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April 13, 2017 / Kendra Allen, Editor

Metro struggles to meet diversity goals

TRANSIT | Public transportation systems across the nation are required to offer a certain percentage of contracting jobs to women and people of color. Metro has recently fallen short of its goal of 25%, including this year. Now it’s lowering its goal, and causing some to question the decision. (WaPo, 4/8)

Those federally-mandated targets are based in part on demographic data on the agency’s vendor directory. With fewer registered DBEs [small businesses primarily owned and managed by women or historically underrepresented minorities], Metro is allowed to lower its target. But the optics of the lowered expectations are particularly troubling to officials when the agency has dramatically ramped up spending on private contractors as part of the year-long SafeTrack maintenance program. The project is expected to cost about $120 million, and Metro has said that about half of the work is being done by contractors.

The lack of diversity among Metro’s contractors is a stark difference from the makeup of its workforce. Just over 74 percent of Metro’s workforce is black, 14.9 percent white, 4.6 percent Hispanic, 5.4 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, and 0.4 percent American Indian. (The remaining 0.5 percent identified as multiple races or did not include a race.) About 24 percent of Metro’s employees are women.

HEALTH
– On the Northern Virginia Health Foundation‘s blog, the superintendent of Alexandria City Public Schools discusses how health and wellness are being integrated into the school system. (NVHF, 4/10)

– An investigation into the DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center found a series of issues that “placed patients at unnecessary risk.” (WTOP, 4/12)

EDUCATION | This Ward 8 high school is having a ‘signing day’ to celebrate their senior class, who have all been accepted to college. (NBC4, 4/12)

RACE | How history forgets Latinx civic engagement in America (Citylab, 4/11)

ENVIRONMENT | The District has a renewed effort to clean up Kenilworth Park, which is a former dump site. (GGWash, 4/12)

PUBLIC SAFETY
– ‘Amber’s Law’ allows courts to order GPS monitors for suspected abusers (WUSA9, 4/12)

– Manassas law enforcement has a new robot to help them in high stress situations. (WaPo, 4/9)


Here are the 2017 Peeps Diorama winners…

(On an unrelated note: RIP to the man called darkness, who’s probably eating pancakes with Prince and arguing with Rick James right now.)

– Kendra

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