Category: Workforce

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

Preparing the Way for a Central Valley Renaissance

by Stuart VanHorn

June 6, 2019


Farm of the Future (Photo: WHCCD)

Recently, Governor Newsom announced his new “Regions Rise Together” initiative. Launched in partnership with California Forward and the California Economic Summit, this initiative is in recognition of the fact that the substantial economic and job growth that the state has experienced since 2010 has been concentrated in the state’s coastal areas and has largely passed over the state’s inland regions.

In fact, by the Governor’s own calculations, residents of California’s inland regions have seen their per capita income drop dramatically while 70% of job growth in the state during this same period has occurred in the state’s coastal regions. With the Regions Rise Together initiative, Governor Newsom intends on turning his “California for All” slogan into a strategy to design a comprehensive economic plan that will ensure sustainable and inclusive growth across the state and benefit all parts of California.

The announcement of the Governor’s new initiative is welcome news for those of us who live and work in the Central Valley. West Hills Community College District covers nearly 3,400 square miles of Central California, primarily in the western portions of Fresno and Kings Counties. The District serves over 8,000 students with two accredited colleges: West Hills College Coalinga and West Hills College Lemoore. In addition to its main campus location in Coalinga, West Hills College Coalinga also operates the North District Center in Firebaugh, and the Farm of the Future located at the north end of Coalinga. We are very proud of our students and our graduates and we have an 87-year history of serving students in efficient, innovative practices such as Prior Learning Assessment that promote student success and completion.

We also know well that our students face more social, economic, and structural obstacles to student success. Many of the students that we serve are first generation college students that must balance work and family obligations with their educational goals. They are hindered by the region’s higher unemployment rates, fewer jobs, and one of the highest poverty rates in the country. While Fresno County is California’s single most productive agricultural region and one of the most productive in the world (providing more than half of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States), Census data show that it is also the poorest metro area in the state and the second most impoverished region in the nation.

This data also show that Valley areas (Fresno, Modesto and Bakersfield-Delano) are among the top five U.S. regions with the highest percentage of residents living below the poverty line (one of every four). In Fresno County, median income fell from $46,479 to $42,807 during the last Census period while unemployment rose to 16 percent. In addition, food stamp use climbed to nearly 18 percent.

Beyond these economic statistics, our students also suffer from the lack of broadband internet in much of rural Fresno County. This broadband inequity makes distance education impossible, severely limits tele-health and tele-medicine opportunities, and significantly hinders educational attainment and economic growth in the region. The inequity of broadband access is a key reason why poor communities stay poor, chronic illness manifests, and social mobility is stunted. This fact is borne out by statistics. Our district has 12% of the state’s population but only 6% of the state’s bachelor’s degree holders. In addition, only 11% of the population ages 25 and above possess an associate’s degree or higher. This compares to 41% statewide.

West Hills is not intimated by these statistics. We are working every day to close these achievement gaps and increase educational attainment in our region. We offer Career Technical Educational programs that build a skilled workforce for our regional employers. We assist our students financially through our President’s Scholars program and by offering free Open Educational Resources (OER) textbooks. And we are helping eliminate the broadband inequity and ensure that reliable, high-speed broadband service is available in our region by ensuring that broadband infrastructure is built throughout the West Side and by raising funds to augment the monthly internet subscription fees of our student-led households.

The Governor’s initiative promises to build on existing locally driven initiatives in our state’s diverse regions while also leveraging the investments and policy priorities of the state. West Hills looks forward to representing our students’ and our communities’ needs in this conversation and working toward a future in which educational attainment soars, infrastructure supports growth, skills gaps are eliminated, and the quality of life increases for all residents in Fresno County.

https://caeconomy.org/reporting/entry/preparing-the-way-for-a-central-valley-renaissance

How many jobs might Hard Rock casino bring to Kern County?

It might take five years, it might take a decade, but Kern County is apparently getting a Hard Rock Cafe-branded hotel and casino.

At least that’s the hope of the Tejon Tribe of Kern County, which announced an agreement this week with Hard Rock International, the global hospitality company known for its rock ‘n’ roll-themed restaurants. Hard Rock has agreed to develop and manage a $600 million, 400-room hotel and casino that the tribe has proposed on farmland just west of Highway 99, half an hour south of Bakersfield.

Sandra Hernandez, a council member with the Tejon Tribe, joined The Californian’s Robert Price Wednesday on his weekly “One on One” noon webcast to talk about the Tejon Tribe and its vision for the hotel-casino.

Among the topics they discussed:

• The tribe is considering the possibility of building administrative offices, a health-care facility and housing near the hotel-casino, which will occupy 52 acres of the 306-acre parcel the tribe owns near Mettler.

• The hotel-casino would employ 2,000 people — more than twice the number of known Tejon tribal members. There’s no such thing as a hiring advantage for tribal members, however. “We’re an equal opportunity employer,” Hernandez said.

• Hernandez said she expects to maintain good relations and mutual support among the management of the Tejon’s Hard Rock casino and those of the Eagle Mountain and Tachi Palace gaming casinos in adjacent Tulare and Kings counties, respectively.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/how-many-jobs-might-hard-rock-casino-bring-to-kern/article_f756f168-87c6-11e9-a7da-37ca7ab1260e.html

Plans to create medical school in Valley takes shape

Friday, June 7, 2019 6:29PM

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Creating a medical school in the Valley brought dozens of leaders to UCSF Fresno.

“The San Joaquin Valley has roughly 150 doctors per 100,000 residents. In contrast, San Francisco has 411 per 100,000 residents. You can see the dramatic difference that exists. This is one of the most underserved medical regions in the country,” said Assemblymember Adam Gray.

Gray helped lead the first San Joaquin Valley Coalition for Medical Education. He’s currently working on AB 1606 to help fund the school by not allowing people to write off their gambling losses on their taxes and using that fund.

The school would likely need $500 million to get started.

At Friday’s meeting leaders spoke about combining facilities and programs to jumpstart the school.

UCSF Fresno and UC Merced would combine forces to educate students.

“Getting a medical school started is extremely complicated there are a lot of regulatory barriers, political challenges and funding challenges. We’re excited to be partnering with UCSF, the Fresno office on a path to solving those problems,” said Gregg Camfield, UC Merced Executive Vice Chancellor.

UC Merced is working to create programs for the next generation.

“You name it, every kind of health professional is needed in the Valley and we’re committed to helping to produce that workforce,” said Camfield.

More than 300 doctors are currently training in the Valley through UCSF Fresno.

“Helping to develop students from the region who come from in those underrepresented areas in medicine will allow us to put people out into the community to provide care” Michael Peterson, UCSF Fresno Associate Dean.

Keeping the community healthy with a strong workforce of health professionals

“Lawmakers, University officials and leaders hope to the ideas from this meeting and to build more partnerships and find more funding. The San Joaquin Calley Coalition for medical education plans to meet later this year.