Newsom budget includes $15 million for UC Merced, Valley medical education

Newsom budget includes $15 million for UC Merced, Valley medical education

BY ABBIE LAUTEN-SCRIVNER

JANUARY 18, 2020 06:00 AM

A building lighting ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the University of California, Merced 2020 Project on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. 

The Central Valley’s physician deficiency may get a needed boost from the proposed 2020-21 California budget.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s suggested budget offers $15 million in ongoing funding to expand medical education at UC San Francisco School of Medicine Fresno Branch Campus in collaboration with UC Merced.

“With the unwavering leadership of Assemblymember Adam Gray and his colleagues in our legislative delegation, UC Merced and UCSF Fresno have fierce advocates working with us to improve access to health care in our region,” said Cori Lucero, UC Merced’s executive director of governmental and community relations, in an emailed statement.

As part of the state’s general fund, the investments would improve access to healthcare in California’s most underserved regions, according to the Governor’s Budget Summary.

“The Central Valley continues to have some of the lowest numbers of doctors per capita in the state, and the need will only increase as existing physicians retire,” said Assemblymember Adam Gray, D-Merced, in a news release.

The proposal kicks off months of negotiations between Newsom’s office and the Legislature. UC Merced will work with Gray and Newsom as the budget process unfolds into spring, Lucero said.

The University of California is requesting $433 million in ongoing funding and $475 million in one-time funding for the 2020-21 budget, according to a budget request approved by UC regents in November. With Newsom’s proposed budget release, Lucero said there may be modifications.

A revised state budget will be released in May. Newsom and lawmakers have until June 15 to pass it ahead of the new fiscal year’s start on July 1.

“This investment will allow more students to train to become doctors right here in the Valley, and it will directly increase access to care in our community – one of my top priorities during my time in the Legislature,” Gray said in the release.

GRAY, UNIVERSITY LEADERS PUSH FOR UC MERCED MEDICAL SCHOOL

Gray currently has two pending bills in the Legislature related to Valley health. One seeks to extend clinic hours, while the other proposes building a medical school at UC Merced.

A UC Merced medical school has been contemplated for many years. The university was approved to start plans in 2008, but stalled.

Momentum may be building again. In October Gray convened the San Joaquin Valley Coalition for Medical Education in Modesto to discuss the possibility. Executives from UC Merced and UCSF Fresno, staff members of California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, as well as other politicians and medical community members met to hash out what the plan would realistically take.

Interim Chancellor Nathan Brostrom said in a December interview with the Sun-Star that medical education will be the university’s highest priority within the next decade.

“The long-term hope is that UC Merced would be able to take on those foundation courses that are currently being delivered by the UCSF main campus,” Lucero said.

Expansion of UCSF Fresno and UC Merced programs would cost between $20 million to $25 million. Local residency programs would need to be expanded to keep the growing number of graduates in the Valley.

UC Merced would also have to go through an accreditation process for the medical curriculum, in addition to hiring more staff, Lucero said. All is contingent upon availability of funding resources

https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/article239253088.html

Business landscape looks bright for Shafter

January 9, 2020 | View PDF

Courtesy Wonderful Company

The Walmart distribution center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020.

The City of Shafter has been enjoying a reputation of being one of the fastest growing cities in business in recent years, attracting such companies as Target, Ross and several other big retailers.

The most recent addition is Walmart, which is scheduled to open the most technologically advanced distribution center in the nation in Shafter in the fall of 2020.

Bob Meadows, business development director for the city, says Shafter is a sought-after destination for businesses, large and small.

“We have several irons in the fire. This year should see the city continue to build on this success and make 2020 a special one.”

Financially, the city has been touted as one of the most financially sound cities in the state. Meadows said that since he joined the city last year, he has become aware of the great reputation the city has in Kern County, as well as in the state of California.

A big draw for the city, Meadows says, is the willingness of the city to work with potential developers and retailers, as well as the technological advantages Shafter has. “Having the city connected through our fiber optic lines throughout the city has been a great benefit.”

Looking forward into 2020, Meadows said that the biggest item on the agenda so far is the opening of the Walmart facility. This will mean over 200 jobs for the community, with about a third of the jobs STEM-related – tied to science, technology, engineering and mathematics — with the other two-thirds general laborers.

“We are excited to see how many of the jobs are going to go to Shafter residents, which will mean the dollars staying here locally,” commented Meadows.

Another exciting development for 2020 is the growing relationship between the city and the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The KCHCC has been very beneficial to county and its businesses, Meadows said, with a good many of businesses working with the chamber enrich the local communities.

In addition to the contacts that are made with a relationship with the chamber, they also have made a big impact on local businesses with holding their business academies. The academy is a 12-week program that helps small local businesses learn how to operate successfully, as well as how to market their products and services, and get their companies out in the community. “We are looking forward to the possibility of holding a business academy right here in Shafter for our local businesses,” said Meadows.

As far as new businesses on the horizon, Meadows said that there has been a lot of interest in several locations throughout the city, including the property at Central Avenue and Central Valley Highway that used to house Brookside Deli. “We have a couple of people that are very interested in the property, and they both are food-related, which is good because the property already is equipped to house a food establishment,” Meadows said.

He said that they also have had discussions about different businesses coming to Shafter, including a veterinarian, additional automotive service businesses, a drive-thru car wash and additional medical clinics. “Rural medicine is a big issue in our economy, with a lot of people looking for affordable healthcare,” Meadows said.

The city was the recipient of surplus of sales tax revenue last year. This unexpected development was the result of a large number of customers who ordered products online this year.

Retailer William Sonoma paid the city a large amount of sales tax money that was not forecast. “A lot of people ordered online this last year,” said Meadows, “which was very nice for us.”

Meadows said that the businesses at the Wonderful Logistics Park do amazing things when it comes to business relationships across the state and the United States, but there is not a lot of actual income that is produced out there.

“The difference in the William Sonoma retailer and retailers like Target and Ross is that for the online ordering, the sale is actually in the city of Shafter. With the distribution centers, the sales are not done here, the product is just shipped to and from a location, so the sales tax money goes to the city where the sale actually takes place.”

In addition to the Hispanic Chamber, the city also has been in contact with the Small Business Development Center in Bakersfield for a possible workshop in the near future. The group, based out of Cal State Bakersfield, held a workshop this last year that was well attended and gave local business owners valuable information about how to grow your business, including marketing and creating a presence on social media, as well as how to go about financing a business venture.

“What we are looking at would build on that workshop, becoming a regular meeting that would be set up for our small businesses who may need advice on how to operate their business, as well as getting them in contact with the correct people and agencies to further their success,” Meadows said.

“The business landscape is looking up for Shafter when it comes to all phases of the business arena,” Meadows concluded.

https://www.theshafterpress.com/story/2020/01/09/news/business-landscape-looks-bright-for-city/1204.html

New warehouses, hotels, restaurants coming to Visalia’s Industrial Park

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) — Rod Jurbina remembers a time, perhaps just 15 years ago, when there wasn’t much to see in parts of Visalia’s industrial park.

At the time, he was working for a gas company.

“We put in a four-inch plastic gas main in there and I was asking myself, ‘I wonder why they need this here because there’s really nothing out here for now,'” Jurbina said. “And now look what it’s developed into.”

In a January economic update, city employees describe an industrial park that is growing substantially. The reason for the growth?

The city says it’s multiple factors, including the cost and availability of land, Visalia’s central location in the state, and the expansion of the UPS’ ground hub at this massive facility at Riggin Avenue and Plaza Drive.

The city expects UPS will add another 250 jobs but predicts it will also spur new development and more jobs.

“So now other companies that are in that kind of a business model will now look at Visalia, and say ‘Hey, we can service the state, we can go south, we can go north, one-shift kind of thing,'” Visalia Councilmember Steve Nelsen said.

Millipore Sigma, an east-coast based life-sciences company, is now up and running in their west coast distribution center on Riggin Avenue.

The city says construction will start soon on even more massive warehouses in that area.

Closer to the freeway, in the business research park, a large new development has been proposed with space for offices, stores, and a park in the middle.

A Residence Inn recently opened across the street, and two more hotels are planned.

Jurbina, who now works in the industrial park, is supportive of its rapid expansion.

More people will have jobs, he says, and the city will benefit by way of tax revenue.

“Any time there’s growth, there’s always a good opportunity for everybody,” he said.

The industrial park is getting close to meeting its current growth boundary established in 2013.

On Thursday night, the Visalia planning commission and city councilmembers will consider moving it into another tier where more land could be developed.

Renewable natural gas producer announces Pixley expansion

PIXLEY – Calgren Dairy Fuels and Southern California Gas Co. today announced four additional Central Valley dairies have started sending methane produced from cow manure to Calgren’s biogas operation in Pixley, where it’s processed into renewable natural gas (RNG) and injected into SoCalGas’ system. 

The Calgren facility now collects methane— a potent greenhouse gas that would otherwise escape to the atmosphere and contribute to climate change — from more than 66,000 cows at 10 area dairy farms. The additional dairies are projected to nearly double the amount of RNG produced at the facility, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions and displacing more traditional natural gas. Calgren partnered with Maas Energy Works to develop these four new dairy digesters as well as the previous six dairy digesters that have been operating since 2018.

“Over the last five years, renewable natural gas use in the transportation sector has grown by almost 600 percent,” said Sharon Tomkins, SoCalGas vice president and chief environmental officer. “We’re looking to build on that success by delivering more renewable energy options to our customers, including renewable natural gas produced at farms, hydrogen made from surplus solar energy, and advanced fuel cell systems that can provide energy in extreme weather events. Each of these technologies will be essential to promoting the long-term reliability of our energy systems and to meeting California’s ambitious climate goals affordably.”

“Calgren is leading efforts in California on this front, working with both dairies and SoCalGas to mitigate emissions,” said Lyle Schlyer, president of Calgren Renewable Fuels. “This facility alone will eventually capture methane produced from the manure of more than 75,000 cows, preventing about 130,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of taking more than 25,000 passenger cars off the road annually.”

Renewable natural gas can rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) because it takes more climate pollution out of the air than it emits as an energy source. The RNG produced at Calgren’s facility today is used as a carbon-negative fuel for heavy-duty vehicles like transit buses and long-haul trucks. RNG can also be delivered to customers to generate clean electricity and heat homes and businesses. Last year, SoCalGas committed to delivering 20 percent of the natural gas it buys for homes and businesses from renewable sources by 2030.

More than 80 percent of all methane emissions in California come from organic sources like wastewater treatment plants, landfills, food and green waste and farms. In California, a 2016 law requires a 40 percent reduction of methane emissions from waste sources such as landfills and dairies, with provisions to deliver that energy to customers.

The law is expected to bolster the supply of RNG that’s already growing rapidly as cities and towns across the country look to divert organic waste from landfills. Scientists at the University of California, Davis estimate the state’s existing waste could produce enough RNG to meet the needs of 2.3 million homes. Nationally, a just-released study by ICF estimates 4,450 Trillion Btus of renewable natural gas will be available by 2040, about 90 percent of the nation’s current residential natural gas consumption.

RNG is already helping eliminate emissions from trucks and buses. Over the last five years, RNG use as a transportation fuel has increased 577 percent, helping displace more than seven million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (how GHG emissions are measured). That’s equal to the emissions from more than a million homes’ electricity use for one year.

Research shows replacing about 20 percent of California’s traditional natural gas supply with RNG would lower emissions equal to retrofitting every building in the state to run on electric only energy and at a fraction of the cost. Using RNG in buildings can be two to three times less expensive than any all-electric strategy and doesn’t require families or businesses to purchase new appliances or take on costly construction projects.

In recent years, energy providers across the country and around the world are capturing methane emissions — from farms, wastewater treatment plants, and landfills — to create renewable energy that displaces traditional natural gas. For example:

Dominion Energy and Vanguard Renewables recently announced a $200 million partnership that includes RNG projects in five states, with additional projects planned nationwide.

CR&R, a waste management company in Southern California is using green waste diverted from landfills to make RNG being injected into SoCalGas’ pipelines.

UPS last year agreed to purchase 170 million gallon equivalents of RNG through 2026, the largest commitment for use of RNG thus far by any U.S. company.

French utility Engie plans to switch all of its gas operations to biogas and renewable hydrogen by 2050.

SoCalGas is also working to build on RNG’s success in the transportation sector here by making it available to fuel the homes of the company’s 21 million customers across Southern California. Earlier this year, SoCalGas’ committed to replace 20 percent of its traditional natural gas supply with renewable natural gas (RNG) by 2030 – as part of a broad, inclusive and integrated plan to help achieve California’s ambitious climate goals.

To kickstart the plan, SoCalGas is pursuing regulatory authority to implement a broad renewable natural gas procurement program with a goal of replacing five percent of its natural gas supply with RNG by 2022. SoCalGas also recently filed a request with the CPUC to allow customers to purchase renewable natural gas for their homes.

https://www.recorderonline.com/news/renewable-natural-gas-producer-announces-pixley-expansion/article_f07bf676-37ad-11ea-8e19-bbed0fe791c1.html

Lowe’s to hire more than 53,000 for spring season

Central Valley Business TImes

Jan. 3, 2020

  • Stores to host hiring events starting January 8
  • Full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs available

Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) says it plans to hire more than 53,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal workers across its more than 1,700 U.S. stores this spring.

The company says it will roll out hiring events in all store locations over the next three months by region to meet the seasonal spring hiring needs across the country. Lowe’s stores in Southern California, where spring weather typically arrives earliest, will host the first walk-in hiring events from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 8. Candidates may receive on-the-spot offers during this open interview process, the company says. Additional hiring events at stores in the remaining U.S. regions are scheduled for January 15; February 5; February 19 and March 4.

“Spring is the busiest season for home improvement projects and a great time to launch a new career at Lowe’s,” says Jennifer Weber, Lowe’s executive vice president, human resources. “As part of our strategy to … operate our stores more efficiently, these hiring events will help us build the right teams at the right times across the U.S. to meet customer demand as they plan for spring.”

Available in-store seasonal positions include cashiers, lawn and garden associates, stockers and loaders. All hourly associates are eligible to participate in Lowe’s quarterly bonus program. Seasonal positions typically support stores through the summer. In 2019, approximately 50 percent of seasonal hires were converted to permanent associates.

Full-time and part-time year-round positions are also ,available and include department supervisors, cashiers, ,stockers, sales specialists, pro customer service employees and merchandise service workers. Full-time and part-time employees can take advantage of Lowe’s comprehensive health and wellness benefits, incentive programs, 401(k), a discounted stock purchase plan, tuition reimbursement and paid volunteer time.

Lowe’s also offers Track to the Trades, a company-funded certification program to help part-time and full-time associates pursue careers in the skilled trades, such as plumbing, electrical or HVAC.

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/07649bd0-625b-46c6-be6a-3726dfa5766a.pdf

Valley firm acquired by high-tech giant

 

  • OakGate Technology picked by Teledyne
  • “Teledyne LeCroy and OakGate serve similar customers ranging from silicon device suppliers to cloud storage operators”

Teledyne Technologies Incorporated (NYSE: TDY) of Thousand Oaks says its subsidiary, Teledyne LeCroy Inc., has acquired OakGate Technology Inc., which is based in the Sacramento suburb of Loomis.

OakGate makes software and hardware designed to test electronic data storage devices from development through manufacturing and end-use applications. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Teledyne LeCroy sells protocol analyzers for a wide range of digital communications standards, such as universal serial bus (USB), peripheral component interconnect express (pci express) and gigabit ethernet (GigE), that aid developers in finding and fixing persistent and intermittent errors and flaws in their product design. OakGate makes complementary software and hardware primarily focused on the test, validation and operating performance of solid state electronic storage media. Both companies’ tools are widely used across the semiconductor, data center and consumer electronics industries.

“Teledyne LeCroy and OakGate serve similar customers ranging from silicon device suppliers to cloud storage operators,” says Robert Mehrabian, executive chairman of Teledyne. “The acquisition of OakGate allows Teledyne to provide a complete set of software and hardware used from the design of new data storage devices to the use of such devices in hyperscale cloud storage networks.”

CEO at Foster Farms in Livingston talks about its future. New wing flavors are in it

Dan Huber looks to the future as CEO at Foster Farms. He aims for sustainable practices in the decades ahead at the Livingston-based poultry company. And he hopes the new line of chicken wings will please Super Bowl viewers early next month.

Huber took over in February 2019 at Foster Farms, the top-selling poultry brand in the West. About 12,000 employees process turkey in Turlock and chicken in Livingston, Fresno, Porterville and four plants in the Northwest and South.

Huber, 55, talked about consumer trends, food safety, sustainability and other topics in a mid-December interview in Livingston. He has worked since 1996 for the company, founded near Waterford by Max and Verda Foster in 1939.

“Our commitment to the Valley has been as strong as ever,” Huber said. “The 80-year celebration of this company has been exciting for all of us.”

Foster Farms sells chicken and turkey in hundreds of forms. Some of it is fresh whole birds or parts, with nothing added. Shoppers also can find marinated meat, frozen and breaded items, deli slices, corn dogs and much more.

FREE-RANGE LAUNCH

Huber’s first few months featured the launch of a line of free-range chicken, from birds that have access to the outdoors. Conventional chickens and turkeys live entirely indoors but still have room to move about.

Free-range came four years after Foster Farms entered the organic and antibiotic-free niches.

The food industry this year has seen a boom in meatless burgers and other plant-based versions of carnivore fare. Huber said Foster Farms will not go that far, but will still respond to the trend. Its Farm & Garden chicken patties will contain vegetables and whole grains along with meat.

“It’s not really replacing poultry per se,” Huber said. “It’s adding to the consumer’s basket, if you will.”

The new chicken wing line is called Take Out Crispy Wings, the name suggesting that they’re as tasty as those from places such as Buffalo Wild Wings. Fosters Farms sells them in four flavors: Classic Buffalo, Sweet Chipotle BBQ, Sweet Thai Chili and Korean BBQ.

FOOD SAFETY

The CEO also oversees food-safety measures that were tightened after a salmonella outbreak in 2013. It was traced to the Livingston plant and two chicken plants in Fresno.

Huber said Foster Farms keeps the products safe with intensive sanitation and testing every step of the way.

“We do 400,000-some tests a year, tracking through the farm and through into the plants, maintaining our tight food-safety requirements,” he said.

Salmonella occurs naturally in chickens. Huber reminded consumers that it is rendered harmless by cooking to at least 165 degrees and washing up after handling the raw product.

SUSTAINABLE POULTRY

Foster Farms does not have any expansion plans that will boost its workforce substantially, Huber said. He did note upcoming improvements in Turlock that will streamline the deboning of turkey. And the company is upgrading the part of the Livingston site that supplies restaurants and other food-service clients.

Huber noted Foster Farms’ part in reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change. This will include more efficient burning of natural gas in plant boilers. Refrigerated trucks will be powered by electricity rather than diesel while sitting in the plant yards.

Not in the works for now are electric trucks on the road, something just launched at Frito-Lay in Modesto.

Most of Foster Farms’ poultry feed is corn and soy shipped from the Midwest by rail, which has less impact than trucks.

Huber took over from Laura Flanagan, who had been CEO since 2016. He has held several other posts there, most recently chief operating officer. He also had sales and management positions with Oscar Meyer and Kraft Foods. He has a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

https://www.modbee.com/news/business/agriculture/article238340623.html?

Valley Children’s Earns 2019 Leapfrog Top Children’s Hospital Award For Outstanding Quality And Safety

12.17.2019
Valley Children’s Earns 2019 Leapfrog Top Children’s Hospital Award for Outstanding Quality and Safety

(Madera, California) –Valley Children’s was named a Top Children’s Hospital in the nation by The Leapfrog Group for its excellence in patient safety and quality of care. The Top Children’s Hospital award is one of the most competitive honors American hospitals can receive and Valley Children’s is one out of only 10 children’s hospitals in the country that achieved this honor.

“Every family who entrusts Valley Children’s to care for their children expects the safest, highest quality care. And we have set the expectation for ourselves to deliver the nation’s best, safest and highest quality care right here in the Central Valley,” says Valley Children’s President and CEO Todd Suntrapak. “This award is a testament to the capabilities, dedication and commitment of our entire staff – and is yet another reason why Valley Children’s is the best place for children’s healthcare in the region.”

To qualify for the Top Hospital distinction, hospitals must rank at the top among peers in the 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which assesses hospital performance on the highest known standards for quality and patient safety.

“Quality and patient safety is at the heart everything we do and I am proud of the superior results of Valley Children’s,” says Dr. David Christensen, Valley Children’s senior vice president of medical affairs and chief physician executive. “It requires the commitment of every single clinical and non-clinical member of our team to deliver this level of care to children in the Central Valley.”

Performance measures — based on rigorous standards across many areas of hospital care – are considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including pediatric care, infection rates, practices for safer surgery and the hospital’s capacity to prevent medication errors. With scores in the top 6% across the nation for Top Children’s Hospitals, Valley Children’s exceptional performance on these quality and patient safety metrics is clearly recognized by this achievement.

“We are pleased to recognize Valley Children’s as a 2019 Leapfrog Top Children’s Hospital,” says Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “This demonstrates extraordinary dedication to children in the Central Valley. We congratulate the board, staff and clinicians whose efforts made this honor possible and know they share pride in this achievement.”

The Valley Children’s Quality and Patient Safety team will travel to Washington D.C. to receive this award at an event hosted by The Leapfrog Group this evening.

 

This California Farm Town Is Launching Startups Faster Than Seattle, Boston, and the Bay Area

By Guadalupe Gonzalez Staff reporter
Knowing little English, Rosibel Hurst came to the U.S. from Honduras dreaming of a medical career. She translated her nursing coursework using English-Spanish dictionaries. In 2018, Hurst’s Bakersfield beauty startup made $2 million–which gave her the courage to quit the full-time nursing job she’d kept to support her five-yearold company. “I’m finally going all in,” she says. “I’ll build the business every day and see where it takes me.”
KAYLA REEFER

Once a recurring punch line in Johnny Carson’s monologues, the agriculture-and-oil town of Bakersfield, California–home to the country’s most prolific carrot farm–is not the most obvious example of a West Coast startup hub.

But the Central Valley city, population 400,000, has vaulted onto this year’s Surge Cities list by outperforming 46 other metro areas–including the Bay Area, Boston, and Seattle–in net job and business creation in the past year.

“Incredible things are happening here,” says Irma Olguin Jr., co-founder and CEO of Bitwise Industries, a Fresno-based tech academy and software startup that’s helped create about 1,000 jobs in the area. It’s opening a Bakersfield location in 2020. “We’re seeing validation from VCs and investment banks, and there is a momentum around local revitalization.”

According to Anna Smith, co-founder of local real estate firm Sage Equities, this Bakersfield boom has been helped by entrepreneurial Millennials who’ve returned home from more expensive cities. They’re finding a growing tech community, bolstered by events like the 59-day hackathon led by nonprofit 59DaysofCode.

Maria Coward’s 27-year-old restaurant, La Costa Mariscos, serves authentic Puerto Vallartan seafood dishes in the city’s historic Ice House Building. She recently opened a second location across town.KAYLA REEFER

Latinx founders, whose ranks swelled by 36 percent from 2007 to 2012 in Bakersfield, have also been essential to the city’s evolution. Today, approximately three of every 10 companies in town are Latinx owned, and membership for Bakersfield’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has ballooned from 200 businesses to 1,200 in less than a decade.

Rosibel Hurst’s Bellissima Medical Aesthetics is one of 8,500 local Latinx-owned businesses. In 2014, the founder, who was born in Honduras, launched her beauty clinic, which offers procedures such as Botox injections and skin-tightening treatments, from a single room inside of a supportive doctor’s office. Today, Bellissima is profitable, with roughly $2 million in annual sales and 13 employees. “I was able to grow this company because of the help I got from people here,” she says. “Bakersfield is a giving city.”

As the field of startups grows in Bakersfield, so do the resources to sustain it. In 2018, Bakersfield businessman John-Paul Lake co-founded the city’s first angel investing firm, Kern Venture Group, and worked with the city’s community college to create Launchpad, which helps local entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

At Oasis Air Conditioning, founder Ben Dominguez and his 28 employees are expanding into the solar panel market to meet growing demand from the city’s homeowners.KAYLA REEFER

Originally created in Fresno to assist refugee farmers, loan fund Access Plus Capital has doled out 22 microloans worth more than $1.6 million to Bakersfield entrepreneurs since it began servicing the city in 2012.

“People are realizing that the Central Valley is changing,” says Edward Palomar, manager of the fund’s Bakersfield office, which opened in 2017. “They see the opportunity for growth here.”

https://www.inc.com/magazine/202002/guadalupe-gonzalez/bakersfield-california-central-valley-latinx-entrepreneurs-2019-surge-cities.html