Delhi Unified unveils plans for $15M Career Technical Education building, plus new school

Delhi Unified School District students can look forward to more vocational training opportunities, as the district moves forward to develop its new Career and Technical Education building. District officials say the 15,000 square-foot building, with a projected cost of $15 million, will be geared toward offering real-world technical skills in agriculture, welding, metal work, fabrication, and computer-aid design, to name a few.

The building will be located along Schendel Avenue and Shanks Road, on an area of Delhi High that’s currently occupied by basketball courts. “It really opens a whole new world of opportunities,” said Adolfo Melara, Delhi Unified superintendent. “This provides students a high school experience where they can learn many skills, and explore different venues for the future. We see this as an enhancement of our academic program to our students.”

In addition, classes will be held for middle school students in the new building, plus residents will have access to welding and manufacturing classes. The district first contemplated the idea for a new technical education building six years ago as parents expressed a desire for more vocational education training for students. In 2016, the board passed Measure W, a bond measure that authorized the district to use $12 million for the career technical education building. While the board unanimously voted to approve of the building project in 2016, it wasn’t until recently the district began executing plans for the building, Melara said. The district applied for a competitive state grant for construction, and was awarded $3 million, aiding in the $15 million cost for the entire project.

The building is expected to break ground either in the summer or fall next year, and open in mid 2023. New school in the works Aside from the technical building, Delhi Unified is working with Maracor Development to secure 30 acres for a new school near Bradbury Road. The district wants another school to accommodate more families who choose to enroll their children as more than 940 homes are being planned at the corner of Vincent and Bradbury Road in Delhi. Melara said the board hasn’t approved of the project just yet, as the district is still working on the details of the cost, where the district could get the money, when construction could begin, and if the school will either be a middle school or elementary school. “These are very exciting times for Delhi Unified School District,” Melara said. “We’ve had very hardworking people, wonderful parents and students and these are resources our community really needs and we will make the best investment of these resources on behalf of our children.” “I’m very excited and positive and happy for the benefits both of these projects will bring to the Delhi community,” he added.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/delhi-unified-unveils-plans-for-2415m-career-technical-education-building-plus-new-school/ar-AALh4Gj?ocid=uxbndlbing

Robot-building siblings from Clovis have won some big money. Now, they plan to team up

Clovis North student John Benedict Estrada recently took home the $50,000 grand prize at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair. “It was a big shock, and I honestly didn’t expect anything, so hearing my name being called was really surprising, really exciting. That whole weekend was just really exciting from the win,” Estrada said. His model, a robot that detects plant drought, won him the grand prize. If a robot that detects how plant thirst sounds familiar to you, that is because another student also placed in a science fair recently.

Estrada’s sister, Pauline Victoria Allasas Estrada, a Granite Ridge Intermediate School student, won $10,000 in the national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics middle school competition the Broadcom Masters with a similar device during the fall of 2020. Although both models have the same function, they work differently and show off duo’s ingenuity and engineering talents. Both siblings had the opportunity to enter international science fairs due to their Fresno County science fair participation.

In fact, according to Jennifer Weibert, the Fresno County fair director, participating in the county fair could open doors for others the same why it did for the Estradas. “In my opinion, his win is amazing, and so I hope it opens the doors for more parents and students to be aware that this opportunity exists in Fresno. So, take advantage of it because it can change your life,” Weibert said.

Every year the Fresno County fair sends four kids to participate in the international science fair. The county covers all expenses for the final four participating students. “We have about 100 kids who enter in the high school division, and they can come from anywhere in the region. Because we are one of the only fairs in central California, besides Bakersfield or Sacramento, that gives kids a chance to move on to the international level,” Weibert said.

Estrada’s first-place project uses a robotic arm with an infrared camera to measure the light reflecting off of bell peppers. The infrared can help farmers identify “at-risk” plants, which will help them determine what measures need to be taken before long-term damage occurs. Estrada’s sister, Allasas Estrada, also uses an infrared camera; however, her model is a rover, and it detects drought stress from the ground. Ultimately both models will help farmers deal with a problem that has plagued Central Valley farmers for decades. “The $50,000 I won is going to be for a scholarship for college. Right now, my main focus is continuing to improve my project for the future because I already have some plans for what I want to do with my project later,” Estrada said. Both siblings hope to team up during next year’s science fair as high school students.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/robot-building-siblings-from-clovis-have-won-some-big-money-now-they-plan-to-team-up/ar-AAKZYJw?ocid=uxbndlbing

Why tech giant Samsung wants to give these Tulare school students thousands of dollars

A group of Tulare Union High School students recently took home top honors at the national Samsung Solve for Tomorrow engineering competition. The students, led by teacher Erik York captured the Community Choice Award for their device that uses artificial intelligence to alert drivers about other vehicles, approaching intersections, and traffic lights, among other features.

The Tulare-based robotics team finished the competition’s top 10 and, along with winning the Community Choice Award, claimed about $80,000 in prize money. “It still doesn’t feel real,” said lead student engineer Jayen Bhakta. “I’m still in shock that a company like Samsung has awarded us a win.” At least some of the prize money will help the school purchase laptops for students. The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest is a national competition that gives students real-world problems to solve. Before entering the competition, York and his students experimented with artificial intelligence and felt the competition would be an excellent opportunity to flex their new skills.

STEM education is growing in importance in our country. According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 24%, while other occupations are growing at 4%. STEM degree holders have a higher income even in non-STEM careers. STEM education also has other benefits. It teaches kids critical thinking, teamwork, and communication skills. “A big role of our STEM program is to expose students to the different careers that are available in STEM. Different aspects of engineering and manufacturing, so we are putting a lot of those skills and a lot of those job opportunities in the hands of the students. It’s a hands-on course where they are using a lot of the materials,” York said. “This is further than we initially thought we ever could go. We set the bar so that next year’s kids can hopefully go even higher and hopefully win the grand prize of $130k,” Bhakta said. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/education-lab/article251539018.html

Merced College breaks ground on new Ag complex

Merced College supporters and government leaders joined in with educators to break ground Wednesday on the 29,000-square-foot Raj Kahlon Agriculture and Industrial Technology Complex, kicking off construction of the first new building on campus in more than a decade. “Merced College has been educating students in agriculture and related fields for decades in the historically underserved San Joaquin Valley,” said California’s Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, who attended the event along with U.S. Rep. Jim Costa and State Assembly member Adam Gray. “Countless students in this region will benefit from this beautiful new space, and in turn they will bring benefits back to the region through their education and service. The future is bright in Merced.”

The ceremony highlighted the college’s flagship agricultural programs. Once moved into the state-of-the-art building, the program will be positioned to train more students for well-paying and plentiful jobs in agriculture, industrial technology, and other related workforce programs in this region. “This is a capital project many years in the making,” Merced College President Chris Vitellisaid. “As an agricultural community, and an institution of higher education committed to training our future workforce in ag and related industries, we are proud to provide this incredible new facility to better serve our students, faculty and partners.”

Assembly member Gray said: “This really shows what happens when state, local, and private resources all come together in the right way. Raj Kahlon’s generosity and President Vitelli’s leadership made this an easy sell. Working together, we brought then Lt. Governor Newsom down to tour Merced College and learn about this project firsthand. Just a few months later, we delivered by securing the final piece of funding in the State Budget. Sometimes we have to fight a little bit harder to get the recognition we deserve in the Valley, but in this case, I am proud to say we got our fair share.” Congressman Costa added, “It fills me with pride that Valley students who want to dedicate their lives to agriculture production will have a new, high-tech facility to hone their craft,” Costa said. “California agriculture feeds the world! I’m honored to have Lt. Gov. Kounalakishere to see how underserved students from the San Joaquin Valley have the opportunity to train for a career that has an impact across the globe.”

The Merced College Board of Trustees approved the $20,971,000 construction bid from F&H Construction out of Lodi on May 11. The full cost of the project will be $24,894,000. The Merced College AgIT building is a publicly funded project using $12.6 million from a 2002 local bond and $12.3 million in matching funds from the state via Proposition 51, a community college capital projects bond from 2016. Local farmer Raj Kahlon is contributing $5 million through a venture partnership with the college. It is the largest donation commitment in school history and the funds will go towards ongoing support of the agricultural programs. As a result, the complex is named after Kahlon. Construction is expected to take 15 months and should be completed in August 2022.

Darden Architects out of Fresno designed the complex on the northern edge of campus. Darden is a frequent collaborator with the College, having also designed the Plaza Project, the first phase of which was completed in 2019. The animal science, crop science, plant science and horticulture programs will move out of buildings original to the campus from the 1970s when they take up residence in the new AgIT building next year. The project will include new labs and an upgrade in training equipment for industrial technology programs in HVAC, industrial maintenance, electronics and computer networking.

Merced College ag department faculty, who had occupied offices in a handful of different buildings since the College opened, will now have a central home in the AgIT complex. The complex will also house conference rooms for staff and a dedicated room for agstudent leadership groups. There will be a courtyard area for events and a multi-use room that can accommodate large groups or be split into two classrooms.

https://mercedcountytimes.com/merced-college-breaks-ground-on-new-ag-complex/

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AIM TO EXPAND MANUFACTURING WORKFORCE

In recent years higher-education institutions in Fresno have attempted to evolve and expand to meet the demands of the Central Valley manufacturing industry. According to the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance, the industry employs more than 100,000 residents of the Central Valley and accounts for $15 billion of the area’s gross domestic product.

Over the last decade, educational programs have made great strides to partner with the industry to create the kind of employees they need, said Mike Betts, CEO of the Betts Company in Fresno. “The level of collaboration, cooperation and trusting relationships that have been built in this community over the last 5-10 years is off the charts,” Betts said. “It keeps building on itself to where we are doing remarkable things, it’s a community effort.”

One significant advance was the integration of dual credits for high school manufacturing programs at Fresno City College, said Robert Pimentel, FCC vice president of Educational Services and Institutional Effectiveness. Before late 2015, FCC couldn’t offer dual enrollment to high school students because California state law required any course the college offered must be open to the public. High schools didn’t want their campus to be open to any member of the public in order to offer the courses, Pimentel said.

In October 2015 Assembly Bill 288 changed those rules, and instead of requiring students to spend a semester testing out of courses they took in high school, FCC could offer their courses with college credit for the high school students exclusively. This change allows students to work towards an associates degree in high school and offers students a chance to take college courses for free, Pimentel said. The change also allowed companies to partner more closely in ensuring workers with the skills they need are able to access the right education from a young age, Betts said. “We try to offer a pathway between high school and university, or into the industry,” Pimentel said. “We are using that pathway to close equity gaps for students.”

Educational programs aim to expand manufacturing workforce – The Business Journal

California High-Speed Rail Authority Announces First Graduating Class of Central Valley Training Center in Selma Ready to Work on High-Speed Rail

The first cohort of students has graduated from the Central Valley Training Center in Selma and are equipped with the skills to help build the nation’s first high-speed rail system in California.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority, in partnership with the local Building and Construction Trades Council, Fresno County Economic Development Corporation and Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, recognized the hard work of the first 22 students to complete the 16-week job training program. “This training center opened during a time when the state and the rest of the country looked for ways to expand job opportunities,” said Henry Perea, High-Speed Rail Board Member. “We are proud to continue training and investing in a skilled workforce to help rebuild the economy.”

The pre-apprenticeship training center provides veterans, at-risk young adults and low-income people from the Central Valley with a comprehensive and innovative look into careers in more than 10 different construction trades. The graduates received pre-apprenticeship and hands-on construction training from professional carpenters, cement masons, electricians and other specialists. Students also developed skills that include active listening, teamwork and critical thinking that can be applied at construction sites and in other employment opportunities. “I’ve been in the trades for 34 years and worked with people up and down the state of California, and I would put the tools on and work with any one of these students today,” said Chuck Riojas, executive director of the Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings Building Trades Council. “The Central Valley Training Center is designed to expose students to the trades so they can find what interests them. Once they show an interest in a field, they’re more apt to do better in those apprenticeship programs.”

Students also graduated with more than five industry-specific certificates, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10 and Forklift certifications. Upon completion of the program, the high-speed rail project and its contractors assist all graduating students with job placement. “The program is well worth it,” said Arturo Garza of Selma, a student in the first graduating cohort. “It’s a challenge because a lot of people need to work, but the sacrifice is well worth it because at the end of the day, we get these certifications in hopes to get a high-paying job. A little sacrifice is nothing compared to the reward.”

Since the start of construction, more than 5,000 construction workers have been dispatched to build the high-speed rail system in the Central Valley where there are currently 35 active construction sites. The Authority has doubled construction jobs since 2018, with an average of 1,100 workers a day at construction sites. In addition, more than 570 certified small businesses throughout the state are contributing to the high-speed rail program. For the latest on construction, visit www.buildhsr.com.

Nearly 500 Central Valley residents have applied to take part in the Central Valley Training Center program since its opening last year.

https://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/27903-california-high-speed-rail-authority-announces-first-graduating-class-of-central-valley-training-center-in-selma-ready-to-work-on-high-speed-rail

UC Merced generated $500M in one year for San Joaquin Valley economy, report shows

A report commissioned by UC Merced’s chancellor shows the university has generated thousands of jobs — and hundreds of millions of dollars — for the San Joaquin Valley’s economy. Conducted by international market analysis firm Emsi Inc., the campus’s inaugural economic impact report indicated a total of $514.6 million was contributed to Valley’s economy by the university in fiscal year 2018-19 alone, helping create 5,560 jobs. For Merced County, the university generated $372.9 million and 4,109 jobs. “Like the Merced community, UC Merced is a dynamic institution with change on the horizon as we grow and expand,” Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz said in a news release.

The report looked at how salaries and spending shaped the community, plus how the university generated a return on investments to its major stakeholders — students, taxpayers, and society at large. Students — specifically off-campus students — spent money on groceries, accommodation, transportation, and other household expenses, which contributed $27.4 million to Merced County’s economy and supported 564 jobs countywide. UC Merced’s student population for fall last year was more than 9,000.

The benefits created by UC Merced extend to state and local governments through increased tax revenues and public sector savings. “The university’s reputation and activities attract visitors and students from outside Merced County, whose expenditures benefit county vendors,” part of the report said. “In addition, UC Merced is a primary source of higher education to Merced County residents and a supplier of trained workers to county industries, enhancing overall productivity in the county workforce.”

The university regularly encourages students to volunteer in Merced County, which allowed room for growth for business and organizations, according to the report. As a result, students added $243.9 thousand in earnings to the county’s economy, and student volunteers “generated $368,000 in added income for the county in fiscal year 2018-19,” which is equivalent to supporting 15 jobs. Alumni produced $11.4 million in added income for the county’s economy, which equates to supporting 132 jobs. “This means that one out of every 26 jobs in Merced County is supported by the activities of UC Merced and its students,” the report said. “In addition, the $372.9 million, or 4,109 supported jobs, stemmed from different industry sectors. UC Merced’s spending and alumni in the construction industry sector supported 1,785 jobs in fiscal year 2018-19. These are impacts that would not have been generated without the university’s presence in Merced County.”

Ultimately, the report said the university creates value from multiple perspectives, from benefiting county businesses through consumer spending and supplying qualified and trained workers to different job fields.

https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/education/article248883934.html

Wonderful Real Estate Begins Construction of Amenity, Training Center at Industrial Park in Shafter, California

Wonderful Real Estate Development has started construction of a new corporate office building, conference center, wellness center, amenity center and vocational school at Wonderful Industrial Park (WIP) in Shafter.

Spanning 98,000 square feet, the logistics park is slated for completion in first-quarter 2022. The development will include a 61,000-square-foot corporate office component, a 37,200-square-foot vocational training center and an 8,500-square-foot restaurant café space.

The corporate office space will be home to more than 200 Central Valley employees, including those working for Wonderful Citrus, Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds, Suterra, Pom Wonderful and Wonderful Real Estate Development. Additionally, the office space will provide large meeting rooms that will be available to companies within WIP and the community at-large.

The development’s Wonderful Wellness Center will include a gym, exercise classes, healthy awareness programs and access to a mobile clinic. In addition to Wonderful Company’s developments, Walmart Inc. is nearing the completion of a 630,000-square-foot distribution facility at WIP. The highly automated property is optimized for handling, packaging and shipping food. The facility is located on 65 acres that Walmart acquired from WIP in 2018. The facility is slated to be fully operational by spring 2021.

https://rebusinessonline.com/wonderful-real-estate-begins-construction-of-amenity-training-center-at-industrial-park-in-shafter-california/

For CHSU’s Central Valley students, studying medicine at home is a dream

California Health Sciences University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine is a huge achievement for the Central Valley in itself. But, for the Central Valley natives who can now stay home to study medicine, it makes the upcoming school year even more special.

The 75 medical students making up the class of 2024 got acquainted with the 94,000 square foot campus during a three-day orientation this week. With the building meant to eventually house 600 students — along with faculty and staff — they all will be attending classes in-person with COVID-19 protocols in place.

The college’s dean, Dr. John Graneto, said 36% of the students are from the Central Valley. “We have students from Fresno, Sanger, Stockton, Bakersfield — all throughout the valley who said, ‘I would’ve never had an opportunity to go away to medical school if I had to go far away from my parents,’” Graneto said.

Bakersfield-native Rosie Kumal is one of those students. While she did her undergrad years at UCLA, she knew she had to return to the valley for medical school. Especially after experiencing the region’s health care issues firsthand. “My family always had a hard time finding a doctor, being covered under insurance,” Kumal recalled. “So, with the understanding of that background, I’m really excited to help people here in the Central Valley and give back.”

Matthew Lansman is another Central Valley native part of CHSU’s inaugural class in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. The Fresno State grad was inspired to pursue medicine when he was young, when a surgeon comforted him before starting an operation on his mother, who had breast cancer. “I was sitting in the waiting room, I was thinking, when I grow up I want to be the kind of person that can do the things she just did,” Lansman said. “I was a scared kid that came in this room and she brought so much peace to my life. I want to do that to other people.”

Lansman adds he applied as soon as CHSU opened up applications. He even turned down interviews at other medical schools after CHSU got back to him. Graneto said classes begin Monday at 8 a.m. First thing students will go through is a patient scenario with a primary care doctor.

https://www.yourcentralvalley.com/news/local-news/for-chsus-central-valley-students-studying-medicine-at-home-is-a-dream-2/

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/