Category: Workforce

T-MOBILE MERGER OK DIALS UP GOOD NEWS FOR KINGSBURG

Regulatory approval of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger clears the way for a 1,000-job call center for Kingsburg. Image via Kingsburg’s economic overview document, photo by Mike Miller with Guarantee Real Estate

Published On July 26, 2019 – 12:41 PM
Written By By TALI ARBEL And MARCY GORDON Associated Press

U.S. regulators have approved T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion takeover of rival Sprint, despite fears of higher prices and job cuts, in a deal that would leave just three major cellphone companies in the country.

The news also marks a pivotal step for a planned T-Mobile “Customer Experience Center” in Kingsburg that would create more than 1,000 new jobs and contribute $105 million to the local economy.

T-Mobile made it clear that the proposed call center’s future hinged on regulatory approval of the merger. The telecom giant also announced similar call centers would be built in Overland Park, Kansas, and Henrietta, New York, if the merger were approved. Adding the expansion of existing call centers, T-Mobile promised the creation of more than 5,000 new jobs by 2021.

The “New T-Mobile” promises to become one of the largest employers in Fresno County, with employees earning wages more than 50% of average for the region.

It’s also a feather in the economic development cap of Kingsburg, which has seen more than 25 news businesses open in the last two years.

“The Kingsburg area in Fresno County is already home to a tremendous amount of innovation, diverse talent and great energy, which makes it a perfect fit for the New T-Mobile!” said T-Mobile and New T-Mobile President Mike Sievert, in a statement from April. “Our new CECs will allow the New T-Mobile to expand the personalized service we give our amazing customers every single day as we continue to grow. We can’t wait to be a partner in the revitalized Central Valley.”

According to a Kingsburg economic overview document posted on the city website last week, the city has a number of active business incentive programs. These include development impact fee discounts as well as rebates for property and sales taxes. No specific site has been identified for the call center, so it’s not known what, if any, incentives T-Mobile might receive for the development project.

Friday’s approval from the Justice Department and five state attorneys general comes after Sprint and T-Mobile agreed to conditions that would set up satellite-TV provider Dish as a smaller rival to Verizon, AT&T and the combined T-Mobile-Sprint company. The Justice Department’s antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, said the conditions set up Dish “as a disruptive force in wireless.”

But attorneys general from other states and public-interest advocates say that Dish is hardly a replacement for Sprint as a stand-alone company and that the conditions fail to address the competitive harm the deal causes.

“By signing off on this merger, the Justice Department has done nothing to remedy the short- and long-term harms the loss of an independent Sprint will create for U.S. wireless users,” Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner said.

A federal judge still must sign off on the approval, as it includes conditions for the new company. The Federal Communications Commission is also expected to give the takeover its blessing.

Dish is paying $5 billion for Sprint’s prepaid cellphone brands including Boost and Virgin Mobile — some 9 million customers — and some spectrum, or airwaves for wireless service, from the two companies. Dish will also be able to rent T-Mobile’s network for seven years while it builds its own.

Dish on Friday promised the FCC that it would build a nationwide network using next-generation “5G” technology by June 2023. But Dish is promising speeds that are only slightly higher than what’s typical today, even though 5G promises the potential for blazing speeds.

The Trump administration has not been consistent in its approach to media and telecom mergers. While the government went to court to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner and then lost, the Justice Department allowed Disney to buy much of 21st Century Fox, a direct competitor, with only minor asset sales to get the deal done. Mergers between direct competitors have historically had a higher bar to clear at the Justice Department.

Sprint and T-Mobile combined would now approach the size of Verizon and AT&T. The companies have argued that bulking up will mean a better next-generation “5G” wireless network than they could make on their own. Sprint and T-Mobile have argued for over a year that having one big company to challenge AT&T and Verizon, rather than two smaller companies, will be better for U.S. consumers.

The two companies tried to combine during the Obama administration but regulators rebuffed them. They resumed talks on combining once President Donald Trump took office, hoping for more industry-friendly regulators. The companies appealed to Trump’s desire for the U.S. to “win” a global 5G race with China as this faster, more reliable wireless is rolled out and applications are built for it. They have been arguing their case for more than a year.

Meanwhile, the FCC agreed in May to back the deal after T-Mobile promised to build out rural broadband and 5G, sell its Boost prepaid brand and keep prices on hold for three years.

But public-interest advocates complained that the FCC conditions did not address the problems of the merger — higher prices, less wireless competition — and would be difficult for regulators to enforce.

Attorneys general from 13 states and the District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit to block the deal . They say the promised benefits, such as better networks in rural areas and faster service overall, cannot be verified. They also worry that eliminating a major wireless company will immediately harm consumers by reducing g competition and driving up prices for cellphone service.

They are not likely to be satisfied by Friday’s settlement. None of the states involved in the suit were part of it. “We have serious concerns that cobbling together this new fourth mobile player, with the government picking winners and losers, will not address the merger’s harm to consumers, workers, and innovation,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

Dish is largely a company with a declining satellite-TV business. It has no wireless business, but over the past decade it has spent more than $21 billion accumulating a large stock of spectrum for wireless service. The wireless industry has long been skeptical of Dish’s ambitions to actually build a wireless service, instead speculating that the company wanted to make money by selling its holdings to other companies.

Recon Analytics founder Roger Entner, a longtime telecom analyst, said in an interview before the Justice Department’s announcement — many terms had been leaked to the press beforehand — that the settlement was good for the incumbent wireless companies, as a weak competitor in Sprint is being replaced by an even weaker one in Dish.

Sprint, the current No. 4 wireless provider, has thousands of stores and other distribution points as well as a cellular network. Dish has none of that, although the settlement gives it the option of taking over some stores and cell sites that T-Mobile ditches over the next five years. Creating and maintaining a retail operation and network cost tens of billions of dollars, Entner said. He doubts that Dish could do that alone, as its core business is in deep decline, or that Dish could find a wealthier company to help it do so.

But New Street Research analysts say Dish could build a lower-cost network and provide cheaper plans for customers. Still, that could take years.

George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports, also said in an interview earlier that the current structure of four competing providers works. He said it’s not the same to diminish that while enabling a competitor that doesn’t currently have the infrastructure. “Dish might become a competing network at some point but it’s not there now.”

Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank owns Sprint, while Germany’s Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile. SoftBank will continue to own 27 percent of the new, bigger T-Mobile and will keep some influence, but it will not control the company.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/t-mobile-merger-ok-dials-up-good-news-for-kingsburg/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=97dc7bf6e4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_07_26_07_42&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-97dc7bf6e4-78934409&mc_cid=97dc7bf6e4&mc_eid=a126ded657

Training California’s Students for Well-Paying Jobs

BONNIE BROOKS JULY 18, 2019
photo - Professor Using Model to Train Nursing Students

California’s community college system is the largest provider of career education—also known as career technical education or vocational education—in the state. Career education programs play a critical role in training students, especially underserved and nontraditional students, for jobs that provide solid wages but don’t require a four-year college degree.

How can colleges identify these jobs? In a recent PPIC report, we compare occupational earnings to regional poverty thresholds to assess how future workforce needs connect to well-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. Other work by the Brookings Institute focuses on “opportunity industries,” in which good jobs—those that provide stable employment, middle-class wages, and benefits—represent an above-average share of the industry’s total jobs and are filled by workers with only some college training.

Opportunity industries are largely concentrated in fields that align with many of the community colleges’ career education disciplines, including business, engineering, health, information technology (IT), and public and protective services. A critical question is whether students are successfully completing programs that will prepare them for careers in these fields.

The good news is that over the past 20 years, there has been a consistent upward trend in the completion of career education credentials in California’s community colleges, with major gains observed in the last decade. This increase spans industries. Notably, more degrees and certificates are being earned in health than in any other discipline—this is important since health credentials are especially valuable in increasing students’ subsequent earnings.

Figure - Community Colleges Have Seen Steady Growth in the Number of Career Education Credentials Awarded

But not all credentials are associated with large economic gains. For example, in our analysis of wage returns, we find that career education credentials in business and IT do not provide much of a wage boost.

Furthermore, there seems to be a mismatch between the awards with the most value and the awards students are earning. While awards from longer programs generally tend to confer more value than those from shorter ones, completion of short-term awards has increased in several career education disciplines.

Community colleges and industry partners need to work together to ensure students have a path to well-paying jobs and the tools needed to succeed. As shown in our research, some of that work begins with colleges structuring effective pathways to these industries and clearly communicating the economic returns and opportunities available to students.

Moreover, strong partnerships between community colleges and nearby industries will be essential in creating a bridge between students and their industry of choice. Ultimately, these efforts can help improve the economic well-being of individual students and the state as a whole.

https://www.ppic.org/blog/training-californias-students-for-well-paying-jobs/

CSUB receives $2.8 million grant to address valley’s health care shortage

The Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Cal State Bakersfield has received a $2.8 million grant to increase health care providers in underserved and rural parts of the Central Valley.

The four-year, federal grant was awarded to the college’s Transforming the Workforce: From Educate to Service project, which is led by Department of Nursing professors Heidi He, Maria Rubolino, Annie Huynh and Lorelei Punsalan.

“I do think that nurse practitioners can fill that gap to improve primary care and improve public health,” she said.

The project hopes to increase the number of nurse practitioners who will provide primary care in rural and underserved areas in the Central Valley. He said it is difficult to attract well-trained and qualified nurse practitioners to the area, and Kern County ranks among the top regions in the state that have a shortage of primary care providers.

The county also has some of the highest rates of chlamydia infection, diabetes, heart disease and chronic respiratory disease mortality, according to He.

With the grant, CSUB will partner with Clinica Sierra Vista to provide students real-life medical experiences while they’re still in school. Students must have at least 600 clinical hours, and through the partnership, He hopes students will want to continue to work in a medically underserved area and those medical professionals will want to take in more students.

In addition, the funding will support the integration of telehealth into the nurse practitioner curriculum. Telehealth helps people in rural areas access health services and information electronically.

“If they’re looking for specialty care and they don’t have that in the particular area they live in, we can utilize telehealth consultations,” He said. “That’s the future of health care. We want to start those trainings for our students so they’re ready.”

CSUB’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program is accepting 19 students this fall. This year, the program will begin annual admissions, versus the biannual admissions it has had since 2014, helping it double its enrollment.

Since relaunching the Family Nurse Practitioner Program in 2014, it has graduated two cohorts, totaling 31 family nurse practitioners, according to a news release. Nearly all its recent graduates have remained in the community, and 87 percent of 2018 graduates are working in federally designated medically underserved areas.

“With this funding, we have the ability and expertise and resources to really elevate the program to the next level so we can be the leader in education and health care in the region,” He said.

Students enrolled in the program must already be a graduate of an accredited baccalaureate nursing program, have a 3.0 GPA, hold an active, unrestricted California registered nursing license and have two years of registered nursing experience.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/csub-receives-million-grant-to-address-valley-s-health-care/article_b4ad8b12-a989-11e9-a482-c7271e6f63c3.html

Bakersfield College gets additional $1 million to help train workers

 

  • Will expand the number of industrial automation students
  • “Expanding the skilled workforce in our region for employers in industrial automation”

Bakersfield College is getting $1 million in the new state budget to help pay for fund career technical education programs and the college’s Rural Initiatives program.

“Bakersfield College is committed to expanding the skilled workforce in our region for employers in industrial automation and in health careers,” says Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian. “I am proud of the faculty and staff at BC who have developed detailed plans for rural Kern County that can be immediately implemented as resources become available.”

The community college received a similar $1 million grant from the state last year, which was used to create and expand career technical education programs in industrial automation; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning  (HVAC); and electronics. The programs generated nearly 1,400 enrollments in northern Kern County rural communities, the college says.

The new funding will expand the number of industrial automation students at the Bakersfield College Delano Center through completion of the computer integrated manufacturing and advanced programmable logic controller labs.

The money also will fund courses in basic electronics and programmable logic controllers in Wasco and pay for equipment and supplies for all four courses at McFarland High School to establish a cohort of high school students pursuing a Bakersfield College Certificate of Achievement in industrial automation while still attending high school, according to Bakersfield College Executive Director of Rural Initiatives Abel Guzman.

 

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/d60e2f1b-c325-4277-914f-33db48994a50.pdf

California unemployment rate remains at 4.2 percent in June

Central Valley Business Times

  • Employers added 46,200 nonfarm payroll jobs
  • Every Central Valley county sees its jobless rate increase

California’s unemployment remained at 4.2 percent in June while the state’s employers added 46,200 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department from two surveys.

California has now gained 3,284,300 jobs since the economic expansion began in February 2010.

Based on a monthly federal survey of 5,100 California households which focuses on workers in the economy:

  • The number of Californians holding jobs in June was 18,607,800, a decrease of 45,300 from May and up 58,700 from the employment total in June of last year.
  • The number of unemployed Californians was 813,700 in June, a decrease of 12,400 over the month and up by 3,400 compared with June of last year.

In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 302,156 people receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the survey week in June compared to 321,372 in May and 303,592 people in June 2018. Concurrently, 38,886 people filed new claims in June which was a month-over increase of 490.

Here are JUNE’s unemployment rates for Central Valley counties, followed by, in parentheses, the rates for May:

  • Fresno – 7.1 percent; (6.4 percent)
  • Kern – 8.0 percent; (7.2 percent)
  • Kings – 7.9 percent; (6.7 percent)
  • Madera – 7.0 percent; (6.3 percent)
  • Merced – 8.1 percent; (7.3 percent)
  • San Joaquin – 6.0 percent; (5.1 percent)
  • Stanislaus – 6.5 percent; (5.6 percent)
  • Tulare – 9.1 percent; (8.1 percent)

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/d60e2f1b-c325-4277-914f-33db48994a50.pdf

Amazon says it will “upskill”100,000 of its workers

 

  • To offer training programs for one in three of its U.S. employees
  • “We think it’s important to invest in our employees”

Amazon employees will be offered training to move into highly skilled technical and non-technical roles across the company’s corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retail stores, and transportation network, or even pursue career paths outside of Amazon, the online retailer says Thursday.

Based on a review of its workforce and analysis of U.S. hiring, Amazon says its fastest growing highly skilled jobs over the last five years include data mapping specialist, data scientist, solutions architect and business analyst, as well as logistics coordinator, process improvement manager and transportation specialist within its customer fulfillment network.

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) says it will spend more than $700 million on the training of about 100,000 or its U.S. workforce.

Programs will include “Amazon Technical Academy,” which equips non-technical employees with the essential skills to transition into software engineering careers;“Associate2Tech,” which trains fulfillment center workers to move into technical roles regardless of their previous IT experience; “Machine Learning University” offering employees with technical backgrounds the opportunity to access machine learning skills via an on-site training program; “Amazon Career Choice,” a pre-paid tuition program designed to train fulfillment center employees in high-demand occupations of their choice; “Amazon Apprenticeship,” a Department of Labor-certified program that offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships with Amazon; and “AWS Training and Certification,” which provide employees with courses to build practical AWS Cloud knowledge that is essential to operating in a technical field.

“We think it’s important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves,” says Beth Galetti, senior vicepresident for human relations.

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/0fb7bcba-e11a-4fce-9356-c28e89fcb4ec.pdf

New, skilled jobs expected to come to Merced County with new Livingston facility

 
City of Livingston and Emerald Textile Services officials cut the ribbon during a groundbreaking ceremony of the business’s new automated medical laundry facility, Friday, July 12, 2019, at 420 Industrial Drive in Livingston, Merced County, California.

City of Livingston and Emerald Textile Services officials cut the ribbon during a groundbreaking ceremony of the business’s new automated medical laundry facility, Friday, July 12, 2019, at 420 Industrial Drive in Livingston, Merced County, California. VSHANKER@MERCEDSUNSTAR.COM

The Livingston community on Friday celebrated the groundbreaking of a new business expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the area.

San Diego-based Emerald Textile Services is in the process of converting a former water treatment center for dialysis at 420 Industrial Drive into a far-reaching hospital laundry service.

Dozens of community members gathered for a event celebrating the new business.

VS LivingstonJobs 1.JPG
Rich Bott, CEO of Emerald Textile Services, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony of an automated medical laundry facility, Friday, July 12, 2019, at 420 Industrial Drive in Livingston, Merced County, California. Vikaas ShankerVSHANKER@MERCEDSUNSTAR.COM

While the exact number of jobs created has yet to be determined, the city estimates the business will bring about 250 new skilled labor jobs, increasing Livingston’s 3,500-person workforce by more than 7 percent.

“This has a huge impact,” Livingston City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez said, noting the city will benefit by increases in sales tax revenue, property values and “overall quality of life.”

Livingston’s unemployment rate of 7.3 percent is equivalent to Merced County’s May 2019 rate — more than double the state unadjusted rate of 3.5 percent and national 3.4 percent rate, according to the latest state data.

The automated laundry facility will serve acute care hospitals and clinics from Monterrey to San Francisco and from Roseville to Fresno, producing 60 million pounds of hygienically clean textiles each year, according to a city news release.

The company expects the plant to use 70 percent less water and natural gas compared to similar laundries, making it an eco-friendly facility, officials said.

“We have a very modest little industrial park here, but it’s perfectly situated next to the freeway,” Ramirez said, adding he hopes the addition of the laundry facility will help spark more growth in the area.

The investment into the Livingston facility includes $25 million in new equipment, Ramirez said.

“Emerald Textile Services aligns with our community values, what we believe in,” Ramirez said.

The new facility will serve many hospitals and medical clinics, with Kaiser Permanente being a major business partner, officials said.

“We believe we’re going to be good stewards,” said Greg Anderson, Emerald Textile Services’ board chairman.

https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/article232594307.html

California unemployment rate dips slightly in May

Central Valley Business Times

July 5, 2019

  • Down one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.2 percent
  • Employers add 19,400 nonfarm payroll jobs
  • Central Valley has two counties with jobless rates less than state average

California’s unemployment dipped to 4.2 percent in May while the state’s employers added a net 19,400 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department from two surveys.

California has now gained a total of 3,235,900 jobs since the Great Recession ended and the current economic expansion began in February 2010.

Highlight’s from the monthly report include:

  • California’s 19,400 job gain accounted for 26 percent of the nation’s total 75,000 job gain for the month.
  • The state’s 111-month employment expansion is the second-longest on record behind the 113-month long expansion of the 1960s.
  • California has gained 3,235,900 jobs since the current economic expansion began in February 2010, averaging over 29,000 jobs gained per month over the period – far more than the 8-9,000 jobs needed each month to accommodate people entering the labor force.
  • Seven of California’s 11 major industry sectors gained jobs in May. The biggest increase of 12,800 jobs came in construction, reflecting an increase in home building. That’s followed by a gain of 4,500 jobs in leisure and hospitality on the strength of the state’s tourism industry, and a 1,800 job gain in government.

In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 321,372 people receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the survey week in May compared to 364,431 in April and 337,974 people in May 2018. Concurrently, 38,396 people filed new claims in May which was a month-over decrease of 5,635.

Here are MAY’s unemployment rates for Central Valley counties, followed by, in parentheses, the rates for April:

  • Fresno – 6.4 percent; (7.7 percent)
  • Kern – 7.2 percent; (8.4 percent)
  • Kings – 6.7 percent; (8.3 percent)
  • Madera – 6.3 percent; (7.6 percent)
  • Merced – 7.3 percent; (9.0 percent)
  • San Joaquin – 5.1 percent; (6.0 percent)
  • Stanislaus – 5.6 percent; (6.4 percent)
  • Tulare – 8.1 percent; (9.8 percent)

For all practical purposes, no one is jobless for more than a nanosecond in San Mateo County. Its jobless rate in May fell to a microscopic 1.7 percent from 1.9 percent in April, the EDD says.

At the other end is Imperial County, with 16.4 percent of its adult workforce jobless. That’s up from 16.2 percent in April.

Bitwise’s planned expansion into Bakersfield seen as taking the city to ‘the next level’

 

 

John Cox / The Californian

Anticipation was in the air as dozens of Bakersfield business and political leaders jammed into a small room on the second floor of the Padre Hotel Wednesday morning for what was sure to be a big announcement.

Once things got going, levity took over. The two presenters, one of whom stood in front of the crowd while the other spoke via video link from Fresno, made little jokes and took friendly jabs at each other.

The day’s big news, as The Californian reported Wednesday morning, was that downtown Fresno-based tech hub Bitwise Industries had raised $27 million that, among other things, would help pay for the company’s expansion into Bakersfield.

Bitwise’s plans call for coding classes, shared office space and other forms of local investment. Initial operations are expected to begin by early next year, followed by the purchase of a permanent space downtown for Bitwise’s new second home.

There were questions from the audience, naturally. Someone asked why the company chose to expand into Bakersfield as opposed to some other “underdog” city.

“The answer is, we were terrified of what you’d do if we didn’t” come to Bakersfield, quipped Jake Soberal, Bitwise’s CEO and co-founder.

There’s truth in his jest: The company has talked for about two years with local leaders anxious to bring Bitwise’s brand of tech culture to downtown Bakersfield. By now, anything less would have been a big disappointment. Instead, people in attendance saw the news as cause for celebration.

“My initial feeling is this is literally game-changing for the community,” said Kern County’s administrative officer over workforce development, Teresa Hitchcock.

She linked workforce development, a key focus for Bitwise, with local economic development. Her prediction was that local companies will quickly recognize the value of having a training entity come to Kern, and that other individuals will see the value later as they begin to benefit from expanded opportunities.

Bakersfield businessman Morgan Clayton saw substantial promise in Wednesday’s announcement.

“Bitwise has validated we have a starting point,” he said. “We are now connecting to the millennials,” he added, referring to 20- and 30-something-year-olds who have largely embraced digital innovation and its associated business opportunities.

Local economic development chief Richard Chapman, president and CEO of Kern Economic Development Corp., traced the news to a tour he and others involved with KEDC took to Fresno in 2017. That’s when Bakersfield leaders learned how tech hubs can spark new businesses and good-paying careers.

He expressed hope Bitwise will attract other tech companies, which will, in turn, offer internships for local youth with computer programming talent.

David Anderson was optimistic for different reasons. The Bakersfield financial advisor and managing partner at Moneywise Guys noted that downtown has added positive amenities in recent years that could be attractive to tech companies and the kind of people they employ.

Bringing Bitwise into the mix, he said, “takes downtown to the next level.”

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/bitwise-s-planned-expansion-into-bakersfield-seen-as-taking-the/article_40b0f672-92e1-11e9-9911-cb60bd736cf3.html