The National Black MBA Association held a stellar meeting at the Georgia-Pacific Auditorium on Jan 25.
Four of Atlanta’s most important leaders in transportation, county government, education and city government addressed the crowd about the city’s biggest issues. Those key speakers included Keith Parker, general manager and CEO of MARTA; John Eaves, chairman of Fulton County; Courtney English, chairman of Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education; and Ceasar Mitchell, president of Atlanta City Council. The gentlemen also answered questions and provided solutions.
Parker informed attendees that MARTA buses will be seeing major improvements in the near future to make trips more enjoyable. The transportation system is expected to incorporate more frequent service in its routes, including more frequent evening service. He announced that there will be new vehicles with Wi-Fi, healthy snacks, and innovative restrooms.
When it comes to education in the city, English has been working diligently to implement programs that continue the trend of rising graduation rates and plummeting dropout numbers. For example, the Dropout Prevention and Recovery Program resulted in a 2015 graduation rate of 71.5 percent, 12.4 percent higher than in 2014, according to a NBMBAA newsletter. Now, the APS is working with Georgia State to develop a five-year, $7.5 million plan to prevent police injustice by improving police officers’ training when dealing with youth.
The APS is also hiring for teachers, as well as professionals in IT, project management, and operations. Opportunities to join local governance councils for schools and PTOs/PTAs are also open.
Commissioner Eaves discussed issues concerning health care, education, and justice. He’s currently fighting to get a business model approved that will fund the Grady Health System, courts, and jails. He’s also working closely with county school officials to close the gap of education inequality. Additionally, Eaves acknowledges that traffic congestion needs to be mitigated. Expanding the MARTA Referendum to extend infrastructure is one way to fix the problem, as well as continuing to rework roadway logistics.
Affordable housing has been of the utmost importance to Mitchell, and he expressed that he is closely connected with the city of Atlanta, Invest Atlanta, and other developments to ensure that affordable housing is available for residents of all income levels. He also promised a closer connection with APS in 2016 and announced that the school system and the city of Atlanta have reached an agreement in their financial dispute regarding BeltLine TAD. Lastly, Mitchell mentioned the expansion of the Equal Opportunity Business Program, which will link small, minority, female, and disadvantaged businesses with more of the city’s business opportunities.
It was also announced that the NBMBAA national headquarters will relocate to Atlanta beginning in spring 2016.
To begin a job search with APS or view the latest initiative, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us.
To learn about how to get registered with Fulton County Government for business needs and contracts awarded by the city and county government, visit www.fultoncountyga.gov.