate those that are frequently mentioned in online job postings. For more information on professional certifications, visit CareerOneStop.org.

Source: CareerOneStop

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    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022
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    March 29, 2022
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    April 12, 2022

Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. From Day One
    February 9, 2022
  3. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  4. From Day One
    February 22, 2022
  5. From Day One
    February 22, 2022
  6. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022
  7. NOBLE 2022 William R. Bracey Winter CEO Symposium
    March 17, 2022 - March 19, 2022
  8. From Day One
    March 29, 2022
  9. From Day One
    April 12, 2022
  10. From Day One
    May 10, 2022