Cultural activist and poet Roberto Bedoya has joined the City of Oakland Economic & Workforce Development team as the City’s new Cultural Affairs Manager. Mr. Bedoya is a cultural policy innovator known for his work on race and creative placemaking. Mayor Schaaf stated, “Roberto is a thought leader when it comes to ensuring equity, civic engagement and inclusion through the arts at a moment when these issues are critical to Oakland.” The City's Cultural Affairs unit oversees more than $900,000 in grants to the arts each year and more than $1 million in public art projects. Mr. Bedoya will also provide leadership for new initiatives such as completing a Cultural Plan for the City, supporting cultural districts and growing a technical assistance program to help artists and arts organizations. Send him a welcome note at RBedoya@oaklandnet.com.
Photogenic Oakland is the star of @weloveoakland on Instagram, which has quickly amassed 20,900 followers for its poetic perspective and gorgeous photos of Oaklanders, landscapes and local businesses. @weloveoakland was created by local entrepreneur and Oakland native Durand Wilson in response to a perceived bias in traditional media’s Oakland coverage. Wilson is also the sole proprietor of Sky ǀ Oak Co, the company behind the “Oakland Against the World” t-shirt. “As a small business owner here in Oakland I realize that specific market exposure is critical. This is where the idea came into play to feature small Oakland businesses.” Check them out on Instagram and tag @weloveoakland.
Fox photo courtesy of Christian Musngi, @weloveoakland
On October 6, City of Oakland and Kiva are partnering to showcase Oakland-made fashion and food businesses. The Made in Oakland event will feature over 30 local businesses, including fashion purveyors Show & Tell, Own N Wood, Platinum Dirt, food artisans Natty Cakes and The Lumpia Company and more! Businesses will set up from 4 to 7pm on Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in front of City Hall (12th St. BART). For more information on the City’s Kiva program, contact Business Assistance Center manager Juno Thomas and visit www.kiva.org/oakland.
Photo courtesy of Owl n Wood
Forage Kitchen, a new business incubator and co-working space for food entrepreneurs, will open the first week of October in Uptown. In addition to workspace, state-of-the-art equipment, local farmer connections, support staff and office resources, Forage Kitchen will also house courses for food entrepreneurs taught by the Food Craft Institute. For the public, Forage offers new artisan foods at its café and a monthly Family Meal starting on October 9. Forage is one of over a dozen commercial kitchens and commissaries in Oakland now serving food startups, including Kitchener Oakland, Port Workspaces, La Placita and Kitchen 1014.
Thanks to a building boom, there are now more than 69,500 construction jobs across the region, surpassing pre-recession levels. This intense demand for construction workers has also led to rising wages in the industry; the median construction wage in Alameda County is now $65,000, or slightly higher than the median wage for all employment ($62,947). The City of Oakland aims to meet this workforce demand by offering construction training through the West Oakland Job Resource Center, Youth Employment Partnership and Civicorps. For more information on workforce training programs, contact Workforce Development Specialist Tamara Walker.
Kapor Capital and the Kapor Center for Social Impact will host the first ever Hacking Bias startup weekend on October 7 to 9. Participants will build tech solutions to the tech industry's diversity problems while networking with VCs and industry experts to help build and fund their products. The grand prize includes a 12-week scholarship for three co-founders to Oakland business accelerator Uptima Business Bootcamp as well as three months of VC mentorship from Kapor Capital, including a session with VC legend Mitch Kapor, seed-stage investor in Uber, Twilio and Dropcam. Sign up here now and use discount code HackBias_OAK for a 10% discount off of tickets!