Faraday Future Expands Global Hiring After Business Combination

Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (“FF”) (NASDAQ: FFIE), a California-based global shared intelligent mobility ecosystem company, today announced plans to increase its employee headcount significantly over the next 12 months following the Business combination closing in July of this year. New hiring will help support the launch of its ultimate intelligent techluxury all electric flagship vehicle FF 91 in 2022.

“We are looking forward to adding a diverse group of innovative, creative and driven people to our rapidly growing team,” said Global CEO of Faraday Future Carsten Breitfeld. “We now have the capability to significantly grow our company with employees passionate about transforming the auto industry and the future of mobility. For the right candidates, an immense amount of opportunity abounds. I welcome talented and passionate applicants who are motivated to help move the company forward together along with the entire FF team.”

Hiring efforts will focus on filling positions in the areas of manufacturing, engineering, supply chain, design, marketing, brand, sales and other areas, along with the potential of higher-level executive positions. These positions are located out of the company’s three California locations including at FF’s headquarters in Los Angeles, tech-focused offices in Silicon Valley, and the FF 91 manufacturing facility in Hanford. FF will soon announce several key operational-focused executives who are expected to join FF soon. FF is also hiring key-positions for its China operations as it gears up to deliver FF vehicles in that market.

https://www.valdostadailytimes.com/news/business/faraday-future-expands-global-hiring-after-business-combination/article_595be0c7-bbfb-5ab0-a151-a160fd7f5d0e.html

Faraday Future’s Ultimate Intelligent Techluxury FF 91 Validates Production Timeline

Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (“FF”) (NASDAQ: FFIE), a California-based global shared intelligent mobility ecosystem company, today announced that it recently completed a 2,270-mile testing and evaluation journey following the historic Route 66, a highway that crosses numerous U.S. states as it winds its way from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California.

Real world vehicle testing and evaluation, which followed FF’s public listing on Nasdaq last month in NYC, put the ultimate intelligent techluxury FF 91 through multiple tests in various conditions including extreme heat through the desert and on multiple road surfaces including various elevations. The completion of this testing and evaluation of the many vehicle systems, including battery and propulsion components during the 2,270-mile journey further validates FF 91 production timeline.

“This testing journey along historic Route 66 allowed us to put FF 91 through many diverse environments and conditions found only in the central and southwest portions of the U.S. and allowed us to capture real world data on FF 91,” said FF Global CEO Dr. Carsten Breitfeld. “FF’s overall testing and validation strategy will ensure best-in-market performance, safety and user confidence, and to make sure the battery, electric propulsion, chassis, suspension and other vehicle systems perform under these harsh conditions, while also ensuring a smooth and comfortable and connected experience with the driver and passengers in the FF 91.”

The long-distance road test that FF conducted is a great opportunity to evaluate FF’s unique third internet living space concept in real usage scenarios before it begins production next year. Dr. Breitfeld, an engineer by trade, had an integral part of the Route 66 testing and drove much of the trip, he also used the rear intelligent internet system and in-car video conference system from the rear-seat to participate in daily FF meetings along the way.

FF 91 is equipped with interior cameras and microphones that support videoconferencing features. When the Rear Seat Display (RSD) is turned on, users can access their contacts through conferencing applications to keep connected with friends, family, or business associates while on the road. The applications will run natively on the in-vehicle computer and be mirrored to the users’ mobile devices for remote control.

During vehicle testing, engineers logged volumes of data on the vehicle’s chassis, thermal, electric propulsion performance, and all vehicle systems. They also optimized software controls performance and calibrations in real world conditions. This critical work is providing some of the final levels of development on FF 91’s systems, as FF advances to the final stages of its program and a timely launch. In the coming months, FF will build additional pre-production FF 91 vehicles for further testing, vehicle development, improvements, and final readiness for launch in 2022.

The FF 91 Futurist Alliance Edition and FF 91 Futurist models represent the next generation of intelligent internet electric vehicle (EV) products. They are high-performance EVs, all-ability cars, and ultimate robotic vehicles, allowing users to experience the third internet living space. The models also encompass extreme technology, an ultimate user experience and a complete ecosystem.

Both models have an industry-leading 1050 horsepower, a 130kWh battery pack with immersive liquid cooling technology and 0-60 mph performance in 2.4 seconds. In addition, both employ tri-motor torque vectoring and rear wheels independently driven and controlled by dual rear motors. Both models are also equipped with the industry‘s only super AP for internet connection at “light speed”, video streaming on the passenger information display, a rear intelligent internet system, an in-car video conferencing system, intelligent seamless entry, FFID face recognition, multi-touch eyes-free control, and zero gravity rear seats with the industry’s largest seating angle of 150 degrees.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/faraday-future-ultimate-intelligent-techluxury-020200076.html

Merced County kicks off $2.1M expansion on research and test site for autonomous vehicles

Construction kicked off this month on a planned $2.1 million expansion of an autonomous vehicle research and testing site at at Castle Commerce Center. The new expansion will allow vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and innovators to utilize test areas that mimic real-world highway, rural and urban landscapes, according to a Merced County news release.

County officials have touted Castle’s proximity to Silicon Valley and expansive open space as a boon for tech companies like Google that have used the facility to test self-driving vehicles for some years. “This site embodies the future of transportation, and these technology developments are taking place right in our backyards,” Merced County Supervisor Daron McDaniel, whose district encompasses Castle Commerce Center, said in the release. “This project represents real-time job growth and economic development, with enormous potential as it continues to grow.”

Formerly called the California AutoTech Testing and Development Center, the 225-acre site has been renamed to TRC California for Transportation Research Center Inc., for the Ohio-based corporation that assumed facility operations earlier this year. A long-term goal for county officials was to pass facility management to a private third party expert that would take operations to the cutting edge of the developing autonomous vehicle industry. TRC is a leader in automotive testing and innovation that has led the facility’s design improvements, according to the release. “We are building out TRC California to offer a comprehensive, one-stop shop where automotive technology and mobility innovators can test and affirm the performance, safety, quality and competitiveness of new technologies that are changing the face of transportation worldwide,” Brett Roubinek, president and CEO of TRC Inc., said in the release. “TRC is proud to partner with Merced County in this transformation.”

A 2 mile high-speed test track is the subject of the current construction phase by Central Valley-based Avision Construction. Installation of privacy fencing along the perimeter, vehicle barriers and security improvements for confidentiality purposes are also in progress. Work on this protect phase is anticipated to wrap up by Nov. 1. Central Valley-based Precision Civil Engineering is overseeing project engineering and construction management. “We are excited to begin this dramatic new chapter in Merced County’s progress as a focal point for testing and research by the West Coast’s technology-based industries, start-ups and independent innovators,” Mark Hendrickson, Merced County Director of Community and Economic Development, said in the release. “Advances developed here at TRC California will help make transportation safer, more efficient and more environmentally responsible.”

Construction will temporarily impact portions of the facility while other areas remain open for testing, the release said. Also being worked on is a control building and workshop, as well as installation of test equipment. The total project budget is $6.5 million being paid for via funding secured by Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, through the California State Transportation Agency. TRC California has already attracted a number of companies that are actively testing at the facility. Facilities and staffing will keep expanding, including the addition of more roadway complexes, road surfaces and intersections all designed for testing advanced transportation technologies, the release said.

https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/article253687543.html

Solar-powered plane aims to break world record from Fresno Chandler Executive Airport

Taking off from the Fresno Chandler Executive Airport around 6:20 a.m. Wednesday, a production electric aircraft powered by off-grid renewable energy is about to make history. “We’re proving out today, the value of the infrastructure that’s being developed for electric cars has a potential to also electrify aviation, which electric aircraft are here and are coming very rapidly.  More and more are coming into the marketplace,” said Joseph Oldham, Founder, and CEO of New Vision Aviation.

Odham is piloting the solar-powered plane, a Central Valley native, who knows first hand why utilizing these types of aircraft is a step in the right direction — especially in the Valley. “So electric aircraft are feasible today and offer that opportunity to both reduce carbon emissions and also criteria pollutants like naaqs and PM10 or PM2.5 which are a problem for us in our air quality in the San Joaquin Valley on a day to day basis,” said Oldham.

Beam Global specializes in electric vehicles and makes it possible for the plane to fly for about an hour at a time before recharging.  The CEO is proud his company is leading the way for environmentally-friendly aviation. “It’s absolutely groundbreaking.  I mean, first of all, our ability to deploy charging infrastructure in an airport like this without construction, without electric work, that’s an absolute first and then, of course, aviation is a terrible polluter as it stands today,” said Desmond Wheatley, the CEO of Beam Global.

The Pipistrel model aircraft will be stopping to recharge in Madera, Merced, Modesto, and Lodi before touching down and breaking the world record around 10:05 a.m. Thursday at the Sacramento Executive Airport.

https://www.yourcentralvalley.com/news/local-news/solar-powered-plane-aims-to-break-world-record-from-fresno-chandler-executive-airport/

Tehachapi welcomes latest changes to high-speed rail plans

Tehachapi City Hall, once a leading local critic of California’s bullet train project, has tentatively given its blessing to plans released Friday for high-speed rail tracks proposed to connect Bakersfield and Palmdale. City Manager Greg Garrett said Monday that, although he and his staff had not finished reading the entirety of the project’s new environmental review, the California High-Speed Rail Authority appears to have made a number of positive changes in response to the city’s requests. Among the most welcome revisions he said were outlined in a meeting Monday morning between Tehachapi officials and rail authority staff were the introduction of two sections of sound walls, one in the Ash Village area and one near Arabian Estates.

Another improvement he pointed to was the agency’s agreement to lower the bullet train route’s height profile through the Tehachapi area, as well as its pledge to accommodate a station that might one day be built in the city. “At this point we do feel that (the rail authority) has addressed our concerns to the point that we can continue to move forward,” he said. “But we would encourage citizens” to review the latest plans as well, he added. Late Friday afternoon the rail authority issued what it termed the final environmental review of an 80-mile alignment mostly following Highway 58 between a proposed station at F Street and Golden State Avenue in Bakersfield and another in Palmdale. The rail authority’s governing board is scheduled to vote in mid-August on whether to adopt the review.

Maps contained in the document show the route would be built on raised viaducts through most of Bakersfield then come down to surface level through the Edison area. Through the Tehachapi Mountains it would run underground as well as at ground level and on viaducts, then proceed mostly along the surface through the Antelope Valley. The rail authority estimates the route will become operational in 2033 as part of the start of service between San Francisco and Los Angeles. That’s about three years after it expects trains traveling up to 220 mph will connect Merced and Bakersfield. Friday’s release has also renewed calls by the Kern Council of Governments for state cooperation on three portions of the proposed Bakersfield-to-Palmdale alignment.

Executive Director Ahron Hakimi said Kern COG has for years spoken with the rail authority about potentially coordinating work on a grade separation he said would improve safety, congestion and other conditions near Edison Highway and Morning Drive. The idea is that work there will take years to plan and, because it has independent utility, the grade separation could begin ahead of the rail segment’s construction timetable. Another project Hakimi said would benefit from an early start on construction is a grade separation at the intersection of highways 58 and 223 near Bakersfield National Cemetery. Early work there would be helpful because excess dirt from the rail authority’s excavation work through the Tehachapi Mountains could be put to use raising part of the intersection.

Extra lanes for eastbound trucks climbing the Tehachapi Pass represent the third project Kern COG wants to see start early. Hakimi said that project has been under consideration for more than 20 years. No formal agreement has been struck to proceed with those projects ahead of other local work, but a representative of the rail authority said by email Monday the agency is interested in collaborating with local jurisdictions to advance all three efforts “as funding becomes available.”

Money to complete the overall project remains an open question. Although the Biden administration recently freed up nearly $1 billion that had been taken away from the project by the Trump administration, tens of billions of dollars are still needed to complete the work. The Biden administration has talked about dedicating money toward the project but has not finalized funding. Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a vocal supporter of California high-speed rail, has been negotiating recently with state legislators on as much as $4.2 billion in new money for the rail project. “Hopefully we’ll have an update on (those discussions) by the end of the month,” rail authority spokeswoman Toni Tinoco said Monday. Garrett, Tehachapi’s city manager, noted the area receives little to no benefit from the project itself, even as Bakersfield and Palmdale will benefit. That’s why he said the possibility of a station one day in Tehachapi seems appealing. “It’s not something that’s in the plan at all but in the future there may be a possibility, right?” he said.

Rail authority CEO Brian Kelly said in a news release Friday that the new environmental review, which followed the public release of a draft in February 2020 and a revised version one year after that, culminates thoughtful study and collaboration with various agencies and local government leaders, community members and other stakeholders. “With this effort, California will have 300 of the 500-mile high-speed rail system environmentally cleared, paving the way for future construction progress into Los Angeles County,” he wrote.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/tehachapi-welcomes-latest-changes-to-high-speed-rail-plans/article_529dff26-d860-11eb-a5a8-6b9a322534a6.html

Supersonic demonstrator XB-1 to flight tests at Mojave Air and Space Port

Boom Supersonic, the aerospace company building the world’s fastest airliner is partnering with Flight Research, Inc. at Mojave Air and Space Port to do flight test work in the supersonic corridor, located in the restricted airspace known as R-2515. FRI will provide Flight Test Support to Boom with a two-seat, supersonic trainer, for pilot proficiency training as well as a chase aircraft during XB-1’s flight test program.

According to Boom Supersonic website, “XB-1 is the world’s first independently developed supersonic jet and will demonstrate key technologies for Overture, Boom’s commercial airliner, such as advanced carbon fiber composite construction, computer-optimized high-efficiency aerodynamics, and an efficient supersonic propulsion system. XB-1 is the end product of years of development effort, including multiple wind tunnel tests, dozens of structural tests, hundreds of simulation iterations, and tens of thousands of work hours.”

The XB-1 will be disassembled and transported to Mojave, and reassembled in one of FRI hangars located at the Mojave Air and Space Port. Boom will also sub-lease a portion of the FRI Headquarters where they plan on building a custom space to support the SB-1, including a fully instrumented flight test control room and an XB-1 simulator room with cockpit and visual displays.

In a press release, Boom founder and CEO, Blake Scholl said, “Flight Research provides essential equipment and superior facilities at the Mojave Air and Space Port, enabling us to finalize and fly XB-1.” Scott Glaser, senior vice president of Operations at FRI said, “With Boom, we’re presented with an opportunity to partner with a dynamic and ground-breaking organization that is challenging conventional wisdom about flying.” “This will be a new supersonic testing project for us, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Boom to this historic airfield and to outfit a space to meet their needs. We look forward to contributing to the return of supersonic commercial air travel.

A statement in a Boom Supersonic press release from January 2020, “Boom is currently building XB-1, which will help refine the design and engineering of Overture, Boom’s revolutionary supersonic commercial airliner. XB-1 shares key technologies with Overture, such as advanced carbon fiber composites and a refined delta wing planform. Lessons from XB-1 have already helped optimize Overture and will prove in-flight key technologies for safe, efficient travel at supersonic speeds.”

https://www.aerotechnews.com/blog/2021/06/12/supersonic-demonstrator-xb-1-to-flight-tests-at-mojave-air-and-space-port/

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

Arvin potato plant orders Kern’s first microgrid to boost energy resiliency, efficiency

Microgrid technology promising greater energy flexibility and independence arrived in Kern Wednesday with the start of construction on an integrated power generation and storage system at an 1,100-employee ag facility in Arvin. The 5-megawatt solar, natural gas and battery installation Concentric Power Inc. is building at Tasteful Selections’ specialty potato plant will use advanced computer systems to increase efficiency and allow the operation to continue during external disruptions to its power.

Touted as the first such system in the county, the $12 million project kicked off engineering almost a year and a half ago. Solar panels went up between November and January, and the installation is expected to become fully operational by fall, cutting the plant’s power bill by an estimated 40 percent. Microgrids have become more popular in recent years as wider adoption of photovoltaic solar panels and batteries has increased demand for systems that can effectively coordinate them. The idea is to improve energy resilience while also integrating demand for energy with on-site production, shifting resources when necessary to meet real-time needs for electricity.

Senior executives at Tasteful Selections said the project will keep the lights on and refrigerators running when power goes out around the plant, which they said has happened in the past for three or more hours at a time. Losing electricity for even four hours can cause product degradation, they said, and an outage lasting days could cost millions of dollars in damage to the miniature potatoes it washes, stores and packages for shipment. “We always knew we needed to add something” to ensure energy resiliency, said the company’s chief operating officer, Nathan Bender. His father, CEO Bob Bender, said the company expects to pay off the microgrid’s cost within four to five years. Nathan noted the inclusion of natural gas as “firm power” adds a backup source while also producing heat that can be incorporated into the plant’s refrigeration units, thereby offsetting cooling costs.

At a ceremonial gathering Wednesday of dignitaries and employees of both companies, Concentric’s founder and CEO, Brian Curtis, said his Salinas-based organization will be responsible for not only designing and building the microgrid but that it will also maintain and service it for the installation’s lifetime of 25-plus years. It is the company’s first such project in the Central Valley. Its other installations are in the Salinas and Silicon valleys, Curtis said, adding that the biggest of its projects is a 5.3-megawatt microgrid in the Monterey area.

Concentric’s software and controls choose which energy source to use in real time, he explained. Such decisions are based on an understanding of the plant’s critical, essential and non-essential functions, he said: Certain compressors and fans may be turned on or off as needed, with respect for their operational tolerances. Curtis said Concentric hopes to build additional microgrids serving industrial ag processors in the Central Valley. The company expects to open an office in or near Bakersfield, possibly near Meadows Field Airport, within three to six months. “We’ve got a lot of good traction here and we’re excited to be coming to Kern,” Curtis said. The Central Valley “is just a huge market for what we’re doing.” The company works on large scales and doesn’t expect to serve residential needs, he said, adding, “This isn’t the kind of thing you’d put on your house.”

Tasteful Selections at 13003 Di Giorgio Road has expanded physically three times since starting in 2010. The Benders said the company now supplies half the U.S. market for small, specialty potatoes and is now the biggest such company in the country, if not the world.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/arvin-potato-plant-orders-kerns-first-microgrid-to-boost-energy-resiliency-efficiency/article_428fd7e6-8cdc-11eb-97b9-b73ab67b6853.html

How California’s Central Valley is working to become tech hot spot

MODESTO, Calif. — Alejandro Alcazar had worked as a digital marketing coordinator for about a year when he discovered an interest in coding.

“I grew really interested in computer programming through messing with our (company) website and learning a lot about data science,” he said.

Alcazar has a degree in business administration, but he wasn’t using those skills in his job. Still, he didn’t know enough about web development to secure a position in the industry. That’s when he learned about classes at Bay Valley Tech, a Modesto-based coding school.

The 24-year-old enrolled in early 2020, and, after completing the seven-month program, got a job as a business intelligence analyst for a winery.

In his new job, Alcazar said he uses skills he developed at Bay Valley Tech to work with the company’s internal dashboards that show product and demographic data, as well as its search engine. His pay also increased by more than 30% in his new role.

Workers like Alcazar aren’t the only ones wanting to capitalize on the benefits of the tech industry. If a city can retain its tech workers, it can usually count on a boost to the local economy and an influx of other businesses and professionals such as lawyers and accountants.

But keeping tech workers local requires innovation and incentive, as leaders across Stanislaus County in California’s Central Valley are finding out.

Compared with other industries, the tech sector has remained competitive in the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote work has become the new normal, and the tech industry was quick to adapt, expanding flexible work policies into post-pandemic times.

Now, office parks sit empty and cities and corporations must grapple with the changing nature of office work and all the possibilities it brings.

Less than two hours east of the Bay Area, the Central Valley isn’t exactly known as a tech hub. Agriculture, logistics and manufacturing dominate the area; the region is home to the world’s largest commercial winery and farms that feed the nation.

The workforce reflects that too — only 17% of Stanislaus County residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, Census data shows. Given that, it may not be surprising that Modesto, the county’s largest city, has no four-year university of its own.

The “skills gap” in the workforce is only widening. Local high schools and colleges have struggled to keep up as the economy evolves to favor more tech-forward industries.

Tech firms bypass Central Valley
As local talent pools dry up, Silicon Valley companies looking to expand have often picked other states. such as Texas and Idaho, instead of the county next door.

“There’s such a shortage of tech workers in the Bay Area right now that virtually every large tech firm has already expanded out of state looking for more talent,” said Phillip Lan, co-founder of Bay Valley Tech, a local coding academy. “Unfortunately, the vast majority of them have stepped over the Central Valley, just because they don’t feel like there’s enough of a technical workforce here yet.”

Lan and his team are trying to change that. Bay Valley Tech offers free and low-cost coding classes to students in a variety of web-based development languages, providing hands-on training through lessons, events like hackathons, and networking opportunities.

So far, Lan said, Bay Valley Tech has trained more than 150 students and is on pace to reach 300 in 2021. But his goals are set higher.

“Our strategy is that if we train enough people here in the Central Valley, that’ll start to get the attention of these larger tech companies like Uber, Airbnb and Google,” he said. “We’re looking to build out Bay Valley (Tech’s) expertise sector by sector.”

In the past, tech hub development depended in part on the physical infrastructure a city could provide — like Silicon Valley’s history of making computer chips and Austin’s decades-long infrastructure support for its tech industry. But with the pandemic’s new normal and the majority of Silicon Valley’s big tech firms building virtual products, physical space is no longer at a premium.

Focus is on training workers
Instead, Bay Valley Tech and other organizations in the Central Valley are focusing on training employees who can accept remote jobs from Bay Area-based companies or work in satellite offices closer to home.

Daisy Mayorga leads the local chapter of Google’s Women Techmakers, aimed at providing community and resources for women in the industry. She said it’s critical that women and other underrepresented groups in tech are seen and heard by potential employers.

“When people start to see that, you’ll see more businesses start to open and more people start to want to start their own software companies,” she said.

In addition to jobs related to software, Modesto is trying to attract employers who build hardware. The VOLT Institute, a trade school focused on maintenance mechanics and mechatronics, recently acquired new equipment to train workers.

Kevin Fox, director of marketing and student engagement at VOLT, said the pandemic has taught the staff that improving workers’ skills is crucial, especially when employers are “desperate to bring anybody who is qualified with the proper skill set on to fill those positions that are vacant.”

Alcazar agrees.

He said the Central Valley has plenty of residents who are hungry for these kinds of opportunities.

“There are young people here that are just dying to get a good job and try something creative and useful,” he said. “Something that benefits a community.”

Source: Kristina Karisch covers economic development for The Modesto Bee. This dispatch is part of a series called “On the Ground” with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Follow her on Twitter: @kristinakarisch

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/03/11/how-californias-central-valley-working-become-tech-hot-spot-column/6936506002/

California Dreaming: Fresno company makes tech industry training, jobs accessible to everyone

You may not think of California’s Central Valley as the place for up-and-coming talent in the technology industry, but one company is looking to change that. Bitwise Industries, based in Fresno, is breaking down the idea of what the tech workforce looks like and making sure training and jobs are accessible to everyone, no matter their background.

Irma Olguin Jr. and Jake Soberal co-founded the workforce development company. Olguin says her family came to Central Valley to work in agriculture, “My immigrant family moved here to follow the crops-a family of field laborers. And, in my own way, I found my way to the technology industry. I ended up in a job that just profoundly changed my life and existence and the opportunity that I saw in front of me.” Soberal also comes from an immigrant family that had their lives changed by the technology industry and one television commercial, “There was an ad for something called the ‘Computer Learning Center.’ That was what ultimately led to my dad becoming a computer programmer, which was an inflection point in his life and then, by consequence, in my life.

Together, the pair is trying to change the face of tech in California. “The technology industry has historically excluded folks who come from non-white ethnic groups, excluded non-straight individuals, excluded non-male individuals, and on and on,” says Soberal. “What that does is, it creates barriers to that opportunity for most people.”

Bitwise uses a radically different system of training to target underrepresented groups — they pay students to attend classes. “When you are coming from a story of, whether it’s systemic poverty or generational disenfranchisement, the thing that you can’t afford to do is to work for free or trade your time for an education that may or may not result in a job,” says Olguin. “So, we mash those things together in a way that has really afforded these folks the opportunity for the very first time to spend their time on something that may pay back dividends to them, their families, their communities and generations following.”

One of those students is Miguel Hernandez, who spent time in prison for burglary, “I had some trouble with the law when I was younger. It kind of started off in high school, you know, with hanging out with the wrong crowd. That’s when I started getting introduced to robbing houses.” While behind bars, Hernandez decided to turn his life around, “I got a short-term internship at Habitat for Humanity. When that had ended, that’s when Stephanie from Bitwise had handed out a flyer, and they called me, and they’re like, ‘Hey, we know you’re interested in tech, did you want to try this class out? It’s free for people who have been previously incarcerated people who have misdemeanors or felonies.’ Going into that class, at first, I felt alienated until I realized that everyone else there is like me, you know, we’re all the same people, all the same stories, you know?”

Olguin says that chance to reinvent yourself is the California dream. “For me, when I think about the dream, I think about folks who look like me, folks who come from similar backgrounds, folks who are typically from underserved and underrepresented populations, having the chance of whatever it is they want to do right here in California.” Soberal says that the California dream isn’t dead but concedes, “It is not having its best decade. We can do so much better, and there are now hundreds and even thousands of folks that have come through our doors at Bitwise, that are a testament to exactly that.”

Hernandez is grateful for places like Bitwise that help make the Golden State a better place to live. “After had got my felony, I thought it was over,” said Hernandez. “It’s a beautiful feeling knowing that there are people who care for us out there, giving us a second chance that we all deserve.”

https://abc7news.com/california-tech-jobs-representation-in-technology-fresno-bitwise-industries-training/10367619/