Boston has launched a new initiative to help narrow the gender wage gap by offering free salary negotiation workshops for women working and living in Boston. Partnering with the American Association of University Women, the city is offering 10 workshops to help women identify their target salary and benefits, and develop a strategy for asking for raises. Regionally, women make 83 cents for every dollar paid to men. While some observers question the actual impact of more aggressive salary negotiations, organizers stress that women will miss every shot that they do not take.
Memphis, Tennessee, has joined a growing group of municipalities that have established a mow-to-own program to aid in fighting blight. Property owners who mow an adjoining city- or county-owned vacant lot earn a $25 credit for each cut over a three-year period, which goes toward buying it. The city also benefits by reducing its own multimillion-dollar maintenance costs for vacant land and from the added tax revenue once the land passes back into private ownership. Columbus, Ohio; Rockford, Illinois; and New Orleans have similar programs.
Jersey City has become one of the first cities in the US to create a volunteer, community-based emergency response team to get trained individuals on the scene more quickly. Under Community Based Emergency Care, a mobile app deploys the nearest volunteer before an ambulance can arrive at an emergency situation, decreasing response times. Fifty-one community volunteers will begin the program, which is based on a similar one in Israel.
Nashville, Tennessee, is turning to its own difficult history of racial inequality as part of its training program for new police recruits. Recently, about 60 new officers learned lessons in civil rights history organized in conjunction with the public library, as well as met with current and former civil rights leaders before being assigned to their beats. Officials hope that the trainings lead to more “even-handed” police-work and help restore trust between police and the communities they serve. Other law enforcement agencies are watching closely.
To encourage its citizens to spend less time looking at their phones and more time reading original short stories, Grenoble, France has partnered with publishing company Short Edition to install eight vending machines in public locations that dispense short stories. The free stories are printed on long receipt-like paper and readers can choose from narratives that are one, three, or five minutes long. Officials note that the initiative will provide shared experiences among community members.