Program at work helping contractors secure public construction deals

Contractor development and bonding program establishes an "inclusionary

program to build a stronger region"

LOS ANGELES (MNS)—A three-pronged Los Angeles regional program—consisting of the City of Los Angeles,
Los Angeles County Metro, and the County of Los Angeles—has been created to help small and diverse con- tractors in bidding and obtaining work on infrastructure development and other publicly funded construction projects.

The regional Contractor Development and Bonding Pro- gram will provide bonding assistance, contract financing,

technical support, education, training, and other services to under-represented businesses. The recent addition of a program at the County of Los Angeles has led to the creation of a new regional program website and to expanded outreach and supportive services in order to help contractors access billions of dollars in infrastruc-ture work, a sector that will soon expand even more with the signing of the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure investment plan late last year.

All three prongs are being administered by Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services, which has many years of experience working on public construction contracting and diversity, equity, and inclusion issues statewide.

"Los Angeles is a diverse region with so many talented business owners, and we need to use all their talents and optimize competition to have the greatest local economic impact of regional contracting dollars," said Ingrid Merriwether, CEO of Merriwether & Williams.


"We need to break down the barriers that have prevented many small and diverse groups from accessing public contracts. This program will help to create greater equity in regional public contracting. This is an inclusionary program to build a stronger region," she said.

Small and diverse businesses are encouraged to participate in the new Los Angeles regional Contractor Devel- opment and Bonding Program. To obtain more information, go online to the new regional program website or call 213-258-3000.

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Los Angeles Rams and defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, are partnering with Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions (AVP), and Pepsi to tackle food insecurity in needy communities throughout Southern California. Courtesy Los Angeles Rams.

LA Rams team-up with grocers, soft drink giant to tackle hunger


LOS ANGELES (MNS) — The Los Angeles Rams are partnering with Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions (AVP), and Pepsi to tackle food insecurity in under-resourced communities throughout Southern California with a series of initiatives that will feature Rams defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day and benefit three Feeding America network food banks in Los Angeles County, Orange County and Ventura County.


Southern California residents will be able to support the efforts by redeeming eligible For U offers on Pepsi-Cola products at their local Albertsons, Vons or Pavilions stores between Oct. 13 and Dec. 28. For every redemption of eligible For U offers, Pepsi will donate the monetary equivalent of 10 meals to Feeding America, up to a maximum of 100,000 meals.

Mobile Food Distribution/Compton College

With the growing food insecurity of college students, the Rams, AVP, and Pepsi will team up with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to host a drive-through mobile food distribution at Compton College. Rams defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, cheerleaders, and volunteers will serve an expected 800 Angelinos struggling with food insecurities and address the dramatic increase in demand for food assistance caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event occurs Oct. 12 from 1-3:30 p.m., at Compton College, 1111 E. Artesia Blvd., Compton, Calif. Joseph Day will be in attendance from 1-2 p.m.

Second Harvest Orange County College Pantry

Pepsi and AVP volunteers, Rams cheerleaders, and mascot Rampage will assemble meal packs for college students in support of Second Harvest Orange County’s College Pantry program. The food kits will feature produce, eggs, milk, and shelf stable goods.

With the exceptional increase in the cost of college tuition, many college students are skipping meals to pay for housing, books and other supplies while consuming cheaper and less healthy foods. The College Pantry program supports 14 different college campuses, provides access to nutritious food, and ensures that all students have enough to eat so they can successfully complete their studies.

The event occurs Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to noon at Fullerton College, 321 E. Chapman Ave., Fullerton, Calif.

Thanksgiving food distribution Ventura County

In partnership with Food Share Ventura County, the Rams, AVP, and Pepsi volunteers will host a Thanksgiving drive-through food distribution for families in need. During the event, volunteers will assemble and distribute meal kits that include items such as a 12-15 lb. turkey, shelf-stable side items, and produce.

The food distribution occurs Nov. 22 from noon to 3 p.m., at College Park, 3250 Rose Ave., Oxnard, Calif. Joseph-Day will also be in attendance.

Rams holiday food blitz distribution

To ensure Angelinos have healthy and nutritious food for the holidays, the Rams will team up with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Pepsi, and AVP to distribute holiday meals to needy families, Dec. 7.

The initiative will be part of the Rams’ 4th Annual Community Blitz Day of Service when the team works alongside community partners during the holidays to host volunteer events throughout the greater LA region.

The location has yet to be determined.

Metropolis News Service.

LA County Office of Education launches ‘All In: Schools County Can Count On’ campaign


INGLEWOOD (MNS) — The Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), which supports 80 school districts and serves 2 million students and their families, unveiled its “All In: Schools L.A. County Can Count On” campaign, Aug. 11.

The campaign is a commitment to the safety and well-being of L.A. County’s students and their families as they begin a new school year during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the campaign, LACOE was joined by Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Dr. Barbara Ferrer and Dr. John Sherin, Inglewood Mayor James Butts and other key County Department leaders, and district partners at this afternoon’s launch.

“The start of a new school year brings excitement but this year will again be different for many students, educators, parents and families,” explained Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo. “We are launching our “All In: Schools L.A. County Can Count On” campaign to usher in a new era in education with our 80 school districts, County agencies, nonprofits and all L.A. County residents.

The campaign offers resources and highlights the different ways we can support schools in meeting students’ and families’ needs as we recover from this pandemic—including testing, vaccinations and ensuring the mental well-being of everyone we serve.”

“We are clearly at a challenging moment in the pandemic. Fortunately, we have also seen the power of the tools we have available to stop further spread. The reopening of schools is an opportunity to demonstrate our shared commitment to make full use of all these tools for the sake of our schoolchildren, their families, and their communities,” affirmed LA County Public Health Officer Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

“As our students return for in person learning this coming school year, we must acknowledge that many have been, are now, and will be experiencing trauma and stress due to myriad impacts of the pandemic including: fear of infection and transmission, personal isolation, loss of routine and family disruption including the loss of loved ones,” said Dr. Jonathan E. Sherin, director of Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH).

“Now more than ever, our schools must be seen and embraced as pivotal community venues for supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our students, our families and our neighborhoods,” Sherin continued. “DMH has a long-standing partnership with LACOE that we have expanded significantly over the past four years and which has been accelerated during the pandemic. The department’s commitment to ongoing partnership with LACOE and school districts across the county is unwavering and will continue to be a top priority.”

This  event was hosted by program partner, the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD). Erika Torres, IUSD County Administrator added, “Inglewood Unified School District is working with our partners to provide regular testing, access to vaccinations, and enhanced safety precautions, including masking, and up-to-date health and safety guidelines provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. These actions make returning to school safer for all.”

Through this campaign, LACOE  is bringing together resources and support to help school districts as they follow the County’s health and safety recommendations and guidelines, and create the safest environment possible for staff and students. As information and recommendations develop, LACOE will respond and support the districts and schools to help implement changes.

“It will take all of us working hand-in-hand to use this moment as an opportunity to strengthen school communities, prioritize student well-being, and transform learning in L.A. County. We are all in this together,” Dr. Duardo added.

More information can be found on the campaign website at

Metropolis News Service.

Rams, NFL provide $30K grant 

partnership for LA Schools

LOS ANGELES (MNS)—The Los Angeles Rams and the NFL have teamed up to address the most critical barrier to learning for Los Angeles students during the pandemic, the digital divide, by providing a $30K grant to support the work of the Partnership for Los Angeles School’s “Students Connected” program.

“Students Connected” is an innovative program designed to provide internet service for hundreds of families in Watts, South LA and Boyle Heights who face barriers to connectivity.

Through the program, the Partnership is funding high-quality broadband service at no cost to families. The grant will support the program’s outreach and enrollment efforts as well as providing internet services to low-income families.

“Solving the digital divide requires a collective response from nonprofits, government agencies, and the private sector working side by side to provide all students with the technology and internet access they need to learn,” said Ryan Smith, chief external officer at the Partnership.

“Through this funding, we will be able to scale and enroll hundreds more low-income families in communities of color who would otherwise not have access to high-speed internet at home,” Smith continued. “With the support of the NFL and the Rams, our students are able to engage with rigorous learning opportunities from home to strengthen their 21st century skills and set themselves on a path to success in college and beyond.”

More than 400 families representing all 19 Partnership schools are currently participating in the “Students Connected” program. The pilot program has resulted in 96% of internet modem activations within the first week of delivery to families. Additionally, 98 percent of families surveyed said they are satisfied with the quality of their new connection. The Partnership aims to narrow the digital divide for Los Angeles’ highest-need schools by removing the access barriers to quality home internet service.

“The Los Angeles Rams are a big believer in the work that the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools is doing to address education inequities for our students in Watts, South LA and Boyle Heights,” said Molly Higgins, vice president of community affairs and engagement, Los Angeles Rams. “We are proud to support their innovative approach to bridge the digital divide and improve student success and upward mobility during such a critical time for under-resourced students,”

The grant was part of a league wide initiative that allowed each NFL team the opportunity to provide a grant of up to $30k in funding to help address the digital divide in their communities.