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VOLT Institute Graduates Inaugural Class

MODESTO, CA — On June 27, nearly a year after opening, VOLT Institute saw the graduation of its
first class of maintenance mechanic students. VOLT Institute, a partnership of Opportunity Stanislaus
and Stanislaus County Office of Education, was started at the request of local employers looking for
skilled candidates to fill existing and future vacancies. Employers set a priority of training maintenance
mechanics, a field with widespread shortages including over 300 openings in Stanislaus County alone.
Austin Parker, 22, is one of the graduates. He credits the program with his new job at Hughson Nut,
citing the teachers, hands-on learning, and personalized pace as benefits. “VOLT was a great
opportunity,” said Parker. “It has already opened up a ton of doors for me. The instruction at VOLT
was hands-on and kept pace with students and the job placement assistance was beyond what any other
college would do. Thanks to VOLT I no longer just have a job- I have a career.”
Parker’s situation is not unique. In fact, VOLT boasts an 88% placement rate among graduates.
Opportunity Stanislaus CEO David White has been a driver of VOLT since the planning stages. “We
have come so far so fast and are excited about the momentum we’re gaining,” said White. “We have
the best equipment—machines that simulate industry facilities—and we have a team that is absolutely
committed to the success of the students. We look forward to great things.”
In addition to the 11-month Industrial Maintenance Mechanic program, VOLT also has a 3-month
Certified Production Technician program and workshops on a wide variety of business topics. Training
areas will continue to expand as the student population and capacity grows. “Stanislaus County Office
of Education has a tradition of preparing students for the workforce through education,” said Executive
Director Deb Rowe. “VOLT is a great example of multi-sector partnership training, the industry
recognized certifications through VOLT qualify student for a living wage job which affirms we are
headed in the right direction to support our community and beyond.”
VOLT Institute recently made news when it was awarded $1,000,000 in the 2018-19 California State
Budget to expand training for high-demand careers in manufacturing, one of the county’s most critical
industries. The funding will support the expansion of an education and training partnership between
Modesto Junior College (MJC), Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE), and Opportunity
Stanislaus to prepare students for jobs based on employer demand. The grant will serve as the local
match necessary for a federal United States Department of Commerce, Economic Development
Administration grant.
New classes start October 8 and continue through September 5 of 2019. For more information or to
enroll please visit www.voltinstitute.com or call 209.566.9102.

Software engineering school opens inStockton

Central Valley Business Times

August 10, 2018

  • Code Stack Academy seeks students
  • “We know firsthand the challenge in recruitment and retention of software engineers”

Stockton’s first immersive, accelerated software engineering school offering students paths to high-paying careers and source for businesses in need of highly skilled employees has opened.

The San Joaquin County Office of Education says it has officially launched “Code Stack Academy,” Stockton’s first accelerated software engineering school. The immersive  coding school provides a route for students pursuing careers in technology and will help build a community of software engineers in the region ready to meet the growing demand for a highly skilled workforce.

“Students will have opportunities to find well-paid jobs with local businesses in need of workers with software-engineering skills,” says San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools James Mousalimas.

Code Stack Academy offers a combination of hands-on workshops, one-on-one mentoring with career-experienced developers, peer-to-peer learning, and real-world project experience. It uses project-based “gamification” to measure progress and provide a fun and engaging experience. Students gain points as they complete projects. Points allow progression through the curriculum.

In addition to the full, nine-month course, Code Stack offers three-day and one-day Foundation Workshops throughout the year that teach core concepts of web development and equip students with all the basics to develop simple websites.

No previous coding experience is required for either the workshops or the academy course. Students must be 18 years or older to enroll. The first nine-month Academy Course begins in November.

Code Stack Academy will be operated through the SJCOE’s Center for Educational Development and Research, a software engineering department responsible for building web, software, or mobile apps used by over 5,000 school districts nationwide and over a dozen state agencies.

“We have the resources, curriculum, expertise, and experience to provide a broad and deep dive into software engineering,” says Johnny Arguelles, director of CEDR. “And as an employer,

we know firsthand the challenge in recruitment and retention of

software engineers.”

Business and government leaders voiced their support for the new Code Stack Academy and its potential to benefit San Joaquin County.

“Our community needs a workforce trained in technology to support growth of our current businesses and attract others to our area. This program will help to meet those needs,” says Jane Butterfield, president and chief executive officer of the Business Council of San Joaquin.

For more information:

https://codestackacademy.org/

Advance Kern incentive program aims to bolster industries throughout county

The county has been drawing attention with its new Advance Kern business incentives, and hopes to soon have companies sign up for this program, which allows eligible companies to earn tax rebates when they relocate to the county or expand their operations here.

The program is being actively marketed by the Kern Economic Development Corp., which launched a website last month.

Teresa Hitchcock, assistant county administrative officer for economic and workforce development, said that although the process of relocating business is “lengthy” and the program is still in its early stages since being voted on by the County Board of Supervisors in November, she expects to see an application soon.

“As soon as we bring an agreement to the board…you would probably see the business up and running within the next 12 months,” Hitchcock said.

Richard Chapman, president and CEO of Kern EDC, said the program has already gained some attention and could be a “game-changer” for the local economy. In a state that offers few incentives and is ranked #48 in business tax climate by the Tax Foundation, Chapman said the county has taken it into their own hands to promote business.

“This is an important part of the toolkit when you look at site selection factors,” Chapman said.

This incentive program hopes to diversify county industries from current key players like agriculture, energy and government employers such as Edwards Air Force Base.

“It’s about investment in the region, be it companies coming in, as well as companies expanding their local operations,” Chapman said.

According to an industry snapshot provided by Kern EDC, agriculture-type workers are about 20 percent of the county’s workforce. Oil, gas and mining jobs declined at an average 8.1 percent annually the last five years, although oil is now picking back up.

Hitchcock said that with the recent downturn of oil and mechanization of agriculture, the time has come to bring in new business. Companies that sign up must meet certain criteria, such as bringing in jobs that pay above a living wage.

“We want to make sure that we’re enticing people that really will impact local economy,” Hitchcock said.

Chapman called these types of employers “multipliers” that can help create additional jobs in related fields. Target industries include aerospace and defense and health care services.

Bill Deaver, a board member for the Mojave Air and Space Port and for Kern EDC, said the incentives could help to bolster aerospace, which he said is booming, but also bring in new options, especially in the eastern part of Kern County.

“The whole county needs to diversify…you can’t put all your eggs in one basket,” Deaver said.

The county also recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment to implement the East Kern Economic Diversification plan. Three county employees are being hired to work with area leaders in brining a study that was published in 2017 to fruition.

The primary goals of the plan, according to its text, are: (1) business development, (2) talent development and recruitment, (3) innovation and entrepreneurship, (4) tourism and visitor attraction, and (5) regional collaboration.

These employees would do work similar to Kern EDC, which markets Advance Kern incentives and other benefits of doing business in Kern County.

“We’ve got a lot to offer and some of the brightest people in the world,” Deaver said of eastern Kern.

The Advance Kern program also works on a case-by-case basis. Any business that applies will be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors, and a public hearing will discuss what the business can bring to the county.

Joe Rentfro, executive vice president of real estate for Tejon Ranch Company and a board member for Kern EDC, collaborated in the development of Advance Kern. He said the county was innovative in emphasizing job creation and ensuring that the incentive is not given until business is developed and benefits are reached.

From his perspective, Rentfro said, Advance Kern is already “helping to attract the interest of companies from outside the area.”

Rentfro said the program is a “safe bet” for the county, as it simply reimburses from companies’ own tax payments. He also pointed out that the policy stipulates that offsite developments must be built in an area with appropriate infrastructure and zoning, thus preventing expense to the county.

Tulare Meat Locker earns top prize at national competition

Calley Cederlof,

Aug. 1, 2018

For the second year in a row, Danny Mendes, owner of Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., took home several wins at the American Association of Meat Processors’ American Cured Meat Championships, held in Kansas City.

Except this go around, he came home with even more “hardware” to showcase at his Tulare shop.

Mendes won awards for five different meat products, one of which earned grand champion: his hot link sausage.

The sausage, which he recently dubbed the “Kansas City Red Hot” is the shop’s newest item on the menu. The sausage beat out 15 other competitors for the top spot, including a Kansas City local.

He is the first to win in the category, which was introduced this year, he said.

“I’m pretty proud of that,” Mendes said of the win. “Here I come from California and come out with grand champion.”

Danny Mendes, Tulare Meat Locker owner, took home top honors in several categories during the American Cured Meat Championships in Kansas City. His crew has been working on the selections for months.
Danny Mendes, Tulare Meat Locker owner, took home top honors in several categories during the American Cured Meat Championships in Kansas City. His crew has been working on the selections for months. (Photo: Eric Woomer/ Visalia Times-Delta,)

The hot-link is a regional item known mostly in Oklahoma and Texas, said Jon Frohling, past American Association of Meat Processors president.

“For a California boy to go down there and win that — it’s a big deal,” Frohling said. “Especially when you’re not eating it every day.”

Other awards earned by Mendes include reserve grand champions for his bone in ham and braunschweiger — a German liver sausage. His boneless ham won champion and his country dry cured bacon was crowned reserve champion.

Mendes said he is excited about the wins.

“It’s been great, especially in with the bone-in ham (category),” Mendes said. “That’s one that I’ve really been wanting to master.”

In total, Mendes brought 22 products to the event, which flew with him on the plane packed in ice.

This is only his second year at the competition. Last year, he earned grand champion for his smoked bratwurst sausage and reserve grand champion for his andouille sausage.

At the competition, products are judged on a 1,000-point scoring system. Judges score based on several factors including internal and external appearance, color, aroma and flavor — the most important of all, Frohling said.

“If you win at that show, you’ve got a great product,” he added.

Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage is one of only two shops in California to take home awards at this year’s event and is the smallest shop competing.

When he arrived home on Sunday, he was celebrated with family, friends and customers. It was also extra special, it was his birthday.

Danny Mendes, Tulare Meat Locker owner, took home top honors in several categories during the American Cured Meat Championships in Kansas City. His crew has been working on the selections for months.
Danny Mendes, Tulare Meat Locker owner, took home top honors in several categories during the American Cured Meat Championships in Kansas City. His crew has been working on the selections for months. (Photo: Eric Woomer/ Visalia Times-Delta,)

“My kids had signs that said, ‘welcome home Daddy,’ and we met up with family the next day,” Mendes said. “I got a lot of calls and texts. It was a warm welcoming for sure.”

Mendes also posted the news on Facebook, where customers and friends flooded him with congratulations messages.

“Not surprised because your meats are amazing and deserving of every one of these awards,” wrote Steven Jorgens.

Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co. offers custom butchering of livestock and fresh meat that isn’t sliced until ordered. Sausages, snack sticks, hams, tri-tip and linguica are also available.

In February, Mendes also took home 11 awards at the California Association of Meat Processors convention.

He’s already planning ahead to next summer when the national compeition will be held in Alabama.

For more information, call 688-2047 or visit the shop at 1531 E. Bardsley Ave. in Tulare.

https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2018/08/01/tulare-meat-locker-takes-home-top-prize-national-competition/872651002/

FRESNO AIRPORTS ECONOMIC IMPACT PEGGED AT $788.5M

Published On August 2, 2018 – 1:52 PM
Written By The Business Journal Staff

The Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) system, including Fresno’s Chandler Executive Airport (FCH), generates just shy of $1 billion in economic punch, according to new data.

The annual business activity report examines the revenue and jobs contribution of both airports, which are owned by the City of Fresno but operate as independent enterprises.

Some highlights from the study include:

Airport activity, including the visitor industry and non-aviation real estate tenants on airport property, brings an annual direct contribution of $788.5 million to the regional economy.

Employment at both airports generates 9,307 direct, induced, and indirect jobs in the Fresno area.

Business revenue including salaries, purchases and taxes, and including the visitor industry and non-aviation real estate tenants on airport property, totals $559.8 million annually.

Re-sending and Consumption, which regards the purchase and services of goods produced locally, generated $228.7 million annually.

Out of the $788.5 million, business and tourism visitors arriving through FAT spend $184.2 million annually in the region.

Since the Great Recession in 2010, FAT has grown 36 percent in passenger traffic, and in the first half of this year, has experienced a 12.7 percent increase in passenger volume.

“As a major driver of regional economic activity and jobs, it is important that we invest in the future and plan for the continued growth of both airports,” said Director of Aviation Kevin Meikle. “The completion of Master Plan Updates for both airports will provide the framework to ensure future travel needs are met to further support a growing and prosperous economy for the region.”

https://thebusinessjournal.com/fresno-airports-economic-impact-pegged-at-788-5m/

City of Tehachapi approves permits for Walmart construction

TEHACHAPI — The city of Tehachapi finalized and approved building permits Tuesday with Eleven Western Builders, Inc., clearing the path for construction of the new Walmart store to begin next week.

City officials gathered in the city hall annex with Eleven Western Builder’s Superintendent Craig Stewart for the start of what City Manager Greg Garrett called “the next chapter in the Walmart book.”

The process of getting the new Walmart has been going on for about nine years due to legal hurdles and the process of contracts and permits, said city Development Services Director Jay Schlosser.

Now that permits are complete, Eleven Western Builders can begin construction July 30 with the intent of finishing by spring 2019. The company, Stewart said, is familiar with building in small towns and recently constructed a new Walmart store in Ridgecrest.

“I couldn’t be happier,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Susan Wiggins.

Schlosser said the 12-month construction time frame seems reasonable, especially considering the impacts that winter weather may have on the project.

Schlosser and Garrett both said the city has a partnership with the construction company to help see the project through, and that more shopping opportunities should be coming down the road.

You can watch for dirt and construction equipment to soon begin moving around the lot on Tucker Road and Tehachapi Boulevard.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/city-of-tehachapi-approves-permits-for-walmart-construction/article_dbeabb5e-8f96-11e8-a937-8b822f3767d2.html

Cannabis operation holds groundbreaking in Mendota

Inside an old packing shed on the outskirts of Mendota, a new cannabis operation is moving in, hoping to revitalize the space and the town’s economy.

“While so many have doubted us, I knew we could pull this off,” said Tim McGraw, the CEO of Canna-Hub.

Allowing this massive commercial marijuana business to move in wasn’t easy. It took months of city council meetings and convincing skeptical families.

On Thursday, Canna-Hub finally broke ground on the 16-acre property.

“You got to take some chances in this world, and that’s what the city of Mendota did,” said Mendota city councilmember Robert Silva.

The company itself won’t be growing marijuana. It’s leasing out nine spaces for operators to manufacture or distribute. Tenants can do anything, except for selling marijuana and operating outdoor grows.

“We are about a third already committed, leased out. Pretty good pipeline of very good operators to take the rest of the space,” said Jonathan Charak with Canna-Hub.

The company has promised to generate about 100 jobs. The operation will also bring in about $800,000 to Mendota per year.

“Our general fund is a little above $6 million right now, so $800,000 is a great 17 percent, 18 percent increase, which is a big deal. When it comes to public safety you can never have too much,” said Matt Flood, the Economic Development manager of Mendota.

The money is expected to roll in right away. Canna-Hub expects operators to move into the facility in the next 90 days.

Faraday Future occupies Hanford factory

  • Updated 
Faraday Future Vidak
Senator Andy Vidak shakes hands with YT Jia, founder and global CEO of Faraday Future, at the company’s Hanford facility.

ANFORD — In another milestone for Faraday Future, the electric car company announced July 16 it was awarded a temporary certificate of occupancy for its Hanford factory.

The temporary certificate of occupancy is the first step in final approval required from building and safety inspectors before a new occupant can fully take over a site or structure, move in and start its intended activities full-time as a running business.

This latest development intends to keep the company holding on to its ambitious schedule to start production on its first product by the end of 2018, an electric luxury car called the FF 91.

The lease for the old Pirelli tire plant, a 1-million square foot site in Hanford’s Industrial Park, was signed in August 2017, with major cleanup and infrastructural preparation continuing through this summer. A building permit from the city was given in early June and contractor Bernards signed to lead the construction project.

At the Hanford City Council meeting on July 17, Community Development Director Darlene Mata said parts for over 80 cars to be made have been shipped into the factory.

Mata thanked her staff for all their hard work, especially chief building inspector Tom Webb, who she said walked Faraday Future through the entire process and made sure the inspections were performed.

“It was a team effort,” Mata said. “It was a huge achievement to get them that [certificate] in such a short amount of time and we look forward to continuing that relationship.”

Mata also commended the Faraday Future officials, saying they were collaborative, easy to work with and were always gracious and willing to work with the city toward finding solutions if something wasn’t working out.

Dag Reckhorn, Faraday Future’s senior vice president of manufacturing, said the temporary certificate of occupancy is a step forward and will allow for the ramp-up of assembly for the FF 91 prototypes in the most finished part of the Hanford site.

“The team effort here from all participants to get to this point is indicative of the spirit of this entire project and company,” Reckhorn said in a released statement.

Ayers said the city is appreciative that Faraday Future chose Hanford to produce the advanced automobile.

“The commitment Faraday Future has made to Hanford is matched only by Hanford’s commitment to the company,” Ayers said. “We anticipate a long and mutually-beneficial relationship.”

In turn, Jia said he was impressed by the city’s partnership and commitment with the shared goal of building the FF 91.

“This is a positive step toward delivering our first production vehicle on time,” Jia said in a released statement. “We are grateful for Hanford officials’ partnership in making the [Faraday Future] Hanford factory a top priority.”

Jia said Hanford’s location between Southern California and the Bay Area has several benefits, including being ideal for deliveries. He said city officials have been very collaborative and he’s pleased to be able to bring jobs and add revenue to the area.

“It is exciting for me as an entrepreneur to begin with this small step in building my dream of creating the next-generation mobility products that will change the way people view transportation,” Jia said.

Following the temporary certificate of occupancy, and as aspects of construction move ahead while building the initial prototype cars at the factory, Faraday Future is set to apply for the conditional certificate of occupancy and then the final certificate of occupancy for the first FF 91s.

Faraday Future hopes to create over 1,000 new jobs in the area when it reaches full operating capacity.

https://hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/faraday-future-occupies-hanford-factory/article_03346e86-6c5f-5d30-a2ae-1e57f31182df.html#tracking-source=home-top-story

Fresno Food Expo opens with plenty of fancy food, drink and new name