BY MICHAEL FINCH II
MARCH 18, 2019 02:40 AM,
It’s no secret the number of super commuters – those poor people who trek more than 90 minutes each way to work – is steadily on the rise in California.
Modesto, Stockton and the San Bernardino metro areas were already super commuting hubs 12 years ago. A recent report by Apartment List shows it’s still on the rise – and the commuters often make more money than their neighbors.
The report shows wide variations in pay for those who telecommute or travel long distances for work compared with people who are employed nearby. The implication is that high-earning workers could drive up the cost of living in less-expensive areas, spreading affordability issues
Super commuters exist across the country but the prevalence is heavier in California. They can earn as much as 20 percent more than their neighbors in Stockton and 18 percent more in Modesto.
With 11 percent of its full-time workforce traveling nearly three hours for work, the Stockton area is the super commuting capital of the United States. Modesto was ranked a close second with 8 percent of its workforce doing the same.
The phenomenon is one of two parallel trends driven by the housing market in the Bay Area, said Chris Salviati, an economist for Apartment List in San Francisco. He said as rents and home prices grow further out of reach, more people look elsewhere to live but continue working in the Bay Area since there are so many high-paying jobs.
“You’ve got a lot of people that are doing quite well by conventional standards, earning six-figure salaries, but in this area that’s just not enough for them to be able to live close to the downtown areas,” Salviati said.
On the other end of the spectrum are construction workers who also travel long distances for work. But in Northern California, Salviati said the Bay Area housing crisis is more to blame. In San Francisco proper, rent growth is flattening a bit but there’s much faster growth in the outer areas, Salviati said.
“Given that these folks are coming at a higher point on the income range, they are going to be putting more pressure on the upper end of the housing supply,” Salviati said.
It is often said results speak for themselves. But, what if they don’t? What if the most important accomplishment is mastering new ways to think and work together—culture change?
The San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance is built on the work of the Regional Jobs Initiative (RJI). The RJI was designed as a 5-year sprint in 2003 to create 30,000 jobs in the Central Valley, create new civic infrastructure, strengthen the workforce and build a dozen industry clusters. The theory—if we create jobs and a strong workforce—there will be resources for the city of Fresno to invest in amenities, parks and infrastructure instead of spending the bulk of its money on law enforcement. Everyone would benefit: job seekers, employers and the community. Much was accomplished. Many lessons were learned.
Businessman Mike Betts, informed by the work of the RJI, made a commitment to lead the Alliance from a civic perspective. Rather than create an industry cluster, he and many partners from government, education and nonprofits are standing together as citizens first to align resources and to get results. Rather than think from their self-interest, they are committed to doing what is best for the whole community. Single interests fragment and negotiate. Citizens align and leverage. You know which approach delivers better results!
New programs have started, dual enrollment is increasing, millions of dollars in equipment and programs have been added to career and technical education, instructors have become certified. The results are students are becoming credentialed and qualified for jobs, and students are finding career pathways they never knew existed.
Employers are discovering that if they want a strong workforce they must become a strong partner in curriculum design. They must offer externships so instructors are up to date on workforce culture and skill needs. They must offer internships to students at various levels as first jobs of generations past are no longer available. Most of all, they must be mentors and role models. Too many of our youth and young adults did not receive the kind of mentoring those in healthy families receive by osmosis. We must be intentional.
We are not alone in this work. The California Community Colleges initiated the Strong Workforce Program and the impacts have rippled throughout the state. New funding, new policies and more alignments are the fruit of these efforts. California Forward and the California Stewardship Network are working together, not just to accelerate outcomes from this program, but to address critical community issues that prevent too many of our residents from being job ready and thriving.
2019 is a big year for us. The eighth California Economic Summit is coming to Fresno in the fall. We encourage you to check out the Summit website and read the 2019 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity. Every region is on board, Governor Newsom has been involved since the beginning and the commitment to advance economic, social and environmental issues together is shared by all. Civic stewardship—leaders working together on behalf of the whole—is the path to achieving Golden State reality.
(Photo: College of the Sequoias)
For several years in Visalia, employers told the Visalia Economic Development Corporation and the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board they had a problem.
Their present and future workers needed to understand how to function better in the workplace—what they call “soft skills.”
For Jorge Zegarra at the College of the Sequoias that was a clue to get to identify and refine trainings to meet the employer needs.
“We work with employers to meet their workforce needs because we have the willingness to improve the economic growth and global competitiveness of business and industry in our region,” Zegarra said. “This helps more workers achieve upward mobility, which in turn improves their livelihood.”
The college offers an Essential Workplace Skills Training for employees of the manufacturing and logistic companies in the community. The training consists of eight sessions of three hours each and teaches basic skills like communications, problem solving, time management and critical thinking to name a few.
The classes are either held at the Training Resource Center at the College or at a local employer.
Another workplace challenge identified by employers is training people how to manage.
“Often, you will promote a valued employee into a managerial position, and they don’t have any managerial experience,” said Bruce Nicotero, who runs the JoAnn Stores distribution center in the Visalia Industrial Park.
The Frontline Supervisory Academy is a 36-hour course that covers 12 modules in three-hour increments in which new or existing managers learn tips about how to manage and motivate, the importance of teamwork, and how to manage change in today’s economy.
“We have an open enrollment approach to support small businesses where they can send one or two of their employees,” said Zegarra, who said that a class would normally need from fifteen to twenty participants.
In addition, the College of the Sequoias has partnered with a local employer in the city’s industrial park to offer an open enrollment electrical safety and industrial motor controls class that will begin this spring—as well as offering several food safety related trainings to help local employers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act.
“The San Joaquin Valley now has sustainable support systems for Community Colleges that are industry led,” said Gurminder Sangha, Sector Navigator for Advanced Manufacturing for the California Community Colleges. “South Valley Industrial Collaborative, and San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance are the regional platforms supporting the development of K-16 CTE programs and pathways that are aligned with regional industry needs. Now my focus will be on the creating such partnerships across California to help support the Vision for Success.”
The COS mission talks about being focused on student learning that leads to productive work, lifelong learning and community involvement.
For Nicotero and other employers, there’s an appreciation for the work the college is doing not only to help employers today, but also to help build momentum for the South Valley Industrial Collaborative.
“We’ve held two Industrial Summits and we are in the early stages of building the process which will attract more industry partners and hopefully even more cooperation with local community colleges to address the key issue of workforce preparation,” said Nicotero.
The California Economic Summit—which will be held in Fresno this year (November 7-8)—brings together public, private and civic sector leaders to collaborate and adopt initiatives for fueling job creation and a stronger economy. The Summit—a collaboration of California Forward and the California Stewardship Network—has identified a strong workforce as critical to widely shared prosperity.
“It is exciting to see robust relationships developing between community colleges and employers in the Central Valley,” said Susan Lovenburg, director of the Partnership for Economic Prosperity for California Forward. “Their collaboration is crucial to building the workforce of the future.
It may be time to stop thinking of the Central Valley as the downtrodden sibling to California’s coastal powers.
By some measures, the Central Valley outperformed the Bay Area and Southern California in 2018, according to state population and economic figures.
Population growth in the Valley outpaced gains in both the Bay Area and Southern California. Job growth here was on par with gains in the Bay and was stronger than the Los Angeles/San Diego megaregion. And while the Bay Area and L.A. continue to lose residents to other parts of the state and nation, the Valley made gains in 2018.
The 17 counties between Shasta and Kern added roughly 70,000 new residents between July 2017 and July 2018, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of estimates recently released by the state’s Department of Finance. Some counties in the Valley saw significant population increases, including Kings, Placer, Merced and San Joaquin.
Of the 20 fastest-growing counties in the state last year, 12 were in the Central Valley.
One theory that could explain the Valley’s robust growth, said state demographer Ethan Sharygin: “Families are starting there and growing.” Many Valley counties had strong birth rates, suggesting residents planting roots in the region are doing so to have children in a place far more affordable than the coastal counties.
There’s more. California’s population growth in recent years has been driven primarily by births and immigration from other countries. But the Valley is also seeing an influx of new residents from other parts of the United States — most notably from the expensive coastal regions of California. The Valley added roughly 8,400 residents last year through net domestic migration, state figures show.
At the same time, the Bay Area and Southern California are losing tens of thousands of residents to other parts of the state and country. The Bay lost an estimated 42,000 more residents than it gained from other parts of the country last year; Southern California lost 125,000 residents.
Bay Area refugees continue to migrate inland in search of more affordable housing. Will that trend continue? And at some point, will parts of the Valley — especially the northern part of the region near Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto — become too expensive and too congested to make the migration worth it?
Sharygin said that will be a trend worth watching.
“(Some of the growth numbers) are surprising in light of the fact that the costs of living in the Central Valley are going up as well,” he said.
While the Central Valley may never catch up with the economic juggernauts on the coast, 2018 proved to a be very good year in the region.
According to the state’s Employment Development Department, the unemployment rate dropped in nearly every Central Valley county in 2018 (the rate in Colusa County remained steady at 12.1 percent). Some of the decreases were significant and the rates are near historic lows.
In Sacramento County, the unemployment rate stood at 3.5 percent in November, the most recent month for which figures are available. Placer County’s unemployment rate was just 3 percent, the 11th-lowest rate in the state and on par with coastal powers like Contra Costa, Alameda and San Diego counties.
The Valley also added lots of jobs last year. The number of employed people in the labor force rose 2.6 percent in the 17-county region. By comparison, the Bay Area region saw a 2.9 percent in overall jobs, while the Los Angeles-San Diego-Inland Empire area had a job-growth rate of 1.4 percent.
Rent control was a major statewide issue in California in 2018. A proposition on the November ballot seeking to expand the rights of cities to expand rent control restrictions was defeated. Meanwhile, a campaign continues to push for a 2020 ballot measure in Sacramento seeking broad tenant protections, including rent control.
Rents in Central Valley counties have been skyrocketing in recent years. According to data kept by real estate listing firm Zillow, rents went up at least 17 percent in San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties between 2015 and 2018.
However, the rent escalations may be heading toward a plateau.
Over the past year, the average rents in Sacramento County increased by less than 1 percent, according to Zillow’s data. San Joaquin County saw an estimated 1.3 percent increase in rents, while rents in Stanislaus County went up less than 3 percent.
Some counties continued to see big gains: Fresno’s year-over-year average rent increased by 3.6 percent. The average rent in Madera County is nearly 8 percent higher today than it was a year ago.
Andy Levine — a chapter director with Faith in the Valley, a faith-based organization focused on social justice issues in the Valley — expects many Valley communities to talk this year about protecting tenants from eviction, particularly in the Stockton and Modesto areas.
“In those two cities, if we don’t get a policy discussion going fast, we’re going to be too late very soon,” he said.
Stockton is seen as a potential testing ground for aggressive renter protection, given that its mayor, Michael Tubbs, is seen as one of the most progressive elected officials in the region.
Even if rent increases taper off, Levine said the need will still exist to protect tenants, especially those earning low incomes.
“Any kind of notion that it’s going away or leveling off, I think we’re hearing the opposite from folks,” he said. “There’s an increasing anxiety about rents and tenant protections.”
Central Valley Business Times
December 19, 2018
• James Irvine Foundation ponies up $350,000
• “Unexpected people and places have huge contributions to make”
Bitwise Industries Inc. of Fresno says it has received a two-year grant of $350,000 from the James Irvine Foundation to help pay for its Geekwise Academy web developer job readiness programs.
The programs train unemployed and underemployed workers in the San Joaquin Valley for middle-wage jobs in the tech industry.
“The assumption that to be successful in technology, you must be a computer scientist in the Silicon Valley with a degree from a high-profile university, is one that has kept people in the Central Valley from exploring computer programming as a career,” says Irma Olguin Jr., co-founder and CEO, Bitwise Industries. “We know that, if given an opportunity, unexpected people and places have huge contributions to make to the technology industry.”
One of the biggest problems facing the tech industry is the inabilityto find talent fast enough to keep up with demand. The purpose of Geekwise, theeducational arm of Bitwise, is to train software developers in Fresno. To date,Geekwise says it has educated 3,500 students and intentionally cultivated astudent population that is more than 50 percent female, 50 percent minority and20 percent first-generation immigrant.
DECEMBER 20, 2018 01:03 PM
Black Bear Diner is taking over the former Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery space on West Shaw Avenue. It is slated to open in February or March of 2019.
The first Black Bear Diner in Fresno is one step closer to opening.
The owner of the restaurant said Thursday that the location at 3602 W. Shaw Ave. is scheduled to open in February. She has not set an exact date.
The restaurants are hugely popular among diners in the central San Joaquin Valley, who have long wanted to open one in Fresno.
The Fresno Black Bear is owned by Amy Rose, who revealed new details about the restaurant Thursday.
It is taking over the 7,108-square-foot former Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery near West Shaw and Marty avenues. It will seat 226 people.
The diner will have a meeting room with Wi-Fi available for large groups.
Black Bear Diner will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
The location will employ 92 people and has hired some workers, but is looking for more. Available positions include cooks and prep cooks and experienced servers, hosts and bussers.
Interested applicants can apply online at Indeed.com. Positions range from minimum wage to $16 an hour, according to the website.
This will be Black Bear’s seventh restaurant in the area owned by the Rose family, including Bob Rose, who owns locations in Visalia, Madera, Tulare, Porterville, Hanford and Los Banos. The family had been planning to build a location in Clovis, but decided to open the restaurant in Fresno instead.
The brand has 119 diners in 12 states.
PREVPREVIOUSROBERT PRICE: The man who literally cleared the way for the …
Employees at Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds in Lost Hills clap on Wednesday after hearing that full-time employees will be getting a $15 minimum wage starting Jan. 1. Courtesy photo
Employees at Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds in Lost Hills clap on Wednesday after hearing that full-time employees will be getting a $15 minimum wage starting Jan. 1.
The Wonderful Co. announced on Wednesday that it is increasing its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all its full-time California employees as of Jan. 1.
The change will give more than 2,000 of its employees a 36 percent jump in pay, as the company currently pays a minimum wage of $11 an hour. The company said the increase marks an $80 million investment in its workers across all of its divisions and is the largest wage increase in company history.
The move comes as the state is working toward a $15-an-hour minimum wage by 2022. Gov. Jerry Brown approved a law in 2016 that steadily increases the minimum wage by a dollar every year, from $10 to $15.
“This substantial investment in our workers will have an immediate and meaningful impact on their lives,” co-owner Lynda Resnick said. “In addition to providing our Central Valley employees and their families free health care and education, we are now able to help them achieve a significantly improved standard of living.”
The company said employees were notified of the pay increase on Wednesday during meetings at some of the company’s facilities in the county.
“It felt like: Is this really happening?” said Julio Roja, who works as a forklift driver for Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds in Lost Hills. “We were just in shock. Everybody was happy.”
Roja said he thinks the wage increase is going to make a difference not just for his co-workers but for their families as well.
“I feel like it was a good thing they’re doing. I’m excited for everything that’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s going to make a big difference for my family, and for all of us. This is good news for everybody.”
Fellow employee Yesenia Osornio said the wage increase is just one way the company has shown support for its employees and their families.
“It’s a great company to work for, not only for the wages but the charter schools, scholarships and other things that they do,” she said.
Company officials said full-time employees who make more than the benchmark $15 per hour also will benefit with higher wages; however, it’s unclear what the amount might be or when it might happen.
Dave Szeflin, executive vice president of Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds, was excited to see the response the announcement about the increase would get from employees.
“What we’re trying to do is make The Wonderful Company the employer of choice in the Valley, and this is a big step in getting us there,” he said.
Szeflin said he hopes other Kern County companies will follow The Wonderful Co.’s example, but said that is unlikely to happen immediately.
“I don’t think we’re going to see anything in the next few weeks,” he said. “It takes some time to figure out the logistics.”
Wednesday’s announcement caught some industry insiders off guard.
“It certainly surprised us,” said Jeff Huckaby, president and CEO of Grimmway Farms, a leading agricultural company in Kern County. “We currently are evaluating the potential impact and what it means for the future.”
Huckaby said his company will continue to offer their workforce competitive wages and benefits that allow for a sustainable future. He cautioned about equating Grimmway to other ag companies, as it’s not an “apples to apples” comparison.
“Wonderful operates at the higher end of the industry spectrum … higher earnings, higher margins,” he said. “That’s not our business model.”
Bolthouse Farms, another leading agricultural company in Kern County, didn’t return a request for comment on Wednesday
UC Merced is growing and changing and one of the biggest changes will be a new standalone business and management school.By Nathalie GrandaFriday, December 14, 2018 04:18PMMERCED, Calif. (KFSN) –UC Merced is growing and changing and one of the biggest changes will be a new standalone business and management school.
The university is working to create a new interdiscplinary school, one that university officials are calling the “management school of the future”.
“We’re taking existing programs, putting them together and focusing them together on this complex system,” Gallo School Planning Initiative Director Paul Maglio said.
The new Gallo school will bring together educators from the schools of engineering, natural sciences and humanities to teach students under one main focus. The university is already known for its focus on research and science, and the new school will be incorporating those science components into their program.
“In a business school, you tend to focus on profit. In natural resources you tend to focus on the planet. In cognitive science, you tend to focus on people. We’re bringing all that together to have a sustained focus all at the same time,” Maglio said.
The university’s Ernest & Julio Gallo School of Management already has graduate business programs.
Graduate student Taylor Fugere said the science-based business program is what drew her to UC merced, and she’s hopes a new school will bring more interested students.
“I think UC merced moving in that more specialized direction is going to be really helpful in people being able to explore different career options, and being able to have more opportunities for a hands-on educational experience.”
The process will take a few years. Ultimately, the new school will need to be reviewed and approved by several campus administrators, and the University of California regents. University officials hope to have the school in place by 2021.
By Bloomberg NewsPosted Dec 16, 2018 at 12:17 PM
Worker shortage turns US labor market on its head as lower-paying jobs become plentiful and put pressure on employers to pay higher wages.
A surprise shortage of blue collar workers is changing the contours of the U.S. labor market, boosting their pay, narrowing wage inequality and drawing more women into those jobs.
The shortfall is being driven by a shrinking supply of manual and low-pay service workers as the labor force becomes more educated and less willing to take on such jobs, according to a new Conference Board study.
“The divergence between blue collar and white collar supply is going to persist and even become bigger through 2030,” Gad Levanon, chief economist for North America at the New York-based research group and one of the authors of the report, said in an interview.
That is likely to keep upward pressure on labor costs in such industries as construction, transportation and accommodation and food services. It also has implications for inflation and for the Federal Reserve as Chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues try to sustain the 9-1/2-year-old expansion without overheating the economy. Unemployment at 3.7 percent is the lowest since 1969 and running well below Fed estimates for its long-run sustainable rate.
“The acute shortage of talent in the blue collar space is very, very pronounced,” said Peter Quigley, executive vice president at Kelly Services Inc., a staffing company with branches in all 50 states.
Manufacturers and other companies with physically demanding jobs are finding it tough to fill those positions when baby boomers retire. “It’s harder and harder to attract younger people into those jobs, either because they’re pursuing education alternatives or the stigma associated with light industrial work,” Quigley said.
The supply of lower-skilled workers is also being squeezed by growth in the number of Americans who’ve claimed disability benefits and dropped out of the labor force. Exacerbated by the opioid epidemic, that’s much more concentrated in the population without a bachelor’s degree, the Conference Board report says.
Tighter restrictions on immigration are also playing a role and will continue to do so in the future, said Moody’s Analytics’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi. Many of those foreign workers are lower-skilled and in industries such as construction and farming.
Automation and off-shoring were widely expected to devastate demand for industrial workers and depress their pay, especially when compared with their more educated counterparts. But that hasn’t happened, at least so far, according to the Conference Board: Blue collar and low-pay services jobs have grown as rapidly as total employment since the economy began recovering in June 2009
For much of this expansion, manufacturers and other companies have been slow to ramp up capital spending and step up automation, opting instead to take on more workers to meet rising demand for their products and services.
That’s been reflected in the slow growth of productivity: Output per hour worked has risen at an annual average rate of 1.2 percent since the recession ended in June 2009, well below the 2.2 percent post World War II pace.
Companies may also be approaching the limits of how much of their operations they’re willing or able to outsource. “We’re probably in the third and maybe fourth cycle of outsourcing,” Quigley said. “Most of the large companies, if they were going to outsource, they’ve already done it.”
The combination of surprisingly robust demand for blue collar workers and their limited supply is forcing companies to increase pay at the bottom end of the scale. Minimum wage increases have also helped those less well-off.
That’s helping to reverse the decades-long trend toward greater wage inequality, according to Levanon, who co-wrote the report with economist Frank Steemers.
Besides granting bigger wage increases, companies are getting creative in offering other perks to employees, including more breaks, re-jigged work schedules and greater flexibility for working parents, Quigley said.
The improved packages look to be attracting more women into blue collar jobs. “It helps remove some of the inhibitions or reluctance” some women may have in taking those positions, Levanon said.
The increase in female participation is particularly evident in the transportation sector, where demand for workers has taken off because of the growth of online shopping. “It’s probably ground zero for labor shortages,” Levanon said.
“Lower income workers are doing better,” Moody’s Zandi said. “The balance of power has shifted from employers to employees.”