100% Austin news, info, and entertainment, straight to your inbox at 6 a.m. every morning.
In five minutes, you're fully informed and ready to start another great day in our city.
Mela Sarajane Dailey, founder of Austin Artists Project, was selected to serve under the Biden-Harris administration's Presidential Task Force on the Arts and Humanities.
On the task force, she will work to create more representation for the arts. Her appointment is consistent with the goal of the Biden-Harris administration to ensure at least half of new appointments are women, people of color, people with disabilities or LGBTQIA.
Since the pandemic began, Dailey's local organization has given out more than $100,000 in artist grants and has organized virtual, outdoor and drive-in concerts for local musicians. The local non-profit works with underserved artists to overcome social and economic injustices through funding assistance.
Dailey has had a 17-year-long career in the arts to date—her professional career began at Carnegie hall in 2003. In 2014, she became a Grammy winner with choral ensemble Conspirare. Apart from music, she has worked in film, television and radio as well.
As she moves into the role upon Biden's inauguration tomorrow, Dailey told KXAN she hopes she can work more permanently with the new administration to continue advocating for change on a national level.
More on Biden administration:
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that Texas will opt out of further federal unemployment benefits related to the pandemic effective June 26, citing the number of current job openings and concern about potentially fraudulent unemployment claims. The benefits include a $300 weekly supplement.
"The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring communities across the state," Abbott said in a statement. "According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment jobs."
TWC listed 837,273 job openings as of Monday afternoon compared to 226,849 unemployment insurance claims filed statewide between March 31 and May 1. An estimated 1 million Texans were unemployed as of March, according to latest estimates released by the state agency.
Some local business owners, including Doc's Backyard Grill owner Charles Milligan, suspect unemployment benefits are deterring Austinites from returning to work. But others agree with economists who say multiple factors are at play, including health concerns and child care availability.
We're seeing lots of posts about how nobody wants to work right now. Just wanted to share our experience.
We received over 60 resumes for a taproom bartender position we posted last week. Every applicant we've set up an interview with has shown up.
People want 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 work.
— Austin Beerworks (@AustinBeerworks) May 11, 2021
Abbott also cited fraudulent unemployment claims. Between March 2020 and April 2021, TWC received 4.48 million unemployment benefit applications, 611,000 or around 14% of which were tagged as suspicious. Most of those tagged were blocked before any benefits were paid out, according to an April 29 press release.
Federal law requires the effective date of such benefits change to be at least 30 days after the U.S. Department of Labor is notified.
- Reopening Austin offices plan for one-way foot traffic, sanitizing ... ›
- Buc-ee's avoids national workers shortage with benefits - austonia ›
- Austin restaurants struggle to hire workers after pandemic year ... ›
Is it just us, or is the current Austin mask situation confusing? Are we supposed to wear a mask or not, and where? And should we wear one anyway, even if not requested or required?
Austin health orders requiring masks expire Tuesday. What then?
Take our three-question quiz, and tell us what you're thinking.