Category: Workforce

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/

Migration has turned the Central Valley into a suddenly hot housing market

A dozen years ago, the sprawling subdivisions of San Joaquin County became a national symbol of the financial crisis: cul-de-sacs lined with foreclosed homes and half-built neighborhoods abandoned by bankrupt speculators. Now builders in places like Tracy, Lathrop and Mountain House have a new problem. They can’t build homes fast enough to meet the demand of families looking to relocate from the Bay Area.The pandemic-driven desire for more living space, coupled with the freedoms afforded by corporate work-from-home rules, is luring thousands of Bay Area families over the Altamont Pass to planned communities where homes are often bigger — and 50% cheaper — than they are in Dublin or Fremont or San Leandro. Nowhere is the trend more pronounced than River Islands, a 5,000-acre development on the San Joaquin River in Lathrop that includes 13 man-made lakes and miles of riverfront trails. Schools, ball fields, parks and fire stations make up a community that will eventually include 11,000 single-family homes and another 4,000 apartments and condos clustered around a new town center.

After selling 371 homes in 2019, River Islands saw a 57% increase in 2020, with 641 sales. And the share of its buyers relocating from the Bay Area jumped, from 55% to 76%. About 2,300 families have moved in so far, and there are 1,500 kids — a number expected to eventually reach 9,000, according to the developer. “Our builders have so much demand they have waiting lists,” said River Islands Development President Susan Dell’Osso. “They are basically doing custom builds for every home buyer.”

Data from the United States Postal Service backs up the claim that the out-migration from the Bay Area to San Joaquin County is picking up. Between March and November, at least 6,320 households moved to ZIP codes in San Joaquin County from one of these Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Francisco and Marin. That’s a 22% increase over 2019. Sales are also exceeding expectations at Tracy Hills, a 5,000-home development west of Lathrop, according to John Stanek, a partner with Integral Communities, the master developer. Tracy Hills sold 400 homes in 2020. The project opened in the late spring of 2019, so there is nothing to compare the sales to, but the pace easily exceeded expectations.

The out-migration to the Central Valley is being driven by the Bay Area’s astronomical home prices and the fact that builders have failed to create enough housing to satisfy demand. Neighborhood opposition to development is widespread, and Bay Area developers often spend years bogged down in lawsuits before winning approvals. Homes at River Island average about $225 a square foot, compared to $375 in Hercules, $506 in Livermore, $533 in San Leandro and $711 in Fremont.

While many of the new residents are currently able to work from home, the danger is that remote employment may not last and that the Central Valley influx will worsen the environmental issues the Bay Area has been grappling with for years — clogged freeways, marathon commutes and cars pumping even more carbon dioxide into the air, according to David Garcia, policy director for the Terner Center for Housing Innovation. A 2019 study by the Bay Area Economic Institute found 80,000 commuters drive between the northern end of San Joaquin County and the Bay Area, an average of 120 miles, 75% of them alone in a car. “Traffic was very bad before COVID, and may be worse after COVID,” said Garcia, who was raised in Stockton and used to make the 2 ½-hour commute to Berkeley. “Having the Central Valley be the Bay Area’s affordable housing option is not an optimal outcome.”

Virgra Banaag, who goes by the name Bing, said that she was not really in the market for a new home when she checked out River Island while visiting her sister nearby. Her family of four — her husband is an electrician and her kids are 7 and 13 — were living in Hercules and had expected to stay. When she toured an open house in River Islands, “the house called to me.” They decided to move. “I had never even heard of River Islands before, and now everybody wants to live here,” she said. “It’s the talk of my friends right now.”

Leslie and Chad Bourdon moved to River Islands with their two kids just a few months before the pandemic hit. They had previously lived for 13 years in San Francisco and four years in Marin. Chad Bourdon is a co-owner of 25 Lusk, the fine-dining establishment in downtown San Francisco. Leslie Bourdon said they had been looking for a year for a house that had good schools and enough living space. Having grown up on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, she was drawn to the waterfront. The family put in a pool and have a private dock where they keep paddleboards, kayaks and a pedal boat. She said her Bay Area friends were surprised by the move. “You say ‘Lathrop,’ and people say, ‘Where is that?’ You say ‘Central Valley’ and people from the Bay Area cringe, thinking, ‘yikes.’”

Paul Jorge Dizon, a nurse who works at Kaiser Permanente, was paying $3,100 a month for his apartment in Hayward. He set out looking to buy something and quickly determined that on his budget, between $500,000 and $600,000, he could not afford anything in the Bay Area. In Tracy Hills he found a 2,500-square-foot house for $570,000. “You are away from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area, but not too far,” he said.

Dean Wehrli, Northern California principal for John Burns Real Estate Consulting, said that River Islands is the best-selling planned community in the state. Wehrli said the influx has been driven by Silicon Valley workers who are more likely to be able to continue to work from home at least some of the time. “In the back of their mind, they are thinking that if they are called back into the office two or three days a week, it’s a terrible but doable commute,” he said. “Whereas Fresno or Reno or Boise are not.”

Newark-based mover Jose Martinez said about 20% of his business is Central Valley relocations, up from 10% a year ago. “Every time it’s always the same story,” he said. “Prices in the Bay Area are skyrocketing, and people find it easier these days to live in a home with bigger dimensions.” He is considering making a move himself. “I definitely have my eye on Manteca.”

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/

Tech company moving into downtown Modesto, to partner with SCOE to bolster workforce

Local coding academy Bay Valley Tech has reached a three-year agreement with the Stanislaus County Office of Education to expand its free classes. Additionally, the school will be moving its co-working space to downtown Modesto.

Bay Valley Tech’s new 1325 H St. location – the building once occupied by The Bee and purchased from McClatchy by SCOE in 2016 – will be used as “a startup incubator to support local entrepreneurs with affordable offices, digital marketing expertise, software consultants and a steady flow of skilled talent from its fast-growing software training programs,” according to a news release.

With the co-working space, Bay Valley Tech, formerly based in north Modesto, hopes to facilitate the expansion of new companies into the Central Valley. “Our expanded partnership with Bay Valley Tech will benefit the region’s students and economy for many years,” Scott Kuykendall, Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools said in the release. “Bay Valley Tech’s exceptional program is making a positive impact across the county, and we look forward to our growing collaboration.” His office works to ensure local job-seekers are “ready to enter self-sustaining employment and careers,” according to the release. This year, Bay Valley Tech is working toward its goal of training 1,000 computer programmers in the region. Their free coding classes have started students off in careers at large companies like E&J Gallo, as well as local startups.

The tech industry is one of the few sectors reporting job growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with 319,000 new IT jobs added to the national labor force in December. Yet according to the news release, companies are still reporting a shortage of computer programmers. To address this shortage, Bay Valley Tech will announce agreements with new companies to hire more of its Central Valley and Bay Area code academy alumni. The program is “paying dividends” for students throughout the county, SCOE’s Director of Career Tech Education, Dallas Plaa, said in the news release.

Plaa, who oversees the office’s adult education and career training programs, as well as its Computer Support Specialist certification partnership with Modesto Junior College, said “SCOE’s partnership with Bay Valley Tech has allowed our two organizations to achieve more effective and cost-efficient results than if we had operated separate programs.” “Our organizations’ common goal is to train and enable students to become productive citizens in our local community,” he said. “Bay Valley Tech’s code academy is a complement to some of SCOE’s other programs at this same location. We are thrilled to expand this successful partnership.”

https://www.modbee.com/news/local/article248708105.html

TACHI PALACE KICKS OFF $80M EXPANSION

Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore has begun a yearlong expansion and remodel. The $80 million project includes interior and exterior improvements with plans to add 24,000 square feet of additional space and linking current amenities to create a more cohesive campus, according to a news release.

Exterior work will be included in the yearlong expansion project. Part of the plan includes connecting the Coyote Entertainment Center, casino and hotel; creating an easier flow through both the main floor and third floor; an expansive sports bar with indoor and outdoor dining; an extended food court; large high-limit room on the third floor and updated hotel rooms. “We can’t think of a better way to kick off 2021 than to begin our exciting expansion and continue to offer the ultimate experience for our guests,” said Michael Olujic, general manager of Tachi Palace Casino Resort. “These improvements will give Tachi Palace even more of a resort feel, allowing guests to have more fluid movement between our amenities including Coyote Entertainment Center, the hotel, casino, gas station and new offerings. They will no longer have to leave one to easily access the other.”

Tachi palace partnered with Las Vegas Based Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc. for architecture and design services. “In addition to connecting all the amazing offerings at Tachi Palace Casino Resort, our expansion will include more, much-needed job opportunities for our community,” said Leo Sisco, chairman of Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi-Yokut Tribe. “We are proud to continue our commitment to our local community, as our economic development projects not only provide a more pleasant experience for our patrons, they also contribute to the betterment of our local area.”

A spokesperson said it was hard to estimate how many jobs the expansion would create in the current environment for the entertainment industry.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/tachi-palace-to-kick-off-major-expansion/?mc_cid=3d05370742&mc_eid=d813f251f8

Tejon Ranch plays unique role in extraordinary times

If you have been in Kern County for any length of time you undoubtedly know about the magnificent ranch that encompasses 270,000 acres just south of Bakersfield and contains one of the most diverse intersections of nature, commerce, energy, housing and agriculture in the western United States. That diversity has contributed to the company’s resilience during these turbulent times. But what impact has this had on the economic future of Kern County, its small businesses and thousands of individual jobs?

Let’s take two of our company’s signature developments: the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center and its denizen Outlets at Tejon. The direct jobs alone are responsible for the employment of anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 individuals. The importance of a job cannot be overstated, particularly during a crisis, and the multiplier effect of each dollar earned — particularly those dollars spent by consumers from outside our area — coursing through our economy is critical to our county’s success. But even “essential” industries such as ours must put the safety and well-being of our employees and customers first – and we have found this to be abundantly achievable without sacrificing the jobs and economic vitality our county needs.

The Outlets at Tejon, for example, put in place a rigorous cleaning and sanitizing process as well as signage reminding everyone of suggested COVID-19 safety precautions such as social distancing and mask wearing. Although some attractions such as the food court, Camp Tejon and all kiddie rides had to remain temporarily closed, we were able to direct visitors to the numerous food options at the same exit in the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center including In-N-Out Burger, Chipotle, Starbucks, Pieology and Habit Burger, as well as recently opened operations like Dunkin Donuts, Jamba Juice and Charley’s Philly Cheesesteaks near the entrance to the outlets.

The ability to maintain much of this employment is made possible by you, the customers, who shop at Tejon’s outdoor retail offerings, as well as the many drive-thru restaurants where the sales taxes alone total nearly $10 million annually. Property, fuel and other taxes paid by the company as well as its partners and third-party owners are in the millions of additional dollars and all these tax revenues support much-needed public benefits including our roads, schools and public safety operations.

We are incredibly fortunate that the majority of the businesses in our center have managed to continue operations thanks to their essential nature, excellent safety procedures and an outdoor or drive-thru window capacity. The pandemic experience has challenged us all to reach a little bit higher, dig a little deeper and embrace the things that matter most. We have always taken pride in our role as a gateway from southern California to our beautiful community. That responsibility has motivated us to set the bar high in terms of quality, aesthetics and operations, as a standard bearer for the proud and resilient people of Kern County. The ongoing ability to provide jobs, fuel, food and supplies is one that we take seriously, while we look forward to a vibrant future for everyone in California.

https://www.bakersfield.com/kern-business-journal/tejon-ranch-plays-unique-role-in-extraordinary-times/article_d83f340c-f485-11ea-b82c-f3fa3ae2febc.html

Amazon to bring over 2,500 jobs to the Central Valley as part of widespread hiring spree

Amazon is recruiting more than 100,000 workers across the U.S. and Canada in anticipation of the holiday season, over 2,500 of which will be hired across the Central Valley.

According to an Amazon spokesperson, the company is adding over 4,000 jobs throughout Northern California, with 1,700 in the Sacramento area and 2,600 planned for the Central Valley. Brittany Parmley, a PR manager for Amazon Operations, said the Central Valley jobs will be available in Tracy, Patterson and Stockton. She added that jobs range from packing customer orders to positions in HR and finance within the individual buildings.

Wages will start at $15 per hour, Parmley said, and benefits like health and dental insurance, as well as a 401(k) match, will be available “on day one.” Select positions also come with a sign-on bonus of up to $1,000. Jobs are available for those with and without a college degree, and those interested can apply immediately on Amazon’s website. She also added that the company has an internal program available to employees called “career choice”, which helps workers get certifications in fields that they’re interested in order to set them up for their chosen long-term career paths.

The company’s most recent hiring spree is the fourth it has rolled out this year. E-commerce sales have skyrocketed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic as people were forced to stay home and limit their trips to physical retailers. Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer, experienced a 40% revenue rise last quarter and the biggest profit in its 26-year-history. In March, the company added 175,000 new jobs across the region as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold across the globe.

Amazon has faced criticism surrounding worker safety during the pandemic, but Parmley said the company has implemented “hundreds of safety process changes” to ensure compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. She said warehouse employees are subject to regular temperature checks and that there are designated “social distancing ambassadors” in each building. There are acrylic shields partitioning workers and sanitizing stations throughout the warehouses, and Parmley said Amazon has doubled its janitorial staff.

The new job openings are available at 100 new warehouse and operations sites across the United States and Canada. As of June 30, the Seattle-based company employed 876,800 people, excluding temporary personnel and contractors. “Amazon is proud to be a part of the Central Valley community,” Parmley said. “We’re excited to welcome members of the community to apply for these jobs.

https://www.modbee.com/news/business/article245757780.html#:~:text=Amazon%20is%20recruiting%20more%20than,hired%20across%20the%20Central%20Valley.

Amazon may hire more than 3,000 people in Kern

A local college official says Amazon is looking to hire more than 3,000 people — three times the total required under a subsidy agreement worked out with Kern County officials — to work full- and part-time at a large distribution center the e-commerce giant expects to open this summer just north of Meadows Field Airport. Amazon has never specified publicly how many jobs total it expects to create at the warehouse. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the estimate included in a blog post Sunday by Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian.
Christian’s blog announced the college’s Student Employment Office has partnered with the company to host a series of four virtual job-recruitment events. The first two of the one-hour Zoom events are set for 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday, with the rest scheduled for exactly one week later. Christian wrote that Amazon representatives will provide step-by-step information about how to apply for a job at the warehouse and what are its requirements, expectations and benefits packages. Job applicants may pre-register online for the recruitment events at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/event/amazon-day.
Amazon has already started hiring upper-level jobs to work at the distribution center, which will also be staffed by robots. The company has advised job-seekers interested in working at the new building to check its hiring website, amazon.com/jobs. It said the best way to get updates is to text “amazon” to 77088. Kern’s Board of Supervisors agreed in 2018 to give Amazon $3 million in local tax rebates in exchange for employing 1,000 county residents at an average wage of $31,000 per year at the distribution center. The subsidy package would award the company annual refunds totaling about $287,000 for more than a decade.

Fresno State nursing master’s program is accredited once again

FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno State’s master’s degree nursing program is accredited once again, according to an announcement by the university Tuesday.

It comes after the master’s degree nursing program at Fresno State lost its accreditation just under one year ago. The accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) will remain until June 2025. In addition, Fresno State says its baccalaureate degree nursing program and its online psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner post-graduate certificate program have both been accredited until June 2030. “The success of our students is vital to growing a health care workforce in the Central Valley and, with that, we are pleased to admit our newest cohort of the master’s program this coming fall 2020 semester,” said chair of the School of Nursing Dr. Sylvia Miller.

https://www.yourcentralvalley.com/news/education/fresno-state-nursing-masters-program-is-accredited-once-again/

 

New Patterson manufacturing facility to fill jobs, boost economy

BY KRISTIN LAM

A technology company expects to hire 250 workers to run new Patterson facilities scheduled to open by the end of this year.

The full-time openings will include construction, sales, engineering and architecture jobs, said John Rowland, President and Co-founder of S²A Modular, a sustainable building company. S²A Modular plans to begin construction in July, Rowland said, creating a Patterson manufacturing factory where workers will build high-tech single family homes, apartments and hotels. The site plans shows the company will take up 1.15 million square feet along Park Center Drive, directly across the street from the Amazon Fulfillment Center. The addition to Patterson’s industrial area could boost the regional economy by $85 million, according to an analysis by Opportunity Stanislaus, which helped bring S²A Modular to the county. The business got its permit approved May 14, Rowland said, about four months after Opportunity Stainslaus CEO David White pitched potential locations to executives. “In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, this announcement couldn’t have come at a better time,” White said in a city of Patterson press release.

HOW WILL THE BUSINESS BOOST STANISLAUS COUNTY’S ECONOMY?

The estimated impact of $85 million accounts for the time it takes to build the facility and the first year 250 people are employed, April Henderson Potter, director of market research, said in an email. The total in the Opportunity Stanislaus analysis includes employee compensation and construction costs, as well as taxes such as sales tax, personal income tax and taxes on production and imports.

Demand and business in other industries may also increase, Henderson Potter said, as workers spend their income on local housing, restaurants and medical services. Beyond new employees, Rowland said S²A Modular will also source local delivery firms. “The impact reaches much further than just within the factory,” Rowland said. “It really spreads out into the community and even the surrounding communities that we do work in.”

The company has already hired three people to staff the Patterson facilities, but when mass hiring will begin has yet to be announced.

WHAT IS S²A MODULAR?

Founded in 2018, the company headquartered in Palo Alto manufactures smart, sustainable residential and commercial buildings. It constructs buildings with solar panels, battery storage and energy management systems, allowing home or building owners to disconnect from utility company power grids and gas lines. S²A Modular buildings are custom-made in factories instead of on-site. In addition to the Patterson facility, another factory is being built in Hemet in Southern California.

The company is the latest to move into the business park in western Stanislaus County, which has easy access to Interstate 5. Companies that added distribution centers to the area in the past 10 years or so include Amazon, Restoration Hardware and Grainger.

http://modbee.com/news/business/article242932481.html