Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mayor Jones Successfully Negotiates to Retain Pfizer Consumer Health R&D in City of Richmond

Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced today that the city of Richmond and Pfizer Consumer Healthcare agreed to maintain the business unit’s Sherwood Avenue R&D operations in the city of Richmond, Virginia. The agreement will retain more than 300 jobs locally and continue the long-standing civic-corporate partnership.

Mayor Jones and city officials have worked with Pfizer and State leaders over several months to craft a proposal that would lead to the successful retention of Pfizer’s Global Consumer Health R&D facility in the city. “The R&D Center on Sherwood Avenue is a world-class facility with state of the art laboratories and equipment and invaluable personnel,” said Mayor Jones. “Given Virginia’s positive business climate and the city’s willingness to offer the economic incentives for retention, we’ve successfully retained this important life sciences operation and this valuable business partner.”

“Our facility in Richmond is a key hub for R&D operations in the U.S. and for Consumer Health product development globally,” said Mark Gelbert, senior vice president, Global R&D for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. “We have been partners with the city of Richmond and the Commonwealth of Virginia for many years and are very pleased to continue our partnership with the community through this agreement.”

The city of Richmond has strengthened its focus on workforce development in an effort to become a much more effective facilitator for attracting and retaining both large and small employers. The Pfizer retention is in line with the comprehensive and focused approach the city has on specific growth clusters like bio-sciences, education and health care.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Greater Richmond Partnership worked to secure the project for Virginia. Pfizer is eligible to receive incentives from the city in addition to state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, because it is located in a Virginia Enterprise Zone. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide retraining assistance through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“We are pleased Pfizer has decided to maintain its research operation in Virginia,” said Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. “We are proud that Pfizer recognizes the many benefits of operating in Virginia and look forward to a continued partnership in the future.”

Pfizer is a research-based, global biopharmaceutical company headquartered in New York. The Sherwood Avenue facility has been in operation since 1963. Pfizer acquired Wyeth in October 2009. Since that time, the company has evaluated its research locations to identify opportunities for consolidation.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

National League of Cities Selects Richmond to Participate in Educational Alignment for Young Children Initiative

Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced today that the National League of Cities (NLC) has chosen Richmond as one of only four municipalities to join with the NLC in planning and hosting local "community conversations" on the topic of improving outcomes for young children by third grade. Richmond was chosen for the Educational Alignment for Young Children Initiative (the Initiative) after interviews with Dr. Carolyn Graham, deputy chief administrative officer for Human Services, and other city and school officials.

The city's outcome based budgeting approach, wherein family and individual economic stability is a focus for the Jones Administration, is part of what has set Richmond apart for this opportunity. Mayor Jones has called for the development of strategies that will lead to increased quality early learning opportunities for children 0-5 years. Recognizing that learning begins long before children enter school, these early learning strategies are designed to help prepare children to succeed in school.

"The NLC cited the leadership the city has already shown as well as the commitment of other partners in the community as a reason for the city of Richmond’s selection," said Mayor Jones. "We are very pleased that the NLC wants to not only highlight the city's efforts, but they want to support our efforts to promote young children's learning from the early years through third grade."

Under the Initiative, a community conversation will take place by the end of September 2010. This convening will focus on educational alignment efforts and seek to identify ways that community stakeholders can work together to improve outcomes for young children.

The NLC's Institute for Youth, Education and Families will provide technical assistance to city and school leaders in planning the event, including support in developing specific meeting materials and potential action steps for city and school leaders. Participating cities will also have access to opportunities to connect with national experts and resources, including research about promising practices.

"Obviously, we are pleased that Richmond Public Schools will be a partner and participant in the NLC's upcoming Educational Alignment for Young Children Initiative," said Richmond Public School’s Superintendent Dr. Yvonne W. Brandon. "The goals of the initiative, along with having access to national experts and research data, reinforce the district's commitment to providing children with a premier preschool learning environment. The timing of the launch also coincides nicely with the opening of the district's new regional preschool learning center for the 2010-2011 school year."

Other cities selected for the opportunity include Seattle, WA; Petal, MS; and San Antonio, TX.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Mayor Announces Richmond's Intent to Submit Promise Neighborhood Grant Application

Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Yvonne Brandon, along with a collaborative of community organizations, announced today the intent to submit a Promise Neighborhood planning grant application to the U.S. Department of Education for the city’s East End.

President Barack Obama will launch an initiative to create 20 Promise Neighborhoods in areas that have high levels of poverty and crime, and low levels of student academic achievement, in cities across the nation. Based on the highly acclaimed Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City, the Promise Neighborhood Initiative will provide a full network of services to entire needy neighborhoods from birth to college.

"Our initiative is called, 'Richmond’s Promise Neighborhood,' and our collaborative approach will ensure the strongest possible outcome for our efforts," said Mayor Jones. "Our short term goal is to position Richmond’s East End to compete successfully for education dollars. Our long term goal is to end generational poverty, improve children’s achievement in school, and provide young people and their parents with opportunities associated with neighborhoods with greater resources."

The Promise Neighborhoods will seek to engage all resident children and their parents into an achievement program based on tangible goals, including matriculation to college for each and every participating student, strong physical and mental health outcomes for children as well as retention of meaningful employment and parenting schools for parents.

“The Richmond Planning team has been meeting for nearly a year in preparation for the application”, said Lynn McAteer, V.P Planning of Better Housing Coalition, the convening organization. “The team has gone through a rigorous process to select the East End and we feel that our application will be extremely competitive; we’ve been able to get wide range of support from neighborhood, local, and state officials.”

The Planning Team has identified Woodville Elementary School as the centerpiece of Richmond’s Promise Neighborhood. This important choice was based on the school’s record of achievement, leadership and commitment to an integrated partnership with Richmond’s Promise Neighborhood and shared responsibility for children.

The grant application is due on June 25th with awards being announced in September 2010.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mayor to Kick Off Youth Urban Conservation Corp

WHAT: Mayor’s Youth Academy: Youth Urban Conservation Corp Kick-Off Event

WHEN: Thursday, June 24, 2010
1 – 3 p.m.

WHERE: Robinson Theater Community Arts Center
2903 Q Street

On June 24, 2010, Mayor Dwight C. Jones will kick off the Mayor’s Youth Academy: Youth Urban Conservation Corps as a part of his “Ending Food Deserts….Growing Green Richmond” program. The Youth Urban Conservation Corp is a Mayor’s Youth Academy program designed to involve more than 100 Richmond youth in an intensive horticulture and business development experience.

Each youth ambassador will have an opportunity to participate in the operational components of a farmers’ market and produce industry. Higher learning institutions, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, and Virginia Union University, will rotate every two weeks in teaching participants how to establish a business.

The Mayor’s Youth Academy draws upon the expertise and resources of leaders in local government, business, and non-profit sectors to promote the value of education and workforce skills for local youth. The benefits of the Youth Urban Conservation Corp are in line with First Lady Michelle Obama’s challenge to United States’ citizens to end food deserts in distressed and poverty stricken areas across America.

“I would like to thank all of the businesses and non-profit entities that have partnered with the Mayor’s Youth Academy and I encourage other interested entities to please do so,” said Mayor Jones. “Together we can promote the value of education and workforce skills needed for the development of Richmond’s future workforce.”

For more information on the Mayor’s Youth Academy: Youth Urban Conservation Corps contact the Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services at (804) 646-5823 or (804) 646-3304.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mayor's Order #2010-02

Pursuant to Mayor's Order #2010-02, Mayor Dwight C. Jones created the Pedestrian, Bicycling, and Trails Planning Commission.

The Pedestrian, Bicycling, and Trails Planning Commission has been established to provide the Mayor's Administration with advice on ways to incorporate bicycling and walking as viable methods of transportation in the city of Richmond.

To inform its work, the Commission will review adopted citywide transportation plans, strategies and plans from other jurisdictions. It will make recommendations for policies that support pedestrian and bicycle travel in Richmond. These policies will ensure that our city becomes a community where walking and bicycling are integral parts of the transportation system.

The development of a well-publicized and effective system of pedestrian and bicycle trails could be an effective selling point for economic development and tourism efforts.

The Commission held its inaugural meeting on Wednesday, June 9, 2010. The Mayor also anticipates environmental improvements by reducing the city's dependence on motor vehicles, reducing traffic, and the improvement of residents' health by promoting physical activity.

Mayor's Order #2010-01

Pursuant to Mayor's Order #2010-01, Mayor Dwight C. Jones created the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Policy.

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Policy will work to identify social factors that give rise to the health care problems of Richmond's residents, and develop recommendations that can be implemented both in the short-term and long-term to ameliorate those disparities.

Reports will be developed to identify the city's health priorities including the issue of its health disparities, identifying potential funding necessary to address the priorities, and recommending strategies that the City of Richmond might employ in addressing them.

The Commission shall produce and present the intial plan by August 2010, to embody recommendations that might be adopted as priorities for the city to pursue in making a difference in the lives of our residents.