• FoodMaxx, Lucky & Save Mart looking for workers
• Modesto-based company says it is hiring for nearly 1,000 jobs
Modesto-based privately held Save Mart Companies are hiring, due to the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease.
There are openings for close to 1,000 employees in their FoodMaxx, Lucky and Save Mart stores located throughout California and Northern Nevada, as well as their warehouses in Roseville and Merced, thre company says.
This includes in-store positions, drivers, and warehouse workers.
The Save Mart Companies operates 205 stores throughout California and Northern Nevada under the banners of FoodMaxx, Lucky and Save Mart. In addition to its retail operation, the company also operates Smart Refrigerated Transport and is a partner in Super Store
Industries, which owns and operates a distribution center in Lathrop and the Sunnyside Farms dairy processing plant in Turlock.
Amazon plans to hire 800 workers for its Patterson and Tracy warehouses, a spokesperson said Tuesday, to help meet increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
The temporary jobs are among the 100,000 nationwide openings Amazon announced Monday, the same day Modesto-based Save Mart Cos. said it expects to hire nearly 1,000 employees in California and Nevada.
Save Mart Cos. had posted at least 26 job openings in Stanislaus County grocery stores as of Tuesday afternoon, according to searches on the Save Mart careers page. More than half of the openings are clerks and grocery baggers at Modesto Save Mart and FodMaxx locations.
Meanwhile, the combined 800 openings at the Amazon fulfillment centers in Patterson and Tracy will be posted at the online retailer’s website. Current employees at both locations will a $2 per hour raise, an Amazon spokesperson said, bringing wages for delivery people and warehouse workers to $17 per hour. Some of the new temporary jobs will be full-time, while others will be part-time.
“We also know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis,” the online retailer said in a news release. “We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back.”
Other companies that announced plans to hire new workers during the coronavirus pandemic include Raley’s and Safeway, a subsidiary of Albertson’s. The Sacramento-based chain Raley’s is looking for personal shoppers and intends to fill positions within a week or less, according to its job postings. The Raley’s at Village One Plaza in Modesto is among those looking for an “eCart team member,” a search showed.
Safeway said Monday it has 2,000 immediate openings for delivery drivers and store workers across Northern California, Hawaii and Nevada. Stores are accepting applications online or in person, a news release said.
MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) — A local valley school is offering students a fast track to start their careers in nutrition.
Digging into a career in nutrition isn’t always easy, but Merced College is serving up a solution for its students. In Fall 2020, the foods and nutrition program will offer several certificates as a fast track option.
“It allows students to have the time to get right through it and working and going,” said former student Evan Fimbrez.
In just two semesters, students can earn a ServSafe Manager Certificate – the first step to a wide variety of jobs in the nutrition field.
“They can be dietary managers in long term care, in skilled nursing, hospitals, school foodservice, prisons, lots of job opportunities,” said Food and Nutrition professor Michelle Pecchenino.
Evan Fimbrez took advantage of the courses during his time at Merced College and is now a director of food and nutrition services at a local nursing and rehab facility.
“I was already interested in the field, and it was a great jump start, foot in the door to getting those field experiences, getting those contacts, and working out my career,” Fimbrez said.
He says one of the best experiences as a student was the 150 hours he spent working in the field.
“I was going out into the community, and being able to work in actual kitchens and get hands on experience was awesome,” he said.
The curriculum will offer courses in food safety, food service management, basic cooking, and foodservice production. If you’re interested in learning more about the program visit their website.
Fernando Valera, a senior at Duncan Polytechnical High School, repairs a heavy duty truck used for training. Outside of school, Valera works as a truck technician for a company that expects to hire him after graduation. Photo by John Walker/The Fresno Bee
Almost half of Fresno Unified students take part in career and technical programs. The training helps students as well as local industries that area struggling to find skilled workers.
On a recent school day in Fresno, Fernando Valero repaired a 32,000-pound diesel truck with failed sensors. Then he crawled under another truck before lifting it with a floor jack. The morning school work left his hands black from grease.
And his day was just getting started.
After lunch, Valero left Duncan Polytechnical High School and headed to a job where he’s paid as a regular employee. Much like his classroom labor, he works with technicians fixing trucks for local customers.
There is a good chance the 17-year-old high school senior will keep his job after he graduates in June. School officials say that’s the goal.
About a decade after a recession nearly crippled the nation’s economy and devastated the job market in California’s Central Valley, the region is still trying to pick itself up. But many education leaders hope that efforts to attract new businesses and train workers for skilled jobs are starting to work.
Valero is part of the 45% of Fresno Unified School District students who take part in career and technical programs, including medical, manufacturing and heavy-duty trucking. The pathways expose students to real-world industry work, and some, like Valero, are finding jobs while in school.
Jeremy Ward, executive officer for college and career readiness at Fresno Unified, said students who take part in career pathways consistently have a better graduation rate than students outside the programs. He said it’s because the pathway programs at each of the high schools are designed to satisfy student interest and the needs of Central Valley industries.
Most importantly, Ward said, the pathways offer students an invaluable opportunity: work experience and skills.
“It doesn’t take much to see how this benefits students who are in poverty, because it is providing them all those experiences,” he said. “It’s providing them all of that knowledge. It’s providing them real skills they can be able to take after high school to do something with it.”
The program is part of a district-wide effort. Several other Central Valley schools have developed their own career pathways. Cara Jurado, a pathway coordinator at Duncan High School, said partnerships among schools, industry and the state have led to increased investment in improving schools.
“We’re in one of the lowest socio-economic areas in town. Data shows that students from this area don’t tend to go on to high-paying jobs and that’s not right,” Jurado said. “We wanted to create opportunities.”
During school breaks, Valero is one of the few students who work eight-hour paid days. That has helped him gain knowledge and confidence from experienced workers, he said.
“If you don’t put in the time and effort, then you won’t be able to go where you want to succeed,” Valero said.
Pathway to success
Thousands of jobs have poured into the Central Valley from large corporate warehouses in recent years. But those jobs don’t always come with high wages. Some have even brought trouble for employees who are injured in intensive manual jobs.
As the Central Valley grows, efforts are underway to diversify industries and protect the economy from another recession. In diversifying and bringing higher-skilled jobs, a young, emerging workforce could prove critical to keeping those jobs local.
Eric Rubio, a heavy-duty trucking instructor at Duncan High, says this is uncharted territory. He said the skills gap is large enough where new technology like self-driving trucks and active-radar tools could overtake lower-skill jobs.
“The older technicians didn’t grow up with that technology. These (younger) guys have the aptitude and the tech-savviness to use diagnostics tools,” Rubio said.
Those changes in the industry require better-educated workers to perform the job, Rubio said.
Skills as currency
Manufacturers are struggling to maintain enough highly skilled workers. But Troy Brandt, general manager of Hydratech and chair of the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance, said local schools training students for industry jobs has helped significantly. Colleges in the Valley also have stepped up to provide training.
He said some of his best workers have come directly out of high school.
The shortage of experienced manufacturing workers can cause a shuffle of employees among companies offering better pay. But Brandt said as long as manufacturing continues to be strong, there is an opportunity.
“We wonder why we see so much of the middle class disappearing in this country. I would attribute a lot of that to the loss of manufacturing jobs. These are good paying jobs,” Brandt said.
Adapting to a changing work landscape is a priority for employers as automation and technology improvements will inevitably eliminate many jobs.
A 2019 study from the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings Institution found industries should adapt to automation rather than resisting. The study, which examined about 800 occupations across nearly 100 metropolitan areas, found that automation risks vary across the country.
Almost half of males 24 and younger and underrepresented communities, such as Hispanic workers, typically hold jobs that are vulnerable to automation. The flip side, according to the study, is that automation creates different jobs if workers can learn the necessary technology skills.
“If your skill set loses its currency, then you are in danger,” said Blake Konczal, executive director of the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board. “I think we need to try to figure out where this change is going, and then try to arrange for our residents and our citizens to be able to access training that makes them competitive in whatever environment that change creates.”
Fresno County offers employee training through the New Employment Opportunity program, which helps job seekers maintain jobs and teaches them needed skills that could help them obtain good jobs.
Companies that hire workers through the program get wage reimbursement help from the county if they keep the workers, according to Jenna Lukens, contracts manager with the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation.
“This is really to get people off of the public aid system, to get themselves self-sufficient for them and their families,” she said.
Economic leaders in the Central Valley say that warehouse work may not be a silver bullet, despite the jobs it provides. An array of occupations is part of building a resilient economy so residents are not dependent on a single industry.
After the recession caused havoc because of a lack of occupational diversity, many Valley cities struggled to recover. In Clovis, the city council had an ambitious plan to bring multinational tech companies to the city. But the recession put a strain on those plans.
A decade later, those plans have slowly materialized. A large medical complex has sprouted in northeast Clovis, next to empty lots that also await new development, according to Andrew Haussler, community and economic development director for Clovis.
“The beautiful thing about health care is that it provides stable jobs that are relatively recession-resilient,” Haussler said.
The medical complex includes plans for the first medical school in the Valley, where there is a high need for medical experts. It’s expected to enroll the first class of students in August.
Recent efforts by state legislators have also advanced goals set by Clovis leaders, including offering two years of free community college to eligible students.
“When you talk about opportunity … you can go from Clovis High to Clovis Community College … you can transfer straight into California Health Sciences University and have your doctorate in pharmacy in five years,” Haussler said. “That’s how we truly grow economically. This is really a regional investment.”
‘A completely different place’
The Fresno metropolitan area has outpaced large areas like Los Angeles in economic growth since 2005, according to data from the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation. The biggest industries in the Fresno area are crop production and food manufacturing.
But tech has in recent years created a buzz, with Bitwise Industries and other software companies that have moved into the Valley. With a growing medical field and a stronger focus to train workers in industries like manufacturing, conditions could improve for the Valley, says Amanda Bosland, client services manager with the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation.
The development corporation and several other organizations have been working on ways to attract new business opportunities to the Valley. That has led to the creation of the Central Valley Global Trade and Investment Plan, which was developed as part of the Global Cities Initiative from the Brookings Institution and JP Morgan Chase. The plan recognized the Valley as an “up and coming” region for the state’s economic development.
“I would gamble, in the next five to 10 years, Fresno is going to be a completely different place,” Bosland said.
The plan outlined ways the Valley can improve low incomes and unemployment and also suggested stronger global engagement, something Bosland views as critical.
“While poverty is a problem, it also means we have a large population hungry for something new,” Bosland said. “It’s not easy work, and it’s pretty slow work, but it’s being done.”
Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado is a reporter with The Fresno Bee. This article is part of The California Divide, a collaboration among newsrooms examining income inequity and economic survival in California
Chevron will present a $156,000 check to Taft College to help fund the development of the Allied Health and Sciences Lab, specifically by providing medical equipment for expansion of its anatomy and physiology curriculum.
The ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 5 in the Taft Chevron Innovation Lab. Lunch will be served immediately following in the Cougar Room on campus.
This donation will strengthen Taft College’s collaboration with Kern County schools by expanding classes for science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.
“For years we have had a waiting list for certain science courses, which meant students had to delay finishing their coursework,” said Taft College Superintendent and President Debra Daniels in a news release. “Through Chevron’s generous donation we were able to double our science course offerings in anatomy and physiology, which will enable more students to get to their education goal.”
Chevron has partnered with Taft College for more than a decade, donating in excess of $1.5 million to support Taft College students through internships and connecting employees with students to discuss the industry.
To help Central Valley residents access lucrative tech careers
Modesto program to help train 1,000 new programmers in next five years
As many as1,000 Central Valley residents could be trained to be software programmers in an expanding program offered in Modesto. Programmers are in sharp demand and often command high salaries.
Bay Valley Tech is teaming with the Stanislaus County Office of Education to offer free training – valued at as much as $15,000 – for local residents.
Students in the “code academy” learn new programming skills through flexible online courses, peer-based tutoring and weekly in-person classes where they have opportunities to network with local software professionals and hiring managers. Bay Valley Tech says it has also partnered with local companies to provide software professionals as code academy mentors and paid internships for top program graduates.
“The local tech community plays an invaluable role inspiring, supporting, mentoring and lifting each other up toward better-paying careers,” says Phillip Lan, president of Bay Valley Tech.
“Our collaboration with Bay Valley Tech will provide Stanislaus County residents with an accelerated, cost effective training program, giving graduates of the program access to high-tech careers that are in demand,” adds Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Scott Kuykendall.
Interested students and corporate sponsors should fill out the Bay Valley Tech contact form at
www.bayvalleytech.com/contact to receive more information.
Bay Valley Tech also offers classes in Stockton, withmore planned in Turlock, Tracy and Livermore.
Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) says it plans to hire more than 53,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal workers across its more than 1,700 U.S. stores this spring.
The company says it will roll out hiring events in all store locations over the next three months by region to meet the seasonal spring hiring needs across the country. Lowe’s stores in Southern California, where spring weather typically arrives earliest, will host the first walk-in hiring events from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 8. Candidates may receive on-the-spot offers during this open interview process, the company says. Additional hiring events at stores in the remaining U.S. regions are scheduled for January 15; February 5; February 19 and March 4.
“Spring is the busiest season for home improvement projects and a great time to launch a new career at Lowe’s,” says Jennifer Weber, Lowe’s executive vice president, human resources. “As part of our strategy to … operate our stores more efficiently, these hiring events will help us build the right teams at the right times across the U.S. to meet customer demand as they plan for spring.”
Available in-store seasonal positions include cashiers, lawn and garden associates, stockers and loaders. All hourly associates are eligible to participate in Lowe’s quarterly bonus program. Seasonal positions typically support stores through the summer. In 2019, approximately 50 percent of seasonal hires were converted to permanent associates.
Full-time and part-time year-round positions are also ,available and include department supervisors, cashiers, ,stockers, sales specialists, pro customer service employees and merchandise service workers. Full-time and part-time employees can take advantage of Lowe’s comprehensive health and wellness benefits, incentive programs, 401(k), a discounted stock purchase plan, tuition reimbursement and paid volunteer time.
Lowe’s also offers Track to the Trades, a company-funded certification program to help part-time and full-time associates pursue careers in the skilled trades, such as plumbing, electrical or HVAC.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — The road to a bachelor’s degree in business is hitting the fast track for some Valley students.
A partnership between Fresno Pacific University (FPU) and Reedley College will allow students at community college to earn the advanced degree without even leaving campus.
“A portion of the course is offered on site and a portion happens online and we can get students through their bachelors in about 18 months,” says Dr. Katie Fleener, the dean of FPU’s School of Business.
Bringing the degree to students’ doorstep was crucial since transportation can be an issue for folks living outside Fresno.
“I come from a rural community and I understand that students can’t always go away or stay at school or travel. Even if travel isn’t a problem, if they have a vehicle it’s time away from helping with the family or helping on the farm, taking care of your kids or trying to work and make ends meet,” says Dr. Sharon Starcher, program director of the FPU School of Business.
Students only need to have 60 units of transfer credit or an associate’s degree to qualify.
Each bachelor’s level business class is about 6 weeks.
“It’s FPU faculty, FPU curriculum, coursework just in the Reedley college classroom,” says Fleener.
Features keynote speaker John Shegerian The 6th annual “Valley Made” Manufacturing Summit is scheduled for April 21, 2020 in Fresno, say the sponsors, the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance and the Fresno Business Council. It is scheduled to feature keynote speaker John Shegerian, co-founder and executive chairman of Fresno-based ERI.
More than 1,000 representatives from the manufacturing industry are expected for the day-long event at the Fresno Convention Center Exhibit Hall. Registration is open by visiting www.sjvma.org. Also sponsorships and exhibit space are available by contacting Genelle Taylor Kumpe via email (email@example.com) or calling 559.214.0140.
The event is designed as a workshop and resource expo that celebrates the Valley’s history of innovation in manufacturing while providing resources and networking opportunities that continue to build a well-trained, outstanding workforce.
“The goal … is to provide manufacturers with the needed resources and workforce connections to upscale and train existing employees for today’s automated technologies, and to attract the next generation workforce to grow the industry and region for a brighter future,” says Troy Brandt, chairman of the board for the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance and general manager at Hydratech.
Mr. Shegerian is scheduled to talk about how to attract and retain effective employees and clients through good times and bad. As an entrepreneur, Mr. Shegerian co-founded several organizations built on his philosophies of making the world a better place one business at a time, and of providing a second chance to those who are most in need. His philosophies have led him to run the largest electronic recycling company in the U.S., among other ventures.
“The convention center will be filled with the leading lights of the Central Valley’s manufacturing industry and many of my fellow local business leaders, so I’m excited to have the opportunity to share useful takeaways regarding positive culture team building and how to balance best employee retention practices and effective operations with growing a profitable enterprise,” says Mr. Shegerian.
The San Joaquin Valley’s manufacturing industry is responsible for nearly $15 billion of the Valley’s gross domestic product and employs more than 105,000 people. Nationally, it is estimated that over the next decade, almost 3.5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs will need to be filled due to baby-boomer retirements.
A Canada-based company plans to use a 196,000-square-foot building in Beard Industrial tract to manufacture and distribute cannabis products. It would possibly be the largest commercial cannabis facility in California. The building, on Daly Avenue, is pictured here, on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in Modesto, California. CHRIS WINTERFELDT
A Canada-based company has big plans to manufacture and distribute cannabis products from an expansive building in Modesto.
In April, Transcanna Holdings Inc. announced the purchase of the 196,000-square-foot building on Daly Avenue in the Beard Industrial District. The company with corporate offices in Vancouver has also acquired locally based Lyfted Farms, a county-permitted cannabis business that will manage the Modesto operations.
Lyfted is seeking a permit from Stanislaus County for growing cannabis in a 32,700-square-foot area inside the building. Cannabis products would be processed and packaged in the former turkey processing plant and distributed to retail outlets in California.
At full scale, the production facility operating seven days a week could employ 200 to 250 workers. In addition to cannabis flower, pre-rolls, oils and cannabidiol, the plant would use an extraction process to make edibles and vaping products.
The three-story facility also has the ability to freeze harvested cannabis to preserve its essential ingredients.
“We like indoor growing, but most of the facility would be for distribution and manufacturing,” said Steve Giblin, Transcanna’s chief executive officer.
Plans are to begin operations in the first quarter of 2020 with a small cultivation area and distribution, said Bob Blink, chief executive officer of Lyfted Farms. Security measures will include an 8-foot perimeter fence, surveillance cameras, an alarm system and at least three security guards.
“It is very secure,” Blink said. “Security is a big point locally and in the state. It has the best security around just by the way the building is designed.”
Transcanna is a startup company formed two years ago. With the Modesto processing plant, Transcanna’s website says, the company is positioned to serve the cannabis market in California, which apparently is regarded as the largest in the world. Extensive improvements have been made to the building.
The company’s stock is listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange. The stock price has swung from $7.88 per share in May to closing at 79 cents on Monday.
A county Planning Commission hearing on the project could be set for Dec. 19, if the applicants come through with requested information for the county this week, or the hearing could be held in January.
County Senior Planner Kristin Doud said staff was waiting for information such as whether rooftop parking would be utilized. In addition, the county and the applicant still were discussing the fees to be paid to the county. A facility of that size could generate millions of dollars in fees over a five-year period.
A study on air quality and odor control could raise some questions before the Planning Commission, and traffic is another potential issue.
Doud said the cannabis fees spelled out in development agreements are based on the cultivation square-footage and anticipated output of manufacturing and distribution or may be a simple 3 percent of gross sales.
An earlier proposal for the Daly Avenue building was one of the original applications in 2017 when the county rolled out its permitting program for commercial cannabis, which was legalized by Proposition 64. A county screening process rejected that first application because it included too many applicants for one site, Doud said.
Lyfted came forward with the current application when a second county application window opened in August.
Transcanna said in April it had purchased the Daly facility for $15 million and would make an $8 million down payment, while the seller, Cool Swang, carried a $6.5 million promissory note at 7 percent interest for 13 months. In October, the company said the loan’s maturity date was being extended six months and issued 500,000 in restricted shares of stock (priced at 56 cents) to Cool Swang to settle a $280,000 fee. Cool Swang is owned by Chad Swan.
When asked about the company’s current stock value, Giblin said there was initial enthusiasm for investing in the cannabis industry but the realities of business are now affecting the stock price. Investors will want to see profits on the horizon.
Giblin said he expects the Daly building and the strong facility management team will help establish investor confidence. Alan Applonie was hired in June as the plant’s general manager. According to a news release, Applonie was instrumental in growing a consumer packaged goods company “from startup to two billion dollars in annual revenues” and has infrastructure systems experience with Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart and Kroger.
Transcanna also will rely on the expertise of Lyfted Farms. Earlier this year, county supervisors approved a permit for Lyfted to grow cannabis indoors and package products in a 19,500-square-foot warehouse on Jerusalem Court in north Modesto.
The Canadian firm also acquired a cannabis business called SolDaze, which is based in Santa Cruz.
Giblin, who has a history of turning companies around in the hotel and real estate industries, said the company needs to obtain the county permit and then approval from the state.
“We are happy about the strategic purchase of the Daly building and we really like Modesto,” Giblin said. “We think it’s a great place to grow.”