Category: Top Stories

How to Meet Workforce Demands? Duncan Poly Leads the Way.

For years, there has been a nationwide shortage of workers in vocational and technical careers, largely caused by society adopting a more college-going culture.

According to Adecco, an estimated 31 million career tech jobs will be left vacant by the year 2020 due to Baby Boomer retirements.

Portrait of Bob Nelson

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city of Fresno and the Central Valley. If this is the thing of stuff to come, I am incredibly proud of this start.” — Bob Nelson, superintendent of Fresno Unified

Fresno Unified, the fourth-largest school district in California, is working to change the narrative of career tech and the looming worker shortage.

The district showcased its efforts last Thursday with an open house displaying $12 million worth of improvements to CTE facilities at Duncan Polytechnical High School.

New Heavy Trucks Facility

Perhaps the biggest upgrade is a new, 10,000-square foot heavy trucks facility large enough to fit eight semi-trucks.

“It’s the first of its kind in the nation,” said Vanessa Ramirez, Fresno Unified’s public information officer. “The facility provides the most modern equipment for preparing students for jobs in the Valley’s growing transport industry.”

Ramirez said students in the school’s heavy truck maintenance and repair program will utilize the facility. To ensure it met the needs of employers, Fresno Unified worked closely with industry partners on designs, she said.

This Has Been Needed For a Long Time

Hugo Rodriguez, the service manager at Fresno Truck Center, hopes the new facility is the first of many local high schools will construct for students.

“It is 20 years (late), but it is a great start,” Rodriguez said. “I am anxious to see what kind of kids we can get out of the program.”

Rodriguez said he’s also concerned about how many students he can get to fill vacant positions.

“The trades died out of the high schools years ago, and we’ve struggled for years finding technicians to come in and fill the voids,” Rodriguez said. “This facility is definitely needed.”

The district also expanded Duncan’s existing facilities in manufacturing and construction technology, automotive, welding and fabrication.

Students Give Thumbs-Up

To fund the work, the district utilized $7 million from Measure Q — a $280 million bond measure passed in 2010 — along with $5.2 million from a California Career Technical Education Facilities Program grant.

“In addition to better serving the Duncan students we already have, we absolutely expect attendance will grow from here for all of our Duncan pathways.” — Amy Idsvoog, Fresno Unified’s interim chief information officer

With the new improvements, Josiah Montijo said he’s not worried about whether he’ll be adequately prepared for a career in programming.

“(The improvements) will prepare you for your career or for any job you are trying to go into,” said Montijo, a senior in the school’s manufacturing pathway. “I don’t think I would be as prepared if I didn’t come to Duncan.”

Nathaniel Martinez said the new and updated facilities will definitely help him expand his knowledge in Duncan’s construction pathway.

“Previously, we were working in little portable classrooms and using the construction site that we already had to do anything that we needed,” said Martinez, a junior. “This new building is going to help us expand out more and attract new students.”

Return On Investment

There are 1,048 students at Duncan. Amy Idsvoog, Fresno Unified’s interim chief information officer, said the district is hoping the new improvements will help increase enrollment to 1,400 students in the next three to four years.

Seeing the new equipment and taking in the aroma of gas and oil reminded Trustee Veva Islas of the days she spent with her father, who was an agricultural mechanic.

“(My father) would have been so excited to have been a student here,” said Islas, who represents the area in which Duncan is located. “I am excited for those that are going to have the opportunity to come to this program, and just really have a fantastic experience.”

“I think the improvements are incredible. I think we should duplicate it in other areas.” — Brooke Ashjian, former Fresno Unified trustee

Once-In-a-Lifetime Opportunity

With all the new upgrades, Esli Cardenas said she is confident she will develop the skills necessary to land her dream job at Vanir Construction Management.

“It will definitely help me in the future, and hopefully I can start my own private business and build companies and more buildings like what we have here,” said Cardenas, a senior in Duncan’s construction pathway.

Superintendent Bob Nelson said the new facilities at Duncan is about opening doors.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city of Fresno and the Central Valley,” Nelson said. “If this is the thing of stuff to come, I am incredibly proud of this start.”

More CTE in the Pipeline

Former Fresno Unified trustee Brooke Ashjian was instrumental in boosting career technical education during his four years on the board. Seeing his vision come to life at Duncan, he said, is satisfying.

“I think the improvements are incredible,” Ashjian said. “I think we should duplicate them in other areas.”

That’s just what Fresno Unified plans to do, Idsvoog said.

The district, she said, has been approved for state grant funding, requiring a local funding match for CTE facilities at Fresno, Hoover, and McLane high schools.

Idsvoog said the district has also applied for funding for CTE facilities at Edison and Sunnyside high schools.

Such projects, Idsvoog said, are pending future board approval. She said the local match would likely come from Measure X construction bonds.

https://gvwire.com/2019/03/25/how-to-meet-workforce-demands-duncan-poly-leads-the-way/

Here’s why Foster Farms will be adding new jobs at its Livingston chicken plant

Foster Farms employee’s protest for better wages, affordable insurance, new contract
Employees at the Foster Farms Livingston chicken plant protested on Thursday, April 27, 2017, for better wages, affordable insurance and a new labor union contract. (Monica Velez/mvelez@mercedsun-star.com) 

Central Valley EDCs Partner with Workforce Collaborative to Boost Business

For Immediate Release

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark Hendrickson, Chairman of Internal Affairs, CCVEDC Board of Directors

Phone: 209-385-7686

February 1, 2019

MERCED ­- California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation (CCVEDC) announced today it will receive a $50,000 contract with the Central California Workforce Collaborative (CCWC) in a collaborative effort to boost effectiveness in serving employers.

“This is a historic partnership between workforce and economic development in an area that encompasses a quarter of California.”  stated Lee Ann Eager, CCVEDC Chairman of External Affairs. “The Central Valley is a rapidly expanding region for business, and workforce is the number one factor in business success and longevity.”

The business engagement program will use existing economic development networks to deliver information on workforce programs, tax incentives and other resources that can maximize the competitiveness of businesses and the productivity of the local workforce and increase regional economic prosperity.

“The CCVEDC is proud to work hand in hand with our workforce development partners,” stated Mark Hendrickson, Chairman of Internal Affairs.  “This contract not only solidifies our collaborative relationship but also strengthens our position as California’s leading location for economic development opportunities.”

CCWC is comprised of eight (-8-) local Workforce Development Boards representing ten (-10-) counties of Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Mono, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare.

CCVEDC is a not-for-profit Corporation supported by the 8-county region in the Central Valley, PG&E and Central Calif/Central Mother Lode Regional Consortium (CRC) Partnership, whose mission is to attract and retain jobs and investment in the Central San Joaquin Valley counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern. For more information,  www.centralcalifornia.org.

Report: California tops $50 Billion in ag revenue

Central Valley Business TImes

January 8, 2019

  • Nearly 6 percent higher than in 2017
  • “These are still exciting times for agriculture”

California’s farmers and ranchers had more than $50 billion in cash receipts for their output last year, an increase of almost 6 percent compared to 2016, according to the new California Agricultural Statistics Review for crop year 2017. That is nearly double the next highest state, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The Number 2 state is Iowa, followed by Texas, Nebraska and Minnesota. Seven out of the top ten counties for agricultural output value are in the Central Valley: California’s agricultural abundance includes more than 400 commodities.

Over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California. California is the leading state for cash farm receipts, accounting for over 13 percent of the nation’s total agricultural value. The top producing commodities for 2017 include: Dairy products, milk — $6.56 billion Grapes— $5.79 billion Almonds— $5.60 billion Strawberries— $3.10 billion Cattle and calves — $2.53 billion Lettuce— $2.41 billion Walnuts— $1.59 billion Tomatoes— $1.05 billion Pistachios— $1.01 billion Broilers— $939 million.

“As you know, farming and ranching can be a tough business. But these are still exciting times for agriculture,” says Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture in the report.

“As we move further into the 21st Century we see a worldwide demand for food that is growing rapidly, and a corresponding demand for Californiagrown products that will bring tremendous opportunity for producers able to maintain sustainability in the face of climate change.”

California agricultural exports totaled $20.56 billion for 2017. Top commodities for export in 2017 included almonds, dairy and dairy products, pistachios, wine and walnuts.

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/a854fb07-0e00-4ef3-8c8b-cfc37345e907.pdf

Bitwise gets grant for job readiness program

Central Valley Business Times 

December 19, 2018

• James Irvine Foundation ponies up $350,000

 • “Unexpected people and places have huge contributions to make”

Bitwise Industries Inc. of Fresno says it has received a two-year grant of $350,000 from the James Irvine Foundation to help pay for its Geekwise Academy web developer job readiness programs.

The programs train unemployed and underemployed workers in the San Joaquin Valley for middle-wage jobs in the tech industry.

“The assumption that to be successful in technology, you must be a computer scientist in the Silicon Valley with a degree from a high-profile university, is one that has kept people in the Central Valley from exploring computer programming as a career,” says Irma Olguin Jr., co-founder and CEO, Bitwise  Industries. “We know that, if given an opportunity, unexpected people and places have huge contributions to make to the technology industry.”

One of the biggest problems facing the tech industry is the inabilityto find talent fast enough to keep up with demand. The purpose of Geekwise, theeducational arm of Bitwise, is to train software developers in Fresno. To date,Geekwise says it has educated 3,500 students and intentionally cultivated astudent population that is more than 50 percent female, 50 percent minority and20 percent first-generation immigrant.

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/3834d3d7-5da2-43f5-aa83-1088bc4a2dc0.pdf

The Wonderful Co. raises minimum wage to $15 per hour

PREVPREVIOUSROBERT PRICE: The man who literally cleared the way for the …

  • BY JOSEPH LUIZ jluiz@bakersfield.com
  • Dec 19, 2018

Employees at Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds in Lost Hills clap on Wednesday after hearing that full-time employees will be getting a $15 minimum wage starting Jan. 1. Courtesy photo

Employees at Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds in Lost Hills clap on Wednesday after hearing that full-time employees will be getting a $15 minimum wage starting Jan. 1. 

The Wonderful Co. announced on Wednesday that it is increasing its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all its full-time California employees as of Jan. 1.

The change will give more than 2,000 of its employees a 36 percent jump in pay, as the company currently pays a minimum wage of $11 an hour. The company said the increase marks an $80 million investment in its workers across all of its divisions and is the largest wage increase in company history.

The move comes as the state is working toward a $15-an-hour minimum wage by 2022. Gov. Jerry Brown approved a law in 2016 that steadily increases the minimum wage by a dollar every year, from $10 to $15.

“This substantial investment in our workers will have an immediate and meaningful impact on their lives,” co-owner Lynda Resnick said. “In addition to providing our Central Valley employees and their families free health care and education, we are now able to help them achieve a significantly improved standard of living.”

The company said employees were notified of the pay increase on Wednesday during meetings at some of the company’s facilities in the county.

“It felt like: Is this really happening?” said Julio Roja, who works as a forklift driver for Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds in Lost Hills. “We were just in shock. Everybody was happy.”

Roja said he thinks the wage increase is going to make a difference not just for his co-workers but for their families as well.

“I feel like it was a good thing they’re doing. I’m excited for everything that’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s going to make a big difference for my family, and for all of us. This is good news for everybody.”

Fellow employee Yesenia Osornio said the wage increase is just one way the company has shown support for its employees and their families.

“It’s a great company to work for, not only for the wages but the charter schools, scholarships and other things that they do,” she said.

Company officials said full-time employees who make more than the benchmark $15 per hour also will benefit with higher wages; however, it’s unclear what the amount might be or when it might happen.

Dave Szeflin, executive vice president of Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds, was excited to see the response the announcement about the increase would get from employees.

“What we’re trying to do is make The Wonderful Company the employer of choice in the Valley, and this is a big step in getting us there,” he said.

Szeflin said he hopes other Kern County companies will follow The Wonderful Co.’s example, but said that is unlikely to happen immediately.

“I don’t think we’re going to see anything in the next few weeks,” he said. “It takes some time to figure out the logistics.”

Wednesday’s announcement caught some industry insiders off guard.

“It certainly surprised us,” said Jeff Huckaby, president and CEO of Grimmway Farms, a leading agricultural company in Kern County. “We currently are evaluating the potential impact and what it means for the future.”

Huckaby said his company will continue to offer their workforce competitive wages and benefits that allow for a sustainable future. He cautioned about equating Grimmway to other ag companies, as it’s not an “apples to apples” comparison.

“Wonderful operates at the higher end of the industry spectrum … higher earnings, higher margins,” he said. “That’s not our business model.”

Bolthouse Farms, another leading agricultural company in Kern County, didn’t return a request for comment on Wednesday

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/the-wonderful-co-raises-minimum-wage-to-per-hour/article_ce450db0-03f9-11e9-b783-7f0b989ff19d.html

UC Merced working to open new management school

UC Merced is growing and changing and one of the biggest changes will be a new standalone business and management school.By Nathalie GrandaFriday, December 14, 2018 04:18PMMERCED, Calif. (KFSN) –UC Merced is growing and changing and one of the biggest changes will be a new standalone business and management school.

The university is working to create a new interdiscplinary school, one that university officials are calling the “management school of the future”.

“We’re taking existing programs, putting them together and focusing them together on this complex system,” Gallo School Planning Initiative Director Paul Maglio said.

The new Gallo school will bring together educators from the schools of engineering, natural sciences and humanities to teach students under one main focus. The university is already known for its focus on research and science, and the new school will be incorporating those science components into their program.

“In a business school, you tend to focus on profit. In natural resources you tend to focus on the planet. In cognitive science, you tend to focus on people. We’re bringing all that together to have a sustained focus all at the same time,” Maglio said.

The university’s Ernest & Julio Gallo School of Management already has graduate business programs.

Graduate student Taylor Fugere said the science-based business program is what drew her to UC merced, and she’s hopes a new school will bring more interested students.

“I think UC merced moving in that more specialized direction is going to be really helpful in people being able to explore different career options, and being able to have more opportunities for a hands-on educational experience.”

The process will take a few years. Ultimately, the new school will need to be reviewed and approved by several campus administrators, and the University of California regents. University officials hope to have the school in place by 2021.

https://abc30.com/education/uc-merced-working-to-open-new-management-school/4898598/

UC Merced is ‘University of the Year’

UC Merced Education Dive

Credit: UC Merced

UC Merced has been selected as Education Dive’s “University of the Year.”

UC Merced is no stranger to innovation and disrupting traditional modes in higher education.

Whether it is funding the university’s Merced 2020 Project through an unprecedented, award-winning public-private partnership or making a University of California education accessible to first-generation and underrepresented students, UC Merced has established itself as a top-notch university.

These efforts have led Education Dive to name UC Merced “University of the Year” in their 2018 Dive Awards. The awards are designed to honor the industry’s top disruptors and innovators.

“We are honored to have been selected as University of the Year and appreciate the recognition of being an innovator in higher education,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. “Building the future in the heart of California continues to be our mission, and I am excited for what is in store for the university.”

Winners were chosen by the editors of Education Dive based on resonance and industry impact. The digital news outlet solicited suggestions for nominees from its nearly 180,000 readers.

“The newest University of California campus is no underdog,” said Hallie Busta, editor at Education Dive: Higher Ed. “With a massive expansion underway and continued improvement in student outcomes, it has moved quickly to give the system solid footing in the state’s Central Valley.”

UC Merced is in the midst of a $1.3 billion expansion project that will double the size of the campus. Phase 2 of the three-phase Merced 2020 Project opened in August, with two new residence halls providing 700 new student beds and first-floor classrooms, a 600-seat multipurpose dining facility and a soccer field. Phase 2 will be completed in Fall 2019 and the final phase, which includes a conference center, a Biosafety Level 3 lab to study infectious diseases, and a competition-level swimming pool, among other buildings, will be unveiled in Fall 2020.

UC Merced’s student population includes more than 73 percent who are the first in their family to attend college — double the national average and by far the highest of any UC campus. Nearly 55 percent of UC Merced’s students are Hispanic, and nine in 10 students receive financial aid. Earlier this fall, UC Merced ranked second in the nation in outperforming expected graduation rates by U.S. News and World Report.

So Long Silicon Valley, Hello Heartland: Top 10 Markets and Neighborhoods to Watch in 2019

The hot markets that drove U.S. housing in recent years (we’re looking at you, coastal tech hubs) will give way in 2019 to a new group of affordable, young, opportunity-filled, desirable – and largely inland – cities primed to drive growth in the years to come.

Of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, Trulia identified 10 that we think are poised for takeoff, based on the following five key metrics:

  • Job growth over the past year, as a measure of a robust economy.
  • Vacancy rates, as an indicator that housing supply does not exceed demand.
  • Good starter-home affordability, as a signal that first-time home buyers stand a chance at buying a home.
  • More inbound than outbound home searches on Trulia, as a gauge that more people are interested in that market than those looking to leave.
  • A large share of the adult population under the age of 35, which represents more potential first-time buyers.

These are the markets to watch. So long Silicon Valley, and hello Heartland:

Trulia’s Top 10 Housing Markets to Watch in 2019
# U.S. Metro Y-o-Y Job Growth (Rank) Vacancy Rate (Rank) Share of Income Needed
to Afford Median Priced Starter Home (Rank)
Ratio of Inbound-to-Outbound Home Searches on Trulia (Rank) Share of Population Under 35 (Rank) Overall Score
1 Colorado Springs, Colo. 3.3% (8) 4.8% (35) 35.4% (63) 1.8 (17) 23.6% (8) 26.2
2 Grand Rapids, Mich. 2.0% (22) 3.7% (16) 23.2% (34) 1.1 (41) 21.7% (30) 28.6
3 Jacksonville, Fla. 2.0% (24) 4.2% (26) 23.4% (35) 2.4 (7) 20.7% (52) 28.8
4 Bakersfield, Calif. 0.6% (56) 6.4% (68) 14.3% (6) 2.3 (8) 23.1% (12) 30.0
5 Austin, Texas 2.5% (14) 3.4% (12) 45.0% (79) 1.1 (47) 24.4% (4) 31.2
6 Fresno, Calif. 1.6% (32) 3.5% (13) 47.1% (81) 1.6 (22) 22.6% (16) 32.8
7 Phoenix, Ariz. 2.9% (9) 4.0% (20) 33.7% (59) 1.3 (32) 20.9% (47) 33.4
8 Columbia, S.C. 0.4% (69) 6.1% (63) 13.7% (5) 2.1 (12) 22.3% (20) 33.8
9 El Paso, Texas 1.0% (51) 5.5% (48) 33.5% (58) 2.4 (6) 23.2% (11) 34.8
10 Oklahoma City, Okla. 2.0% (20) 6.9% (76) 21.1% (27) 1.3 (33) 22.3% (21) 35.4
Note: Rankings from among the 100 largest metros.

Strong employment growth and a large share of young residents helped put Colorado Springs, Colo. at the top of the list of markets to watch (the area ranked in the top 10 of the largest 100 metros for both metrics). After topping last year’s list, Grand Rapids, Mich., came in second this year, with employment growth and low vacancy rates contributing to its strong performance. Jacksonville, Fla., is third due in large part to its strong inbound-to-outbound search ratio. Two Central California markets – Bakersfield and Fresno, the lowest-priced California housing markets among the largest 100 metros – also made the list this year.

Keen-eyed readers will notice a few things in common amongst the 2019 stars on this list. It does include a couple well-known growth areas including Phoenix, Ariz., and Austin, Texas. But it also highlights markets relatively close to more-expensive metros, but far enough away to offer their own attractions and opportunities without many of the mounting affordability concerns that mark those marquee names. Think Colorado Springs instead of Denver, and Bakersfield and Fresno instead of Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

We also identified the hottest neighborhoods in these markets, based on both local price appreciation and how quickly homes are flying off the market.

Hottest Neighborhoods By Metro
# Housing Markets to Watch Hottest Neighborhood Y-o-Y Change in Home Values (Rank) Median Days on Market (Rank) Y-o-Y Change in Days on Market (Rank)
1 Colorado Springs, Colo. Southeast Colorado Springs 12.6% (1) 42.2 (1) -12.0 (6)
2 Grand Rapids, Mich. Alger Heights 16.2% (3)  46.5 (4) -8.5 (4)
3 Jacksonville, Fla. Normandy Estate 13.2% (8) 56.8 (10) -21.5 (19)
4 Bakersfield, Calif. Northeast Bakersfield  7.2% (4) 56.5 (4)  -30.0 (3)
5 Austin, Texas Southeast 16.0% (4) 43.0 (5) -5.0 (24)
6 Fresno, Calif. Mclane 9.8% (3) 52.8 (2) -12.8 (1)
7 Phoenix, Ariz. Agritopia 14.6% (1) 48 (34) -18.0 (23)
8 Columbia, S.C. South Kilbourne 14.5% (2) 69.5 (3) -59.3 (1)
9 El Paso, Texas Album Park  7.9% (2) 82 (3) 1.0 (15)
10 Oklahoma City, Okla. The Village  5.7% (5) 46.5 (1) -19.3 (3)
Note: Rankings for housing markets to watch from among the 100 largest metros.

While there will certainly be local bright spots like the ones we’ve identified, in general we expect 2019 to be a year of moderation and continued transition in the U.S. housing market. After several years of breakneck appreciation following the end of the housing recession, the latter half of 2018 may have marked a turning point and the beginning of a return to more normalcy and balance in the market. Next year will continue to bring more sanity to the market for home buyers frustrated by years of stiff competition and chronically low inventory. But affordability concerns will still plague the market, especially as mortgage rates rise, putting buyers in a wait-and-see mode. Sellers will also respond to changes, potentially thinking twice before listing in an environment that may not be as lucrative as it was in recent years and further slowing buying and selling activity.

For more on Trulia’s outlook on housing next year, check out our predictions for 2019 here.

 

Methodology

To calculate the markets-to-watch metrics, we used a number of data sources:

  • Employment growth is measured as the percentage increase in employment between September 2017 and September 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics program.
  • Residential vacancy rates (October 2018) are reported by the U.S. Postal Service’s Delivery Statistics and retrieved through Moody’s Data Buffet.
  • Starter home affordability is determined using the median listing price of starter homes on Trulia in the third quarter of 2018. Household incomes are derived from 2016 American Community Survey microdata, adjusted to the current period using the Employment Cost Index.
  • The ratio of inbound-to-outbound searches on Trulia is calculated using site traffic from October 2017 to the present.
  • The share of population under 35 comes from U.S. Census Bureau estimates as of July 2017, released in June 2018.

 

The final score is tabulated by averaging the rank of these five metrics.

The “hot hoods index” is calculated by ranking neighborhoods within metros by:

  • Year-over-year change in home values (faster price appreciation indicates a hotter market)
  • Median days on market (fewer days on market indicates a hotter market)
  • The change in days on market since last year (where bigger drops in days on market indicate a hotter market).

A neighborhood’s “hotness” is based on the sum of these ranks. Neighborhood-level days on market metrics are calculated using data for the 12 months ending September 2018. Neighborhood-level home values are based on the month of September 2018.

https://www.trulia.com/research/2019-markets-to-watch/