Mayor Strickland's Weekly Update

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In my first four and a half months as your mayor, I’ve been actively involved in a number of economic development efforts. That means everything from visiting with companies that are already here to strategizing how to attract companies that could move here.

Invariably, companies want to know what kind of workforce they’ll engage with in Memphis. And that’s why earlier this week, I was so proud to take part in an announcement by our Workforce Investment Network, headed by Kevin Woods.

WIN is partnering with ACT, a company you probably know best because of its commonplace college admission test, to certify Memphians as work-ready. Companies can then look at how many Memphians are ACT work-ready certified and know what they’re getting should they decide to move here or ramp up operations. It’s a way to signal to prospective employers that our workforce is ready for them, and that we’re open for business.

Workforce development doesn’t end there. WIN has all kinds of initiatives, and its efforts tie back into something else I’m passionate about: expungement. For those who benefit from our Better Memphis Fund to wipe away their record, we’ll be connecting them with WIN so that they’re better equipped to get a job.

It’s how we’re connecting city government entities to improve our services to you.

Our continued efforts against crime: Believe me, I’m well aware of the headlines you see far too often about our unacceptable homicide rate. It’s given me plenty of sleepless nights of late, as violence claims too many of our citizens’ lives -- especially our youngest ones.

But I don’t want you to think we’re inactive. Just last week, I shared some tangible results of our fight against crime. And here’s another one: In April, the rate of our most serious crimes declined 10 percent from last April.

Credit Interim Police Director Michael Rallings and the dedication of the entire Memphis Police Department for refusing to accept our level of violent crime as the norm.

Welcome aboard, Bill: I’m looking forward to working with Bill Gibbons in his new role as leader of the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission, which was approved and announced Thursday. Bill brings a wealth of experience, energy and passion for this very important field of work.

I’m also very glad that those efforts will be in partnership with the University of Memphis, my alma mater.

Moving forward with EMS recommendations: Earlier this week, a steering committee that will study the implementation of emergency medical services recommendations from IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge team met for the first time. If you want to know more about what we’re studying, we just posted the full set of Smarter Cities Challenge recommendations on our website.

For more background, read this op-ed piece I wrote earlier this week in The Commercial Appeal.

Congratulations, Lisa: I was thrilled this week when my chief of staff, Lisa Geater, was honored with one of this year’s Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Awards from the Rotary Club of Memphis -- East. Lisa, who served as City Council administrator during my time on that body, is the epitome of the dedicated, hard-working public servant.

Festival season: I want to close by saying thank you to the good people at Memphis In May International Festival, a mainstay in our city for some four decades. I spent some time at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest Wednesday night and marveled at the crowd and every unique tent. (I even met the Danish National BBQ team!)

Festival season is a fun time to be a Memphian. So on behalf of the entire city, I say thank you to Memphis in May and every other community group that makes our city shine every single spring.


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