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The Weekly Wrap: Philly Drops Bachelor’s Degree Requirement for City Jobs

Also: electric buses, Washington’s cap and trade referendum and more!

(Photo by Thomas Hawk / CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Welcome to The Weekly Wrap, our Friday round up of stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice.

Philadelphia Mayor Moves to Eliminate Bachelor’s Degree Requirement For City Jobs

Philadelphia’s newly-elected Mayor Cherelle L. Parker signed an executive order that will eventually remove the requirement of a bachelor’s degree for certain city jobs, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. As less than 34% of Philadelphia’s adult population has a bachelor’s degree, the move is intended to diversify the city’s workforce and is part of the mayor’s 100-Day Action Plan. Mayor Parker’s order directs city agencies to examine which jobs should have such requirements removed although a commission will have to approve some of the changes.

30-Day and 60-Day Shelter Limits for NYC’s Migrants Create Chaos

As new rules in New York City impose a 30-day shelter limit for single adult migrants and a 60-day limit for families, Gothamist reports that it’s already led to single adults sleeping in cars outside one of the city’s intake shelters. About 40 migrant families with children were also kicked out of shelters on Tuesday, and under the new guidelines, they’ll have to reapply for a place to sleep at the city’s intake shelter. It means that children will have to be shuffled around to different school districts every few months. Critics, including former city council speaker Christine Quinn, have said that the purpose of the rule is intimidation. Several recent migrants from Venezuela who were kicked out of shelter told Gothamist they are relocating to Philadelphia. New York City has 66,000 migrants in its shelter system, the Adams administration said.

Also…in her State of the State speech, Governor Kathy Hochul made no mention of Good Cause eviction protections that advocates have been pushing for years, City Limits reports. But she did announce a new unit to combat discrimination against Section 8 voucher holders, a rampant problem across the country.

Biden Administration Funds Clean Buses and EV Charging Network

The Biden administration announced $1 billion in grants to replace diesel-fueled school buses with more environmentally-friendly alternatives, including electric buses, the Washington Post reports. The funds will go toward the purchase of 2,700 cleaner buses in 280 school districts serving 7 million children. The money comes from $5 billion allocated in the 2021 Inflation Reduction Act for cleaner buses. Of the recipients, 85% will be in low-income, tribal, and rural school districts. An internal watchdog group within the Environmental Protection Agency cautioned some districts may not immediately have the infrastructure to accommodate a fleet of electric buses.

The Biden administration has also awarded $623 million for 47 electric vehicle charging projects, the AP reports. The money will fund a total of 7,500 new charging ports around the nation.

Successful Washington Cap and Trade Law Faces Ballot Showdown

A 2021 cap-and-trade law in Washington state could be eliminated through a ballot referendum that voters may face in November, Grist reports. Since its implementation, the law has generated over $2 billion for climate initiatives and will limit greenhouse emissions. The state still needs to verify signatures for the ballot petition, but the referendum, organized by a hedge fund manager, would also ban any future cap-and-trade laws from being enacted. The 2021 Climate Commitment Act brought many benefits, including free light transit rides for children in Seattle, but some voters are angry that the price of gas has skyrocketed to an average of $4.91 per gallon in June 2023, the highest price in the country at the time.

Black Farmers Face Land Theft Have Trouble Getting Redress from Government

Capital B News interviewed attorney and advocate Jillian Hishaw, who helps represent Black farmers who had their land seized or stolen. Hishaw is also helping applicants with the Discrimination Financial Assistance Program, created by the Inflation Reduction Act to compensate farmers for discrimination faced while applying for USDA loans. But Hishaw says that the program is flawed because it requires farmers to sign away their right to appeal and due process in the event their application is denied. “I want people to understand that, when you sign this, just read the fine print. There’s no guarantee that you’re gonna get money, and if you do get money, there’s no set amount,” Hishaw told Capital B.

Curated by Aysha Khan


  • San Francisco has become the largest U.S. city to back a ceasefire in Gaza. Truthout

  • New York City manipulated public data and hid the realities of homelessness crisis for years, investigation finds. New York Times

  • Low-income households could benefit most from clean energy upgrades but often don’t have access to financing or government incentives. New York Times
  • As ‘mansion taxes’ catch on in U.S. cities, Los Angeles offers lessons. CityLab

  • Outdoor workers are at risk even on “cooler” summer days, study finds. Smart Cities Dive

  • Why is decades of progress in cars’ fuel efficiency ending? The Washington Post


  • The Partnership for Southern Equity launched Just Communities today. The initiative will amplify the organization’s efforts to promote a “Just Growth” urban development model throughout the American South and create a new national footprint for urban development. Learn more about it here.

  • AARP just launched its 2024 AARP Community Challenge grant program to fund quick-action projects to help communities become more livable by improving public places, transportation, housing, digital connections, and more. Local nonprofits and governments are invited to apply here.

  • The CIHR Healthy Cities Research Initiative is accepting applications for a workshop in Copenhagen on implementing urban policy for healty cities. Applications for the Fall 2024 workshop close Feb. 1; apply here.


  • The Right to Counsel Coalition in New York State will host its 2024 State of Evictions Forum on Jan. 17 in Albany. The forum will also be livestreamed on social media. Learn more here.

  • The Canada Housing and Renewal Association is holding a webinar on housing affordability and missing middle housing on Jan. 24. Register here.

  • The Next City team is planning events throughout 2024. Be on the lookout for them on our event page here!

This article is part of The Weekly Wrap, a newsletter rounding up stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice. Click here to subscribe to The Weekly Wrap newsletter.

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Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.

Tags: new york cityphiladelphiaelectric vehicleswashington

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