June 26, 2014 

LAWT News Service


Over 2,500 business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs attended the fifth-annual Connecting Women to Power Business Conference, hosted recently by Jerome E. Horton, Chairman of the California Board of Equalization, at California State University, Dominguez Hills.


“This event continues to grow each year and I am very pleased with the educational opportunities provided to California businesses,” said Chairman Horton. “The strategies and techniques they learned will help them revitalize California’s economy.”


One of the primary goals of the conference was to assemble entrepreneurs and leaders from major corporations, government agencies, and key partner organizations to share ways of positioning business owners to better compete in today’s global economy. The conference elements included motivational keynote and guest speakers, strategies on successful leadership and management skills, information on capitalizing on tax credits, and a host of other topics.


Jana Coke, an entrepreneur who established her fashion consulting business in 2006 and provides a broad range of fashion-related services for male and female clients, said, “I decided to come to the conference for the motivation and stimulation that comes from hundreds of productive women in the same room.”


“I believe we met and even exceeded our goals, objectives, and expectations,” said Horton. “I am especially enthusiastic about the potential international business opportunities that may result from this year’s conference, stemming from the foreign trade representatives that participated this year.”


Jessica von Bluecher, co-owner of The Oxford Trunk, a women’s retail fashion boutique, attended the conference with her business partner and said, “Our aim is to network with other women business owners and possibly expand our customer base.”


“This conference would not be possible were it not for the impressive list of partners, volunteers, and sponsors who gave their time and resources to make this event possible,”  Horton concluded. “From the administrators at California State University, Dominguez Hills, to the dozens of local organizations who partnered with us, it is because of their efforts that this event continues to be among the most popular and productive conferences of its type in Southern California.”

Parent Category: News
Category: Business

June 19, 2014


By Freddie Allen



As fast food and retail workers continue to march for higher wages, a new study by the Economic Policy Institute revealed that Blacks are more likely to earn poverty wages than Whites.


EPI released the “Raising America’s Pay” study in conjunction with the launch of a new research initiative focused on “broad-based wage growth as the central economic challenge of our time – essential to alleviating inequality, expanding the middle class, reducing poverty, generating shared prosperity, and sustaining economic growth.”


During a panel discussion about the new project, Valerie Wilson, director of EPI’s program on race, ethnicity, and the economy, said that over the last 30 years, wage growth has been far below productivity growth, for a lot of workers, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.


Although the number of Blacks and Whites working poverty-level wages has increased since 2000, nearly 36 percent of Black workers made those wages compared to less than 23 percent of Whites.


“As we see a shrinking piece of the pie for workers to divide, Black and Hispanic workers have been left behind,” said Wilson.


Wilson said that the new project will examine occupational segregation in gender and race, observe the rise of mass incarceration and how it affects Black male workers, and the surge in undocumented workers.


In a 2011, EPI researchers reported that Black males earned less than $15 working full-time, compared to their White male peers who made more than $20, even with the same levels of education.


“One possible explanation for this wage disparity is that Black men tend to be crowded into lower-paying occupations – even when they have similar educational attainment as white men,” stated the report. “The result is an oversupply of workers in the crowded occupations, which has the effect of lowering wages further in those jobs.”


In 2013, the Center for Economic Policy Research, reported “that increases in education and work experience will increase workers’ productivity and translate into higher compensation. But, the share of black workers in a ‘good job’ – one that pays at least $19 per hour (in inflation-adjusted 2011 dollars), has employer-provided health insurance, and an employer-sponsored retirement plan – has actually declined.”


Wilson said that higher levels of education have not translated into wage growth.


“If we look at those workers who are the highest earners, these are also the workers that tend to be the most highly educated,” said Wilson. “More education has helped minorities and women to get higher wages, but it hasn’t necessarily gotten them to equal wages, so that’s an additional step that needs to be taken to close the gap.”


Lawrence Mishel, president of EPI, agreed, adding that college education is important, but when it comes to inclusive income growth over the next 10 years, addressing education is not very high on that list.


Mishel said that when economists lean on technology and globalization as prime movers for an inevitable growth in the wage gap, they ignore “a huge realm of policy actions which have generated wage suppression and income inequality.”


Mishel pointed to a Clinton-era tax break for performance pay that contributed to the expansion of high wages in financial sector and the erosion of unionization to explain the growth in the wage gap.


Mishel said,  “No deity created that. That was created by policymakers. It’s not driven by innovators, it’s not Steve Jobs.”


Elise Gould, director of health policy research for EPI, said that 70 percent of income comes from wages, wage-based equity or transfers related to work and that’s why wages have are critical in reducing poverty.


“We need to use all the levers we have at our disposal. We need to look at [Temporary Assistance For Needy Families], we need to look at food stamps, we need to look at unemployment insurance,” said Gould. “We need to strengthen the social safety net and we have seen over the last 30 or 40 years that the social net has made progress in reducing poverty.”


Gould said that if we don’t try to close some of these gaps, we’re failing American society.


“If we don’t do anything to change where these rungs are in wage distribution, if we don’t change what this income distribution looks like, some people are always going to be at the bottom and we know those low rungs are not a great place to be,” said Gould.

Parent Category: News
Category: Business

June 05, 2014


LAWT News Service      



With energy conservation support from partners Cenergistic, a majority of Compton Unified School District (CUSD) schools worked hard throughout the first quarter to cut down on electricity, water, and gas consumption.  The result was over $175,000 in savings. 


Leading the way for Compton schools are Dominguez High School and Roosevelt Elementary School, whose cost avoidance percentages are 31.17 and 50.79 percent, respectively. 


Great energy savings were also produced by schools including Tibby Elementary School (44.49%), Emerson Elementary School (32.49%), Compton High School (29.10%), Bunche Middle School (24.74%) and Willowbrook Middle School (26.59%). 


Cenergistic Energy Specialist Milan Stijepovic said Compton Unified has made significant progress throughout the year to curb excessive energy use at all sites.  “Compton schools really answered the District’s call to think green.  We had an exceptional quarter with all three of our high schools, which are the largest cost centers, finishing north of 20 percent,” he said.  “I can’t stress enough how difficult it is to reach this level of performance.  We should also be proud of the fact that 34 percent of our sites absolutely crushed it with 20 to 50 percent in savings over the previous year.”


Dominguez High School’s Plant Manager Antonio Saucier said achieving the biggest savings is a matter of bragging rights.  “We take pride in what we do and we want to do better each time.  We don’t want to be outdone by other schools,” he said.  “But competition is very healthy for our whole community.  When everyone wants to do their part we all benefit.”


Saucier, who once attended Dominguez in 10th and 11th grade, said communication is the key to his school’s success.  “We’re always reminding each other, students, and teachers to turn off the lights before they leave their classrooms.  We make sure only essential appliances are left on and that no one is wasting water,” he explained.  “It’s best to think about everything the way you would at home.  My water bill is usually the highest so I make sure I don’t leave the water running.  We can do the same anywhere we go.  But what’s most important is that by saving money on energy, we’re saving money that can be used on our children.  That money could be for raises, more benefits, or even improvements to our schools.”

Parent Category: News
Category: Business

June 12, 2014


LAWT News Service


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be the keynote speaker for Crenshaw Chamber of Com­merce’s general membership meeting on Tuesday, June 17 at 12:00 pm at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza’s second floor bridge located at 3650 West Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., in Los Angeles.


The monthly meeting is open to the public and lunch will be catered by Chef Kyle Brown of Maverick’s Flat. Admission is $15 in advance or $20 the day of the event.  To purchase a ticket or to inquire about a sponsorship opportunity, contact the chamber at (323) 293-2900.


“We are honored to have Los Angeles’ 42nd Mayor come and address our community of business stakeholders,” said Armen D. Ross, president of the chamber.


Ross said this luncheon is a historic event because it’s the first time a mayor has spoken at this chamber which has a predominantly African American membership.


“While there is concern in the Black community over the number of new jobs for area residents along the Crenshaw/LAX Transit corridor, the chamber is pushing hard for new business opportunities and the preservation of existing businesses during construction of the Crenshaw Light Rail. We are ready to have a dialogue with him about these and other concerns in the Crenshaw Corridor.”


The Crenshaw Light Rail first appeared as an 8.5 mile $1.7 billion dream that would run down Crenshaw Boulevard from the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw areas to the Los Angeles International Airport, connecting disenfranchised communities with a more viable form of transportation and possibly an enhanced quality of life. 


“There was a great deal of community support for a Leimert Park station and unyielding requests to have the Light Rail run underground from Exposition Boulevard all the way to 60th street,” said Ross.  “But it will only be underground to Vernon,” he added.


Ross said many of the problems of South LA, “have occurred from years and years of major retailers ignoring the area and fearing a commitment to our community.”  He said it’s time to move ahead with a new agenda and with new leadership that will work together to have a long-term positive impact on the corridor.


“Crenshaw Boulevard is one of the greatest and most historic boulevards in the city. We want to work to restore that greatness,” said Ross, a seasoned political insider and entrepreneur.  He served as the Deputy Mayor for Homelessness for Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn. Prior to that he was the Assistant Chief of Staff for Los Angeles City Councilmember Nate Holden.


Ross said some of the other key points the chamber will address are:


• Economic Development along the Crenshaw corridor


• An Update on the Light Rail.


• What are his plans for small business for the greater Crenshaw community?


• Eliminating the COLA Bus­iness Tax.


• How will the city help to make Leimert Park, the cultural centerpiece of South Los Angeles, a tourist destination since it’s located in one of the most affluent African American communities in the country?

Parent Category: News
Category: Business

June 05, 2014


LAWT News Service


Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services a nonprofit, private children's mental-health and welfare agency in Los Angeles – recently appointed Robert Lewis to its Board of Directors. 


A longtime Los Angeles resident, Lewis currently serves as president and chief executive officer of NEX-Impact, a management consulting group that provides relevant and culturally competent capacity building and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations and helps social investors to better engage and support nonprofits. Prior to founding NEX-Impact, Lewis led the California Community Foundation’s landmark BLOOM Initiative – a five-year, $5-million program designed to improve employment and educational opportunities for black male youth involved in Los Angeles County’s probation system. Lewis’ professional experience further extends to serving as a Prototypes project director for a juvenile offender re-entry program and as a senior program manager for The Community College Foun­dation’s Permanence and Safety-Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting training program.


Commenting on Lewis' appointment, Hathaway-Sycamores’ Presi­dent and CEO William Martone said, “We’re extremely pleased that Robert has joined our Governing Board. His many years of experience in the nonprofit and social-services arenas will be a tremendous asset to our agency.”


In addition to his role with Hathaway-Sycamores, Lewis is a member of the KCET Community Advisory Board, the Board of Advisors for Goodwill Southern California, and the Los Angeles County Community Development Foundation’s Advisory Committee. Lewis earned a master’s degree in social work from Howard University and a bachelor’s in sociology from Occidental College.


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