FRESNO COUNTY ECON FORECAST: BRICK-AND-MORTAR TRANSITIONING, BUT HERE TO STAY

Fresno County businesses, farmers and retailers have weathered a tornado of unpredictable events in 2020. But in 2021, commercial and residential real estate are expected to thrive. Ethan Smith, a broker at Newmark Pearson Commercial in Fresno, specializes in industrial real estate. He says that Fresno’s commercial real estate market is growing. “Industrial has continued to be incredibly active since we sort of shifted gears due to the pandemic,” Smith said.  He said demand continues to outpace supply, but it can take a while for pricing to catch up to market changes.

Spring brought concern about the economy, but conditions are not looking nearly as poor as experts first thought. “As things have settled down, we haven’t seen the doom and gloom predictions that people have thought,” Smith said.  Industrial firms were deemed essential from the start, which might have helped, and will continue to help in 2021. “Small businesses locally tend to be pretty resilient; we actually still see demand because businesses are growing,” he said.

Some businesses need to lease more space. However, growth can be tough between businesses and banks. “Banks are being more judicious with their lending. However, we’re not seeing the same things during the financial crisis where liquidity just went away,” he said. Low interest rates means cash is cheap at the moment.

The housing market is also booming, and will continue to stay that way in the near future. But Smith and Danyelle Conner, real estate agent at London Properties in Fresno, said it’s because inventory is low. Thus, prices continue to climb. “The market right now continues to be pretty hot,” Conner said. Traditionally November slows down because people like to decorate their homes for the holidays, Conner says. “But as par for the course this year, nothing has been traditional with Covid, and we’re not really seeing a slowdown like we typically would expect right now,” Conner said. “Buyers are also willing to pay the prices sellers are asking, but I have had a few issues with appraisals lately,” Conner said. “Buyers are willing to pay it, but appraisers are not willing to give it the value.” This has potential to make buyers want to come down on the price if appraisers think it’s too high.

Office space has not died off as first predicted. Projects are still under construction because people want to work in a collaborative, in-person setting. Small and medium sized businesses rely on the office because of the lack of accommodation for sophisticated information systems available working from home. “The obituaries that were written about the offices were incredibly premature. And there’s no obituary,” Smith said.  Many office workers have been negatively affected by school closures, as was the agriculture industry, which delivers mass amounts of fruit, vegetables and milk to grade schools. Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of Fresno County Farm Bureau, says that Covid will continue to play a role in the 2021 agriculture forecast. “Overall, the commodities definitely are lower than what we’ve seen in the past decade, and a lot of that is attributed to the softer foreign markets for some of the products that are more heavily demanded worldwide,” Jacobsen said. This will play a role in foreign trade in the Covid era looking into 2021. “Central Valley agriculture is very dependent upon foreign trade, and so our hope is that the worldwide economy still demands California produce,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen hopes the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal will pay dividends in 2021. Aside from Covid-related differences, water runoff was below average year, so the agriculture industry hopes to have a better water year in 2021 because it means more crops in the ground. In 2021, retail giants like Amazon, Target, and Walmart could change the small business front. “The retail industry already was changing. The pandemic — people staying home — has only accelerated what was already happening,” Smith said. There is a shift as retailers occupy more warehouse space and use their own delivery infrastructure to accommodate consumers quicker, which could spur industrial construction. “The expectation on the customer’s end is not waiting five to seven days for delivery anymore,” Smith said.

The outlook for restaurants is certainly not bright, especially as Fresno County reenters the most restrictive purple tier on the state’s lockdown list. This week, Fresno Mayor-elect Jerry Dyer said on a panel discussion with California mayors that 30-40% of restaurants in Fresno will never open again, reported gvwire.com. Smith says we will continue to see the weeding out of businesses who can’t survive the temporary 30-40% decrease in sales until the economy levels out, which may occur in summer 2021. But online retailers born during the pandemic also see the value of operating a brick-and-mortar.  Nicole Zieba, Reedley city manager, and Alex Henderson, Kingsburg city manager, both remain optimistic about 2021. Reedley has a 90-day operating fund reserve for 2021. And both Kingsburg and Reedley cities show rapid commercial and residential development.  For instance, Reedley has been targeting advanced food manufacturing to reported success.

Then there is the incoming T-Mobile call center in Kingsburg, which Henderson says will bring 1,000 jobs to the city. The 100,000 square foot customer experience center is slated for early 2021, after being on hold for the past year.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/fresno-county-econ-forecast-brick-and-mortar-transitioning-but-here-to-stay/

Top World Region – San Joaquin Valley Agriculture

Fresno County is home to over 1.4 million acres of productive pasture and farmland. It remained the top ag county in the state and nation. Ag commissioner Melissa Cregan delivered the crop report to county supervisors. Cregan told the board, “The 2019 gross production value for agriculture in Fresno County was $7.718 billion.”

That figure was down 2% from a year ago but the battle to be the number-one ag producer was extremely tight among valley counties. Fresno County topped the list at $7.71 billion. Kern County was right behind at $7.62 billion, while Tulare County was at $7.50 billion.

Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen explained, “In a year like this year, you really appreciate that the value that every single farmer contributes really makes that difference.” The pandemic decreased demand for some crops during the spring. In April, we watched some lettuce get disced back into the ground because orders for restaurants and schools were canceled due to a sudden drop in demand in the foodservice industry. Cregan said, “Fresno County’s agricultural strength is based on the diversity of the crops we produce.”

Over 300 crops were grown in Fresno County. Seventy-eight of them topped $1 million in annual ag production. Jacobsen said, “The shining star once again was almonds, saw a dramatic increase there. A lot of that was acreage based.” Almonds were worth over $1.5 billion in 2019.

The number-two crop, grapes, dipped under the billion-dollar mark though. Jacobsen said, “Table grapes, wine grapes as well as raisins. It’s been tough for the local grape industry.” Pistachios, poultry and milk rounded out the county’s top five crops. Cregan thanked local growers and ranchers for their resiliency during a tough year. She said, “All the glory goes to the farmers because they’re the ones producing these crops and placed us where we are.” International trade was down. Ag officials believe continued challenges posed by the pandemic may lead to lower production numbers next year.

https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.111/c75.1d5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Kern-EDC_Ag-Flyer_2020.pdf

The Hottest Housing Markets Right Now In 2020

15 Housing Markets That Are Hot in 2020

The 15 hottest housing markets in 2020 are spread out across the U.S., though there are some geographic patterns. Out west, California, Idaho and Utah are home to several of the hottest housing markets. In the east, the hottest housing markets can be found in the Mid-Atlantic region and New England. Beyond that, Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas are the other remaining places home to the hottest housing markets. The coldest housing markets, on the other hand, are heavily centered on vacation spots — like cities in Florida, Hawaii and Nevada — as well as densely-populated coastal metropolises like San Francisco and New York, the latter of which was hit the heaviest by the Covid-19 pandemic in its early stages. Read on to find out the 15 hottest housing markets of 2020.

7. Stockton, California

Stockton has been on a sustained path of growth over the years in terms of its population and economy. The Stockton metro area offers homes that are more affordable compared to other major cities in the California housing market, but prices are rising. The median list price for a home in the Stockton area was under $390,000 two years ago, but has now reached $472,250, a 21.6% increase — roughly $84,000 — from September 2018 to September 2020.

Rising home prices have been coupled with tightening inventory and fewer days on market. Last September, Stockton homes spent a median of 27 days on the market before being sold. Only a year later, the average amount of time is down to a mere 10 days on the market before getting grabbed up. With houses flying off the shelf in the Stockton metro area, available inventory has dwindled. From having more than 1,700 homes for sale in September 2018, Stockton now has only 616 available homes as of September 2020 — a decline in inventory of nearly 65% in only two years.

11. Fresno, California

The Fresno metro area is another California housing market that’s hot this year, with homes flying off the market shortly after they’ve been put up. Since 2012, the record for fewest number of days a home spent on the market in Fresno was 14 days back in July 2017. That record, however, was trounced in September 2020 when homes spent a median of just 9 days on the market before being sold. As a result, Fresno’s housing inventory has shrunk from nearly 2,000 available homes for sale in September 2018, to only 805 homes as of September 2020. Like many other housing markets on our list, Fresno’s inventory has dropped by more than half in only two years, putting a serious squeeze on homebuyers to find places for sale, let alone finding deals.

Fresno launches outdoor dining parklet project in Tower District

City officials announced Friday that outdoor dining parklets would be built in front of restaurants in Fresno’s Tower District, with the intent of creating outdoor seating in response to COVID-19 guidelines. The first location to have a parklet is Irene’s Cafe, which will have a temporary parklet starting Friday, followed by The Revue and The Lincoln Pub & Grub, which will have parklets installed next week.

The money to build the parklets came from $600,000 in grants through Fresno’s CARES Act funds to build parklets across the city, with $35,000 going toward the three businesses. “Our Tower businesses deserve our support during this difficult time and I’m glad our city has stepped up and provided it,” said Council President Miguel Arias.

The temporary parklets are expected to be replaced within three weeks with a permanent parklet. Additionally, five other businesses have started the application process to expand their outdoor dining area. “We look forward to bringing more outdoor dining to the Tower District,” said Tyler Mackey, Executive Director of the Tower District Marketing Committee. “Our businesses appreciate the city’s desire to help create solutions for the challenges of COVID-19.”

In coordination with the Fresno Arts Council, a call to artists has been issued for art submissions for murals to be featured on the permanent parklets to be consistent with the public art in the Tower District and in agreement on design with the business owners. “We are very excited to launch this program bringing much needed COVID-19 relief to our Tower District business owners,” said Councilmember Esmeralda Soria. “Our community is struggling with the effects of COVID-19 and our small business owners have been among those most affected. This is a creative way of keeping our residents safe and our small businesses afloat.”

https://www.yourcentralvalley.com/news/local-news/fresno-launches-outdoor-dining-parklet-project-in-tower-district/

How one Central Valley city became Northern California’s logistics hub

Amazon. Safeway. Costco. FedEx. Ford. The Home Depot. These are just a few of the names that have established major distribution centers in San Joaquin County over the past 30 years.

Federal job statistics confirm that San Joaquin County is a leading center for warehousing, logistics and distribution in the Western United States. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Stockton-Lodi metropolitan area has the second-highest concentration of transportation and logistics jobs in the country — bested only by Laredo, Texas.

So what’s attracting all of these transportation, distribution and logistics operations to the region? A 2019 study from University of the Pacific’s Center for Business and Policy Research attributes the growth of San Joaquin County’s goods movement system to four primary causes: the rise of e-commerce, the coalescence of a Northern California mega-region, the county’s connectedness through its transportation infrastructure and its strategic location, and a workforce ideally suited for transportation and logistics jobs.

Strategic location

San Joaquin County is strategically located at the heart of what economists are calling the Northern California mega-region. It’s a concept that was first coined by the Bay Area Council in 2016. Encapsulating 21 counties in Northern California, the zone is home to more than 12 million people, representing nearly a third of California’s total population. The counties are connected by commute patterns, movement of goods, housing markets, and mutually complementary economies that help meet the needs of businesses throughout the region.

Stockton, San Joaquin County’s largest city (2018 population: 311,178) and primary economic center, is located less than 100 miles from San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Sacramento — places where the cost of land makes it prohibitively expensive to house expansive, large-footprint structures like warehouses and fulfillment centers. The combination of Stockton’s lower density and its proximity to large population centers in the Bay Area and Sacramento are what make it attractive to logistics and fulfillment operations in the region.

The exodus by these warehouses and distribution centers out of the core Bay Area began back in the mid-1990s, which was around the same time property values in San Francisco and nearby counties began to rise precipitously, according to the Center for Business and Policy Research. That trend has only accelerated since then. The center’s report finds that concentration of transportation and warehousing jobs has grown nearly three-fold since 1993.

A connected city

Whether it’s by air, land or sea, goods pass through Stockton around-the-clock.

Located at the nexus of two out of three major north-south freeways in California — I-5 and SR-99 — Stockton is connected by a robust ground transportation system to the major population centers in the Central Valley, Southern California and, via I-580, the San Francisco Bay Area. Moreover, its location along I-5, the major north-south freeway in the Western United States, provides connection to cities across the continental U.S.

The Port of Stockton, utilizing the San Joaquin River deep water channel, carries tons of cargo each year between the Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay. Stockton Metropolitan Airport allows cargo carriers — including Amazon Air — to dispatch their goods to customers across the country.

All that is bolstered by top-tier rail service: The City of Stockton is served by two national Class I railway lines, and is home to two major intermodal rail-freight terminals, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific.

A motivated workforce

Known as a “city of makers,” Stockton is a top regional destination for artists, chefs, entrepreneurs, craftspersons and others working in the trades. San Joaquin Delta College, recently ranked the No. 4 best community college in the nation when measured along vectors related cost and quality, offers dozens of career and technical education (CTE) programs for career-minded individuals who know what industry they want to work in. Delta College also offers a CTE transition program for high school students grades nine through 12, offering a direct career pathway for jobs that are predicted to be in high demand, bypassing alternative paths that funnel students towards the increasingly saturated tech industry job market.

The culmination of these programs, together with Stockton’s relatively young population (the median age in Stockton is 32.8, compared to a national average of 38.2), creates a motivated, practical-minded, career-ready workforce ideal for filling blue-collar posts like those in the transportation and logistics industries. Additionally, with Stockton’s relatively low cost of living compared to coastal population centers in California, businesses will find a hardworking, relatively low-cost workforce in the Bay Area’s backyard.

How One Central Valley City is Supporting Entrepreneurs

One of the first cities in U.S. history to pilot a universal basic income, or UBI, program, Stockton, California is not a city afraid of a little experimentation. That kind of creative thinking isn’t limited to the city’s social programs, either. Recognizing that entrepreneurship is — and will be — at the heart of the economy of today and tomorrow, the city offers a range of innovative economic development programs that have already attracted entrepreneurs from across the region and around the country to establish their businesses in Stockton. As young businesses and startups — particularly in their infancy — require a lot of support, that’s where public sector policies and programs make a real difference. These programs assist these emerging companies while entrepreneurs refine their ideas and business plans, seek investment, and scale their operations.

Here’s how the city of Stockton has created a strong support network for entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship grants The city of Stockton created its Entrepreneurship Grant program, funded by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program, which aims to promote economic opportunity for low and moderate-income individuals. The Entrepreneurship Grant program offers funding to Stockton-based business service providers and entrepreneurs, startups and established businesses in the city. 2020 was the first year that the grant, which offers up to $200,000 in total funding, was extended to Stockton entrepreneurs directly. In prior years, the grant was only available to business service organizations that provided services and assistance to Stockton-based small businesses or entrepreneurs. The extension has been well-received by the Stockton business community, and work is already underway by the city to bring the program back again next year. Information on how to apply for a 2021 grant will be announced soon.

Non-traditional spaces One of the most enduring concepts to arise out of major entrepreneurship ecosystems is the co-working office space. These innovative shared offices combine the infrastructure and service level of commercial office rentals, the economy of a flexible, scalable workspace, and the comfort and community of a neighborhood coffee shop. Co-working spaces help foster a culture of entrepreneurship in a city, and have even led to innovative synergies with other startups under the same roof. Entrepreneurs who make the move to Stockton will feel at home in one of the city’s familiar, though distinctive, co-working spaces. Via Ventures offers the comfort coworking veterans are accustomed to in a design-centric setting, while Huddle x Launch Pad serves as the Stockton annex for Launch Pad’s national network of quality neighborhood office spaces. Located just a couple blocks from each other, the spaces have been a welcomed addition to Downtown Stockton, a vibrant district located along the San Joaquin River filled with attractions such as cafes, shops, galleries, restaurants, bars, theaters, and a minor league ballpark, home to the Stockton Ports, the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

Guidance and mentorship The most diverse city in the country according to a U.S. News and World Report analysis, Stockton is creating an entrepreneurship ecosystem that reflects diversity and leverages the strengths of the city’s community. Historically underserved entrepreneurs often lack the access and know-how to navigate entrepreneurial spaces and ecosystems. Strategic interventions can help reduce that gap. Supported in part by the city of Stockton, the Launch Pad Foundation (the nonprofit arm of the Launch Pad co-working network) has developed an innovative scholarship program aimed to reduce gaps in opportunity and access to entrepreneurial spaces. The foundation provides free full memberships for co-working spaces to qualified entrepreneurs, who are selected together with strategic partners in the city. The program also provides access to curricula and programming designed to help entrepreneurs and their businesses achieve success.

Stockton also offers a number of mentorship and training programs available to minority entrepreneurs, such as Centro Community Partners’ Basic Entrepreneurship Program, which offers business planning instruction in both English and Spanish to local entrepreneurs. Other minority-geared programs include the African American Chamber of Commerce’s BRIDGES Entrepreneur program, which holds workshops and webinars geared towards African American business owners and entrepreneurs, and the Main Street Entrepreneur-In-Residence program, which includes a 10-week business training boot camp, office space, financial capital, a monthly stipend and more to eligible Stockton-based African-American business owners accepted into the program. All three programs are either currently funded or have previously been funded in part by Stockton Entrepreneurship Grants. Also noteworthy is local nonprofit Stockton Community Kitchen, which works to help under-resourced food entrepreneurs succeed by offering mentorship and education in the skills necessary to succeed in the food industry. Utilizing its fully-staffed commercial kitchen and classroom spaces, the Community Kitchen provides low-income entrepreneurs with innovative food concepts a program rich in technical and emotional support. Accepting applications on a rolling schedule, Stockton Community Kitchen programs are offered three times per year.

Artists and makers welcome Artists and makers feeling shut out by the prohibitive cost of living and lack of resources for emerging creatives in many major cities will find Stockton’s low cost of living and high quality of life a welcome change. For young creatives looking to develop their technique and sensibility, resources such as Hatch Workshop Center for Emerging Makers are available. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization offers low-cost memberships to the workshop’s ceramic, wood and metal-working, and fabrication tools and machinery as well as expert training and education from makers and artists. Creatives will also benefit from a strong local demand for their work fostered by marketplaces like Stockmarket, which (due to Covid-19) currently functions as an all-online virtual artists and makers fair until open air markets are once again deemed safe.

https://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2020/10/13/how-one-central-valley-city-is-supporting-entrepre.html

California’s Central Valley: A hidden gem?

BY DENISE DECHAINE

In today’s low interest rate environment, investors are working overtime in their search for yield. In the real estate arena, property investors are searching beyond gateway and primary markets — where stiff competition has compressed cap rates to record lows for some property types — and exploring opportunities off the beaten track in overlooked secondary and tertiary markets.

One such opportunity is California’s Central Valley, where investors can tap into the region’s growth story and still find markets and properties that offer significantly higher risk-adjusted returns, according to a report by Institutional Real Estate, Inc. titled California’s Central Valley: Land of affordability, growth and opportunity.

The Central Valley is California’s fastest-growing and most-affordable region. The area’s economy is fueled by three large, recession-resistant economic sectors: government (including the nation’s second-largest government center, Sacramento), healthcare and agriculture. Based on projected future economic and population growth — as well as higher cap rates — the Central Valley is a classic example of a secondary market that is in the early stages of transitioning away from local and regional ownership to a larger base of institutional owners.

These investors are discovering the untapped potential for investment in California’s Central Valley key cities of Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno, Stockton and Modesto.

https://irei.com/news/californias-central-valley-hidden-gem/

The COVID-19 pandemic could be a ‘tipping point’ for the Central Valley’s growth, innovation

Despite the challenges the Central Valley has faced in the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic could prove a “tipping point” for the region in terms of innovation and growth, according to speakers at the annual State of the Valley event.

“In this pandemic crisis, I see a real opportunity for the North (San Joaquin) Valley,” said Mark Keppler, the executive director of the Maddy Institute, a local public policy organization. “If there’s some strategic thinking that’s going on … and then those plans are put into action, I think the next 25-50 years could be the time that the North Valley really emerges as a region.”

The event, co-presented by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and Opportunity Stanislaus, was held Monday as a live webinar and featured presentations from Keppler and Dave White, the CEO of Opportunity Stanislaus. Trish Christensen, the chamber of commerce’s president and CEO, moderated the event.

Both Keppler and White expressed optimism at Stanislaus County’s ability to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which sent unemployment skyrocketing in March and April and left many without jobs. Coupled with large-scale shutdowns of many parts of the economy — from shelter-in-place orders in the spring to current restrictions on indoor dining and other activities — brought whole sectors of the economy to a standstill.

But six months in, the Central Valley is beginning to see signs of recovery, both Keppler and White said. Recent unemployment data for Stanislaus County clocked in at 10.9%, down from 13.6% in July and a high of 17% in April. Jobless numbers in the county are currently lower than state-level unemployment, which was 11.4% in August, down from 13.5% in July.

“We’ve done better than most of California,” White said. “The main reason for that is we don’t rely on tourism and transportation as much as other places in California.”

The Central Valley’s key industries are manufacturing, agriculture and other essential industries, which have remained open throughout the pandemic. Additionally, seasonal labor — from farm work to Census enumerators — has caused a spike in employment across the Valley, resulting in lower unemployment figures.

SMALL BUSINESSES STRUGGLE DESPITE SUPPORT

White spoke to the Valley’s relative success in terms of coronavirus recovery, aided in part by local business support programs, including grants and loans like the Paycheck Protection Program, which gave small business access to billions in federal money.

Now, with the PPP program complete, and businesses adapting to the “new normal” under COVID-19, White stressed the importance of following the statewide safety guidelines and tiered system that will eventually allow for more reopening across the county.

Still, White said, people should not expect a V-shaped recovery from the pandemic, due to a decreased participation in the economy and shutdowns still in place across many industries. People are still wary of returning to work, as well as shopping and dining, he said.

“They’re scared, and they’re not confident,” White said. “In order to establish that confidence, we have to see a decrease in the impact of the virus on our community…. The longer this goes, the more we’re going to see business failure.”

CHANGING SKILLS FOR A NEW ECONOMY

The pandemic has changed the ways many Americans live their daily lives, from telecommuting to relying on online retailers for much of their shopping. Keppler said he is predicting ensuing changes in the Valley as well, including an increased emphasis on logistics, coming from large retailers and delivery service companies like Amazon, UPS and FedEx.

White said he also expects “on-shoring” of manufacturing, moving plants from overseas back to the United States, and creating more job opportunities in those sectors, as well as expansion plans from more traditional corporations.

Amazon recently announced 2,600 new jobs in the Central Valley, as part of a nationwide hiring spree of 100,000 workers, ranging from warehouse staff to finance and HR positions in the individual buildings.

Manufacturing jobs coming to the Central Valley will require workers with skills like PLC coding, automation and robotics, White said, raising the requirements for applicants. He said he expects similar changes in fields like agricultural technology and logistics.

“We need to invest in coding and all these upper skills that will be required in this new economy,” he said.

Additionally, White said, Stanislaus County needs to attract these skilled workers from other areas in the state and around the country, offering a high quality of life at a comparatively lower price point.

ATTRACTING POTENTIAL BUYERS TO THE CENTRAL VALLEY

As teleworking has become a more permanent option for many companies, Keppler said it’s estimated that Americans have saved around $91 billion by working at home this year, and employers are eager to continue with the practice and eventually reduce their footprints in high-priced areas like Silicon Valley.

Keppler said not only will this reduce the commutes of many workers who regularly drive up to three hours from the Valley to the Bay Area, but also make areas like Stanislaus County more attractive to potential renters and buyers.

In a post-office landscape, Keppler stressed, the Valley needs to make itself competitive not only on a regional level, but “nationwide.” This means focusing on housing, attention to detail in urban planning and ensuring that cities like Modesto provide ample amenities — like parks, performing arts and a walkable downtown — to attract new residents.

White added that as the pandemic more heavily affects urban areas, like New York City, Los Angeles or San Francisco, a number of people may be looking to move out of larger cities and into smaller ones they deem safer, like Modesto or other places in Stanislaus County.

“There’s going to be demand for housing,” he said, “and we need to be ready for that.”

White said he foresees a sort of hybrid model, with increased work-from-home and the possibility of smaller, communal offices popping up in more affordable cities where the employees of large tech companies will be able to work a few days a week or month.

He said it’s crucial for the public and private sectors to work together and create solutions for these needs across the Valley, and make the region as lucrative as possible for both companies and workers.

“The potential here is unbelievable,” Keppler said. “There has to be civic pride, and a sense of, ‘You know what, we can do this!’”

https://www.modbee.com/article245901805.html

U.S. NEWS RANKS FRESNO STATE IN TOP 3 FOR GRADUATION-RATE PERFORMANCE 5 YEARS IN A ROW

For the fifth consecutive year, Fresno State is ranked among the top three of the nation’s best public universities for graduation-rate performance in U.S. News and World Report’s 2021 Best College rankings issued today.

The University scored third-highest among public national universities and was No. 4 overall among all national universities, according to an analysis of U.S. News’ Academic Insights data used in the magazine’s annual rankings. Fresno State has ranked No. 3 for the past three years and was No. 1 in 2017.

The graduation-rate performance uses the University’s actual six-year graduation rate compared to predicted performance based on admissions data, school financial resources, the proportion of federal financial aid recipients who are first-generation, math and science orientations and the proportion of undergraduates receiving Pell grants.

“This particular national ranking speaks to the determination of our talented students, most of whom juggle work and family demands while seeking a college degree, a key that opens doors to a lifetime of professional and economic mobility opportunities,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “It also highlights the University’s commitment, including that of our dedicated faculty and staff, to supporting and empowering students to ensure their timely completion to a quality and affordable degree.”

Here’s a look at other categories of the U.S. News and World Report where Fresno State continues to deliver on its mission to educate and empower students for success.

  • Fresno State ranked No. 6 for the second consecutive year for having the least debt load at graduation among public national universities and No. 18 among all national universities. Forty percent of recent students who graduated in 2019 or earlier have an average debt of $15,181 compared to the national average student debt of $29,399.
  • The University ranked No. 21 for graduate indebtedness, a new category showing how schools compare in terms of the average amount of federal loan debt among recent graduates and the percentage of graduates who borrowed federal loans.
  • Improving one spot from last year, Fresno State ranked No. 26 in the social mobility category for how well schools graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants, meaning they come from low- to medium-income households.
  • The Lyles College of Engineering at Fresno State ranked No. 60 out of 220 universities for Best Undergraduate Engineering Program.
  • Fresno State and San Diego State are the only two CSU campuses to rank in the top 100 public national universities placing No. 100 and No. 65, respectively.

Fresno State’s reclassification as a Carnegie doctoral university in 2016 means it joined the top research universities in the nation in rankings produced by the new publication. Fresno State offers doctoral degrees in nursing, physical therapy and educational leadership.

U.S. News and World Report evaluates campuses on multiple factors for its overall national ranking. The news publication gives the most weight to outcomes, including graduation and retention rates followed by faculty resources, academic reputation, financial resources and graduation-rate performance. This year, the rankings included schools that don’t use the SAT or ACT at all in admissions decisions.

In other rankings

Last month, Fresno State ranked No. 26 in Washington Monthly’s annual nationwide college rankings. The Washington D.C.-based magazine calls attention to colleges that best serve the community, ranking institutions on social mobility, research and service. This is the fifth straight year Fresno State has ranked in Washington Monthly’s top 30.

The University also ranked No. 7 for Most Transformative Colleges in MONEY Magazine’s 50 Best Public Colleges rankings for 2020. Additionally, Fresno State ranked No. 40 on the Best Public College rankings, and came in No. 19 for Best Colleges Where More Than Half of Applicants Get In.

http://www.fresnostatenews.com/2020/09/14/u-s-news-ranks-fresno-state-in-top-3-for-graduation-rate-performance-5-years-in-a-row/

California Supreme Court Gives Favorable Nod to North Fork Rancheria Casino

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: North Fork, CA – August 31, 2020 – The California Supreme Court has ruled that former Governor Jerry Brown acted within his authority when he concurred in a pair of federal decisions in 2011 that led to the approval of two so-called “off-reservation” tribal gaming projects in Madera and Yuba counties. In United Auburn Indian Community v. Newsom, the Court determined that the Governor has the right to concur. The decision will allow the North Fork Rancheria to move forward with the design, financing and construction of its long-awaited and highly anticipated project north of the City of Madera.

“We are thrilled that the Court has finally decided this case in our favor” said North Fork Rancheria Tribal Chair Elaine Bethel-Fink. “Our tribal citizens and local community have been denied the advantages of tribal gaming – billions of dollars in economic benefits and thousands of jobs – for far too long.”

The legal case stems back nearly a decade; the Tribe’s pursuit of a casino nearly two. In 2003, the Tribe penned an agreement with Las Vegas-based Station Casinos to develop a casino. The next year, the Tribe requested the federal government to take the proposed site near Madera in trust for gaming purposes. After a rigorous and lengthy federal review, the Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs determined that gaming on the land would be in the best interest of the Tribe and not detrimental to the surrounding community and requested the Governor’s concurrence to move forward. A year later, on August 30, 2012, in a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, Governor Brown concurred in the determination.

Opponents eventually challenged the Governor’s authority to concur, arguing that California’s Constitution required legislative authorization. In 2017, the California Supreme Court agreed to hear challenges to both projects after two appeals courts reached different conclusions. It then took the Court over 3½ years to rule on the matter.

“While we firmly believe that only federal law controls the gaming eligibility of our trust lands,” said Bethel-Fink, “we are nonetheless delighted to have this long drawn out drama finally behind us — and eager to get going and bring jobs and economic opportunity to our people and community!”

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About the North Fork Rancheria
The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians is a federally recognized Native American tribe with over 2,200 tribal citizens and government offices in Madera County, California. Since the restoration of its federally recognized status in 1983, the Tribe has established modern tribal governing institutions to improve the lives of its tribal citizens, many of whom have limited access to basic housing, healthcare, business, employment, and educational services and opportunity. The Tribe leverages its limited federal grant funding to operate numerous tribal programs. More information available at https://www.northforkrancheria-nsn.gov/.