7 Hub companies earn “Inner City Urban Business Award”
Representatives from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) recently joined Mayor Thomas M. Menino to announce that seven Boston businesses received the 2008 Inner City 100 Award for Excellence in Urban Business.
The seven companies, who are now finalists for the National Inner City 100 Award, include: ARGUS, City Fresh Foods, Commonwealth Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation, Dancing Deer Baking Company, Roxbury Technology, Suffolk Construction and Tech Networks of Boston.
Founded 10 years ago by ICIC and Inc. magazine, the Inner City 100 is a program that ranks and publicizes the fastest growing inner city businesses nationwide. Over the years, the list has spotlighted thousands of thriving urban businesses.
David G. Latimore, president and CEO of ICIC, said the Inner City 100 “has shown the nation how the advantages of inner cities, such as diverse workforces and strategic locations, can combine to create explosive growth.”
Criteria that companies must meet to qualify for the list include having at least 51 percent of their operations located in an economically distressed urban area and at least 10 employees.
The national Inner City 100 list will be unveiled at the 10th Annual Inner City Awards Dinner at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on May 1.
Washington Group Int’l to pay $1.5 million to racially harassed black workers
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced a settlement with Washington Group International Inc. (WGI) for $1.5 million on behalf of African American workers who were harassed at their Everett workplace, and then retaliated against for complaining.
WGI provides planning, engineering, design, construction, technical, management and operations, and maintenance services to public and private sector clients.
The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that WGI created a racially hostile work environment for black employees and failed to take appropriate action to remedy the discriminatory conduct at the Sithe Mystic Power Plant construction project in Everett, which the company managed from approximately Dec. 2001 through June 2003.
According to the EEOC, WGI not only subjected black employees to racial graffiti and other forms of harassment, but retaliated against those who complained.
“Employers must remain vigilant in protecting all employees from racial harassment, especially in today’s increasingly diverse labor force,” said Spencer H. Lewis Jr. of the EEOC’s New York District Office. “Rather than swiftly taking corrective action to remedy the racially hostile workplace, WGI targeted the victims for retaliatory measures, including termination.”
The EEOC filed suit against WGI in 2004. The consent decree resolving the case was submitted to U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler for approval.
Under the decree, WGI will pay $1.3 million to be shared among six African American former employees, and $200,000 to be divided among 11 similarly situated individuals.
Additional injunctive relief includes requiring WGI to conduct anti-discrimination training and implement an anti-graffiti policy; revise its equal employment opportunity policies and procedures; post a notice about the settlement for all Power Unit construction sites for the next two years; and monitoring by the EEOC for two years.
“Thrive in Five” partnership aims to boost Hub students’ school prep
A collaborative headed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley recently announced the launch of a partnership intended to stop the development of an educational achievement gap between the next generation of white and minority students before it starts.
The 10-year initiative, called “Thrive in Five,” seeks to join families, educators, health care and human service providers, private sector contributors, city departments and state agencies to prepare Boston school children for academic success.
“We have an obligation — scientific, economic and ethical — to focus on our children’s earliest years and provide them and their parents with the tools they need to achieve,” said Menino in a statement.
Toward that end, Menino announced the initiative has already received $3.25 million in funding commitments. The City of Boston has pledged $750,000, and the United Way $1.3 million. The remaining $1.2 million will come over the next three years from Children’s Hospital Boston, Partners HealthCare and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.
The initiative draws on economic and scientific data compiled by Dr. Jack Shonkoff of Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child indicating that brain and cognitive development early in a child’s life have long-term impacts. Trauma and neglect at an early age can negatively influence that development, leading to problems with learning, health and behavior later in life.
According to the announcement, Thrive in Five will focus on surrounding children and families with school readiness support, raising the quality of early education and care and screening children at younger ages to identify potential threats to healthy development.
“This is a community effort,” said Michael K. Durkin, president and CEO of the United Way, in a statement. “Families, government, health care, nonprofits, the business sector — we all win when a child is ready to succeed in school and life.”
For more information, visit www.thrivein5boston.org.