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/

ELECTRIC VEHICLE FAST CHARGERS NOW AVAILABLE ON CENTRAL CA HIGHWAYS

Electric vehicle (EV) drivers now have more fast-charging options along state highways in Central California — including at the popular Tejon Pass Rest Area near the Los Angeles/Kern County line — with the installation of 22 new EV fast chargers at nine locations by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). “Fast chargers are essential to continue growing EV adoption in California and meeting our state’s goals for combating climate change,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “Expanding the availability of convenient fast-charging stations along state highways is significant for the future of California transportation.”

The Level 3 DC fast chargers provide an approximate 80 percent charge in 30 minutes to EVs with fast-charging capability. The chargers have universal connectors and are able to serve all EVs on the market, including Teslas with an adapter. Charging is free with no time limit. “With four new EV fast chargers at the Tejon Pass Rest Area on Interstate 5, and 18 others staggered approximately 40 miles apart, Caltrans has reduced recharging concerns for plug-in EV drivers on long-distance trips through the Central Valley,” said District 7 Director Tony Tavares, whose district includes Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

According to the California Air Resources Board, 70 percent of California transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions come from light-duty vehicles, including passenger cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks. “This project is a tremendous example of how public agencies can collaborate with the private sector to fill gaps in the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) market,” said Tyson Eckerle, Deputy Director of ZEV Market Development at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). “More chargers throughout the state will help to incentivize the purchase of EVs, getting us closer to Governor Newsom’s goal of 100 percent ZEV sales by 2035.”

The Tejon Pass Rest Area is about 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 40 miles south of Bakersfield and is a popular stopping point for drivers traveling along I-5. The four new fast chargers are located on the southbound side of the interstate. Motorists traveling north on I-5 can exit at the Lebec off-ramp to Lebec Road, which loops over the highway, to access the fast chargers, including one that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Other New Locations:

  • Junction Route 58/Route 184 in Bakersfield
  • Caltrans Maintenance Station on Route 41 and next to I-5 in Kettleman City
  • Caltrans Maintenance Station, 805 S. Lexington St., next to Route 99 in Delano
  • C.H. Warlow Rest Area NB/SB Route 99 in Kingsburg
  • Philip S. Raine Rest Area at SB Route 99 near Tulare
  • Philip S. Raine Rest Area at NB Route 99 near Tulare
  • Caltrans District 6 Office, 1283 N. West Ave., next to Route 99 in Fresno
  • Caltrans Maintenance Station, 125 W. Almond Ave., next to Route 99 in Madera

The $4.5 million project is funded by Caltrans and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District in Fresno. The prime contractor is Cal Valley Construction of Fresno. BTCPower (Broadband TelCom Power, Inc.) of Santa Ana provided and installed the DC EV Fast Chargers with assistance from electrical subcontractor CSI (Civil Substations, Inc.) of Clovis. Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison are the electrical service providers. In addition to the new chargers in the Central Valley, Caltrans has six Level 3 DC fast chargers in San Diego County, two in Monterey County and one in San Luis Obispo County, and two Level 2 charging stations in Napa County and three in Contra Costa County – all available to the public.

The U.S. Department of Energy has a searchable database on public alternative fuel stations in California and nationwide. Motorists can find real-time traffic information and rest area locations at Caltrans’ Quickmap by clicking on the Options menu.    Caltrans reminds drivers to “Be Work Zone Alert” and to “Slow for the Cone Zone.”

https://www.edhat.com/news/electric-vehicle-fast-chargers-now-available-on-central-ca-highways#:~:text=Electric%20vehicle%20(EV)%20drivers%20now%20have%20more%20fast-charging,locations%20by%20the%20California%20Department%20of%20Transportation%20(Caltrans).

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

Faraday Future to List on NASDAQ Through Merger With Property Solutions Acquisition Corp. With Estimated $1 Billion in Proceeds

  • Merger to provide an estimated $1.0 billion of gross proceeds to Faraday Future (“FF”), including $230 million in cash held by PSAC in trust assuming no redemptions and an upsized $775 million fully committed common stock PIPE at $10.00 per share.
  • Transaction is expected to fully fund the production of class defining ultimate-performance luxury electric FF 91 within 12 months of transaction close. This transaction also supports the future development of the company’s unique I.A.I system (Internet, Autonomous Driving, Intelligence).
  • FF has adopted a global hybrid manufacturing strategy consisting of its manufacturing facility in Hanford, California and a contract manufacturing partner in South Korea. FF 91 brings to market class-leading luxury and ultimate performance supported by nearly 900 filed or issued patents globally for its Variable Platform Architecture, Propulsion system, and Advanced Internet, Autonomous Driving and Intelligence (I.A.I.) technology.
  • Estimated post transaction equity value of approximately $3.4 billion; combined company to be named Faraday Future Inc. and will trade under the new ticker symbol “FFIE” with transaction close expected in Q2 2021.
  • PIPE anchor investors include leading institutional shareholders from the U.S. and Europe, a Top 3 Chinese OEM, and a Tier-1 city in China.
  • Noted SPAC Sponsor, Riverside Management Group (RMG), is serving as financial partner and advisor to PSAC.
  • All existing Faraday Future shareholders, including management, are rolling all of their equity.
  • https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210128005488/en/Faraday-Future-to-List-on-NASDAQ-Through-Merger-With-Property-Solutions-Acquisition-Corp.-With-Estimated-1-Billion-in-Proceeds