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CENTRAL VALLEY TOPS LIST OF U.S. AG COUNTIES

Published On April 11, 2019 – 2:13 PM
Written By David Castellon

California once again led the nation in agricultural sales in 2017, with six Valley counties — along with one along the state’s Central Coast — topping ag sales across the nation.

This according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Census of Agriculture, which gathers information annually on U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them.

Agricultural sales in California exceeded $45 billion in 2017 — about 12 percent of total U.S. ag sales — far outpacing the No. 2 state, Iowa, which had sales totaling about $29 billion, followed by Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Indiana.

But while the USDA lists the same top ag counties as the California Department of Agriculture, they don’t list them in the same order.

Most notably, the federal agency lists Fresno County as the top ag county in the nation for 2017.

CDFA placed Fresno County as third in sales that year, behind Kern and Tulare counties, respectively.

CDFA officials couldn’t be immediately reached to determine if the USDA census used different criteria in determining total ag sales.

The other four top ag counties were, in order, Monterey, Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin, all of which also are among the top seven ag counties on the USDA’s list.

The top commodities produced on farms nationally were cattle and calves, followed by corn, poultry and eggs, soybeans and milk. California lead the nation in milk production, a total of 18 percent.

Other California highlights from the farm census:

– The state’s top commodities were fruits and nuts, with $17.5 billion in combined sales; vegetables, with $8.2 billion; milk, with $6.5 billion; cattle and calves, with $3.1 billion; and horticulture, with $2.9 billion.

– Total farm production expenses for California totaled $37.8 billion.

– The average age of the California farmer was 59.2 years old, compared to the national average of 57.5 years old.

– Military veterans accounted for 10 percent of California farmers, compared to about 11 percent, nationally.

– At 14,552 farms, California was the top state using renewable energy-producing systems in agriculture. Solar was the most common renewable energy-producing system on farms and ranches in the state.

Central Valley tops list of U.S. ag counties

‘Opportunity Zones’ Spur New State Tax Incentives

Editor’s note: This story was corrected April 4. Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly named Novogradac & Co. LLP.

Governors helped the U.S. Treasury Department choose nearly 9,000 economically distressed “opportunity zones” where people can get a tax break for investing in certain businesses and properties. But the 2017 federal tax law that created the zones doesn’t allow governors or state lawmakers to steer investors’ money into certain projects.

They’re trying to influence the market anyway.

This year 17 state legislatures have considered opportunity zone bills, including proposals for additional tax breaks to lure investors or encourage certain projects, such as affordable housing or solar energy development, according to Novogradac & Co. LLP, an accounting and consulting firm that is keeping track.

The federal government is expected to announce a second round of proposed opportunity zone regulations any day now, which would give many investors confidence to start striking deals.

“Through the added incentives, states can encourage the type of development they want to see in opportunity zones,” said Michael Novogradac, managing partner of Novogradac & Company.

Novogradac cautioned, however, that ultimately cities and counties may have more power over what gets built in a zone than states do. Last year, for example, the City Council in Boulder, Colorado, halted some development in its zone, citing the need for more planning.

“I do think they can bend the curve to be sure,” Novogradac said of states. “But at the end of the day it really depends on local government and local policies.”

Trump Tax Break Aims to Turn Distressed Areas Into ‘Opportunity Zones’

Much of the early investment in opportunity zones is flowing into real estate. Sales of undeveloped land, previously developed but vacant land, and properties ripe for demolition and redevelopment surged in zones last year, according to a December report from Real Capital Analytics, a company that tracks real estate markets.

New York City, Los Angeles and Phoenix may be the hottest markets for opportunity zone funds, the report said.

Some state lawmakers want to tip the scales in favor of projects their constituents need but may be riskier or less lucrative than a new hotel or apartment building in a big city.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has proposed a state tax break like the federal one, though it would apply only to green technology and affordable housing projects.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, wants to lure businesses into zones with additional tax breaks for creating jobs, expanded workforce training assistance, and more funding for affordable housing development and small-business loans, among other incentives.

Washington state Rep. Mike Chapman also is interested in offering state tax credits to opportunity zone investors who can create jobs in economically depressed rural areas.

“We don’t have a lack of construction work in this state, so it’s not like we need to build more buildings,” the Democrat said. “We need jobs in rural counties that are living wage jobs where people can consistently receive a paycheck.”

A ‘Windfall to Investors’

To get the federal tax break, people must invest earnings from selling stocks, bonds or property in a fund that, in turn, invests in businesses or property in an opportunity zone. Investors who put money into such a fund can defer paying taxes on their gains right away and earn a 15 percent tax cut on the gains after holding their shares for seven years.

Investors who hold their shares for 10 years don’t have to pay capital gains taxes on money they make from those shares.

Most states have adopted a similar tax break. Nine states have not aligned with the federal tax break because they don’t tax incomes. Lawmakers in eight states have either declined to offer the same incentive or haven’t acted yet, according to Novogradac. But it’s not clear that creating a state version of the federal opportunity zone tax break will make much of a difference to investors.

Federal tax law typically influences people’s choices more than state tax law, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, a nonpartisan adviser to the legislature, said of Newsom’s plan in a recent report. “Any state tax benefit provided would be a ‘windfall’ to investors because they likely would have made the investment even without the state benefit,” the report said.

Some progressive advocacy groups say the state tax breaks are a waste of money.

“It’s going to be going to the investor class, which is not a piece of our society that we need to help,” said Jody Wiser, executive director of Tax Fairness Oregon, a nonprofit pushing to eliminate Oregon’s version of the opportunity zone tax break.

“Most of the money will be spent where money was going to be spent anyway,” she said.

She pointed to zones in downtown Portland that already are filling up with office buildings and trendy restaurants.

Piling on Tax Breaks

Lawmakers are looking for other ways to use the state tax code to spur investment, particularly in businesses.

Encouraging investors to put money into businesses under current opportunity zone rules could be a challenge. State economic development officials have called for clarifying some of the criteria, such as the requirement that eligible businesses must derive half their income within a zone.

That requirement could disqualify “most e-commerce companies, manufacturers, and other businesses with the potential to create significant numbers of new jobs and wealth for their communities,” officials from Rhode Island, Utah and Louisiana wrote in a recent op-ed in The Hill.

West Virginia Del. Joshua Higginbotham, a Republican, has proposed giving investors in zone businesses a 10-year reprieve from state income and business taxes.

“What we wanted to do in West Virginia,” he said, “is make sure that our 55 opportunity zones are the most competitive of any opportunity zones in the country.”

Last week West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice vetoed Higginbotham’s proposal, but the legislator said he plans to push his bill again during an upcoming special session without the amendments Justice opposed.

Washington’s Chapman wants his state to offer $60 million in business tax credits to investors in opportunity zone funds focused on rural, economically depressed counties.

Funds would need permission from the state Department of Commerce to pass on the credits, and if they were to misuse the taxpayer dollars, they’d have to pay the state back.

The Senate has amended the bill to conduct a study on rural economic development programs, including tax credits, before the state makes any investments.

In Maryland, Hogan has proposed both new tax credits and expanding existing economic development programs — such as one that pays for the demolition of derelict buildings — to advance projects in opportunity zones.

“We’re really tying together everything that we were already doing and trying to use it to bolster the opportunity zone investment,” said Sara Luell, director of communications for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

The additional state assistance would be available to any business or real estate project in a zone, she said, even those not receiving money from an opportunity zone fund.

Hogan recently toured a real estate project that will turn 40 acres of parking lots near a light-rail station into a hotel, office space for health care company Kaiser Permanente, apartments, a parking garage, and shops and restaurants.

An opportunity zone fund will help finance the apartment buildings, said Scott Nordheimer, a partner at Urban Atlantic, the company behind the project. But the project also relies on a long list of other incentives, he said, including state income tax credits and Prince George’s County’s multimillion-dollar investment in streets, utilities and other infrastructure on the site.

Without county help, the development would still be a parking lot.

“You could not privately finance the infrastructure,” Nordheimer said.

https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2019/04/03/opportunity-zones-spur-new-state-tax-incentives?utm_campaign=2019-04-03+Stateline+Daily&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Pew

Change is happening in Fresno schools and the workplace


(Photo: JISC/Flickr)

Developing a strong workforce is critical to the success of our communities and the employment of everyone who wants to work. Figuring out how is crucial.

There is no better place to begin than within our school system. Students that go to schools where they are assigned project-based lessons learn far more than academics and technical skills. They learn to work as a team, how to hold people accountable, why diversity matters, and they develop vital social skills. These students go above and beyond because they don’t want to let their team down. As many of the projects involve real-world business or social problems, they learn what it feels like to make a difference.

Project-based learning is proving to be an effective path to developing a strong workforce and confident life-ready citizens. The good news is that this approach is taking root and spreading.

However, many educators are not prepared to teach this way. Classrooms are designed for students to learn sitting in rows with the “sage on the stage.” Learning to coach, working alongside practitioners from various workplaces, teaching on a team all require a change in mindset and new practices. What we hear from those teachers who have embraced these new practices is remarkable. Working on a team to achieve a meaningful purpose brings out the best in most people. It’s what makes companies, communities and classrooms the places we want to be.

This shift is not limited to the classroom. It is happening in workplaces too. Top-down leadership parallels the sage on the sage model. It is no longer effective. Change is too rapid. Facts don’t stay facts for long and data are overwhelming. Self-governing enterprises are the wave of the future.

Earlier this year, representatives of the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance had a meeting with students and teachers at Phillip J. Patiño School of Entrepreneurship, an innovative high school in the Fresno Unified School District. They found the culture remarkable. It was clear that the students AND the teachers want to be there.

As part of the visit, students from Edison High School and Patino presented their projects.

Students from Patino were concerned about the health and well-being of their friends. They decided to put together a package of items to support them. They formed a company and named it Reborn, apt for their goals. Their excitement in forming their own business and filling a need were inspiring. An entrepreneurial mindset is contagious.

The students from Edison are proud “geeks.” Having the opportunity to focus on STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Math—they wanted to make sure younger students understood the opportunities. They started a nonprofit with this mission: “Students are told to push themselves, to better themselves in a global economy where success is no guarantee. We students must do this dogma justice: we study, learn, act, work and play with this maxim as we strive to become our best selves.” On our journey of self-improvement, however, many of us forget to bring up our community along the way.” Check out their website here. Clearly they already understand the importance of civic stewardship.

The Democracy Schools projects, facilitated by the Civic Learning Center, are chosen by students in grades 5, 8 and 11. For the past several years their choices were sobering—mental health, teen suicide, date rape, and other difficult topics. This year many of the topics are focused on preventing and de-escalating violence. Their solutions and commitment to executing them are a beacon of hope. Peers impact peers. Team-based projects can change the trajectory of our community both in the classroom and the workplace.

Our country was founded on the principle that we could govern ourselves if we were informed, enlightened and engaged. Our schools are starting to create the environment for this to happen.

Building a strong workforce is our common cause. Success means a whole community call-to-action to support our students by getting involved as advisors and mentors and offering them internships and externships.

An earlier version of this commentary ran in the Fresno Business Journal.

Deborah Nankivell is CEO of the Fresno Business Council.

http://caeconomy.org/reporting/entry/change-is-happening-in-fresno-schools-and-the-workplace

1,000 jobs coming to Central Valley

Central Valley Business Times

April 8, 2019

• They’ll be at a new T-Mobile customer call center in Kingsburg
• Company says it will offer a new level of customer service

T-Mobile U.S. and Sprint have picked Kingsburg in Fresno County as the location for their previously announced Central Valley “Customer Experience Center.” The new call center will have more than 1,000 employees. The companies say the new workers will earn wages on
average over 50 percent higher than the average wages in Fresno County, which will also make the the call center one of the highest-paying employers in the area.

The Kingsburg call center is to have what T-Mobile terms its “Team of Experts” service model, which provides customers direct personal access to a dedicated team of specialists when they call or message for assistance. The specialists are to work with local retail and engineering  eams to address a wide variety of topics and tackle complex challenges for customers primarily based in California.

The combined company will have 7,500 more customer care workers in 2024 than the two stand-alone companies would have employed, they say. It all depends, however, on the closing of their merger to become what the companies want to call the “New TMobile.”

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/aa2510f6-dfc0-42b6-af7e-db406cf9132c.pdf

 

Find a job at Turlock’s Ten Pin Fun Center as staffing begins for spring opening

 

Merced College receives $5 million gift. It’s the largest donation in school history

 

New Visalia museum planned for downtown historic district

Visalia was founded 167 years ago and is the oldest community in the San Joaquin Valley.

It’s surprising to some that the city doesn’t have a museum dedicated to its rich history. There is, of course, a museum at Mooney Grove Park but the focus at the museum is the Tulare County history and farm labor.

Visalia Heritage Inc. may have an answer.

Property owners Ernie and Liss Crotty may convert an 1883-built home in the historic district of the city into a public museum for Visalia.

President of Visalia Heritage and local architect Michael Kreps says the home the Crotty’s own at 617 N. Encina Ave., a Queen Anne-style Victorian, has been well preserved and “is in very good shape.”

This week, after several months of meetings, Ernie Crotty says they will meet with city planning staff for the first time to gauge what hurdles they may expect if the idea moves forward.

Since then, Crotty has made it his life’s work to restore the home.

Now over 70, Ernie says he wonders about the home’s future and has talked to friends about the idea of doing something like what preservationists have accomplished with the old Fox Theater through community effort.

“I did not want to think about someone coming along buying it and turning it into an Airbnb or something,” he said.

Crotty says he would love to simply donate the home for a museum but say he wants to move nearby and that will cost money.

“My general idea I have talked about is to donate about half the value and the furnishings and hope with a group effort, we can raise the funds and come up with enough interest to move forward,” he said.

He wants to open the home to the public and offer tours.

“It was originally the Stevens house (A Visalia merchant before the turn of the century) and it is one of the oldest in Visalia,” Kreps said.

The house had the town’s first gas generator to light up the place before there was electricity.

Visalia Heritage and the Crottys already have a collection of items that could be put on display and with word spreading about such a museum dedicated to Visalia history, there would be plenty more.

Well-known Visalia historian Terry Ommen is on board with the project as well.

The museum would be located in the heart of the 50 home historic district just north of Downtown Visalia, a few blocks north of Fox Theater. The Visalia Chamber of Commerce offers a self-guided walking tour of the district with descriptions of 29 homes in the area.

The district was established in 1979.

https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2019/03/12/new-visalia-museum-planned-downtown-historic-district/3139887002/?utm_source=visaliatimesdelta-Daily%20Briefing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_briefing&utm_term=list_article_thumb

CCVEDC Conducts Annual Mission to State Capitol

For Immediate Release

CONTACTS:

Lee Ann Eager, Co-Chair CCVEDC, 559-476-2513

Mark Hendrickson, Co-Chair CCVEDC 209-385-7686

Jennifer Faughn, Executive Director, 661-366-0756

CCVEDC Conducts Annual Mission to State Capitol


Photo 1 and 2: CCVEDC awaits introduction in the CA Assembly. Left to Right, Bobby Kahn, Mike Ammann, Lee Ann Eager, Lance Lippincott, Wil Oliver, Richard Chapman           Photo 3: CCVEDC Board meets with CMTA

March 25, 2019 Representatives from EDC’s throughout the Valley met with more than 20 legislators and top government officials to bring the voice of Central Valley businesses to the Capital. On the list of top priorities for the valley were Workforce Development, Infrastructure Development, Regulatory and Tax Reforms, Opportunity Zone and Tax Incentives. Central Valley priorities were presented in comparison to a list of top site selection factors for business.

“Each year, the CCVEDC Board meets with legislators to discuss mutually beneficial priorities for economic prosperity. This year we were very optimistic after speaking with Valley representatives, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the new Lieutenant Governor. It was a very busy and constructive two days in Sacramento,” according to Lee Ann Eager, Co-Chair of the California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation, comprised of the eight EDC’s from San Joaquin to Ke

In addition to valley legislators, the group met with the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy; the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GoBiz), and California Manufacturing & Technology Association officials.

 

As manufacturing is a large and still growing economic part of the Central Valley, the role of investing in Workforce Career Technical Education (CTE) has never been more important. CCVEDC supported the  State in continuing to invest and, if possible, increasing investment in Career Technical Training. Specifically, advanced manufacturing, value-added agriculture, logistics, and technology development.

“Workforce and Economic Development in the Central Valley have worked together hand in hand for more than 30 years, leveraging each other to the benefit of business and residents.  The legislators from the Central Valley understand and support the continued investment in this collaborative effort and the positive economic effect produced by this partnership,” stated Lace Lippincott, CCVEDC and CCWC Board Member.

The Central Valley is experiencing significant economic growth and activity. Yet, infrastructure development has been left behind and is needed to attract and grow jobs in this critical transportation corridor. The Central Valley is a prime location for advanced manufacturing, distribution, energy development, water technology among other sectors which support California’s identity as an innovation leader.

“It is important for our state legislators to be aware of the unique issues of the San Joaquin Valley. Water issues effect more than just farming operations, it effects all the other ancillary industries that thrive because of agriculture.” noted Bobby Kahn, CCVEDC Board Member and Treasurer.

Of California’s four million businesses, 3.1 million are sole proprietorships and 87% of companies have 20 or fewer employees. A complex regulatory process creates a significant burden on small businesses, causing many to consider leaving or expanding outside of the state.

“A vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Valley and the State is vital to the economy. Indeed, a region’s startup activity is a key factor in overall economic growth. It is critical to for these companies to be provided with relief from onerous regulations that hinder future investment and job creation,” according to Richard Chapman, CCVEDC Board member.

According to business, tax credits and other incentives can go a long way toward boosting capital — especially when the project involves job creation or a major capital investment. The new Opportunity Zones program is attractive, but hard to access and understand. Incentives allow manufacturers a chance to recover costs expended for workforce, research and expanding/staying in California.

“We encourage the legislature to conform state tax law to federal tax law treatment of Capital Gains under the Opportunity Zones incentive which will bring new investment and jobs into center city areas in need of redevelopment. Thirty-four other states have adopted state tax conformity provisions, but California has not. The Central Valley is home to over 150 Opportunity Zone census tracts that represent some of the most disadvantaged communities in nation,” stated Mike Ammann, CCVEDC board member representing San Joaquin Partnership.

CCVEDC is a not-for-profit Corporation whose mission is to attract and retain jobs and investment in the Central San Joaquin Valley counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern. They are supported by the 8-counties in the Central Valley, Central California Workforce Collaborative, PG&E and Central Calif/Central Mother Lode Regional Consortium (CRC) Partnership.

NEW STATE GROUP TO PROMOTE OPPORTUNITY ZONES

image via caloz.org

image via caloz.org

Published On March 25, 2019 – 11:58 AM
Written By The Business Journal Staff

A new California organization has been formed to help investors and developers take advantage of federal Opportunity Zones.

CalOZ “will promote competitive, equitable and sustainable Opportunity Zone investments in California,” according to a release from the organization.

“Our state must embrace new strategies to rebuild an upward economy that works for all Californians,” said Kunal Merchant, president and Co-Founder of CalOZ. “Opportunity zones offer an important new tool, not only to promote economic mobility and the green economy in areas of our state that need it most, but also to re-evaluate and re-imagine how business, government, and community work together to foster a more competitive, equitable and sustainable economy in California.”

In President Donald Trump’s 2016 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, he outlined what was labeled Opportunity Zones, which offered tax breaks on capital gains for investments in distressed areas.

In Fresno, a number of the areas were established, including the Kings Canyon and Blackstone avenue corridors.

On average, Opportunity Zones have a poverty rate of nearly 31 percent with families making 59 percent of the median income for the area, according to the release, citing information from Economic Innovation Group.

“Opportunity zones offer an intriguing new pathway for our state to expand our middle class and restore the California Dream for all residents,” said Ashley Swearengin, Central Valley Community Foundation’s CEO and former Mayor of Fresno. “I’m thrilled to see CalOZ showing leadership on this issue and excited to support their work both in the Central Valley and state as a whole.”

CalOZ’s first priority will be coordinating with the state to create “high-impact” policies in addition to the ones being offered by the federal government. The plan is to create a “triple-bottom line mindset” for social, environmental and financial opportunities, according to the release.

“With more than three million Californians residing in opportunity zones, California can and must seize the chance to deploy an unprecedented source of private capital into the communities that need it most, “ said Jim Mayer, President and CEO of California Forward. “We’re proud to partner with CalOZ to support state and local action to ensure California emerges as a national leader in this program.”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury certified more than 8,700 qualified areas throughout the country. Of those, California has around 10 percent within its boundaries. And Fresno County is ranked third in terms of having the largest designated Opportunity Zones, according to Merchant.

Those designations will last through the end of 2028.

New state group to promote Opportunity Zones

How to Meet Workforce Demands? Duncan Poly Leads the Way.

For years, there has been a nationwide shortage of workers in vocational and technical careers, largely caused by society adopting a more college-going culture.

According to Adecco, an estimated 31 million career tech jobs will be left vacant by the year 2020 due to Baby Boomer retirements.

Portrait of Bob Nelson

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city of Fresno and the Central Valley. If this is the thing of stuff to come, I am incredibly proud of this start.” — Bob Nelson, superintendent of Fresno Unified

Fresno Unified, the fourth-largest school district in California, is working to change the narrative of career tech and the looming worker shortage.

The district showcased its efforts last Thursday with an open house displaying $12 million worth of improvements to CTE facilities at Duncan Polytechnical High School.

New Heavy Trucks Facility

Perhaps the biggest upgrade is a new, 10,000-square foot heavy trucks facility large enough to fit eight semi-trucks.

“It’s the first of its kind in the nation,” said Vanessa Ramirez, Fresno Unified’s public information officer. “The facility provides the most modern equipment for preparing students for jobs in the Valley’s growing transport industry.”

Ramirez said students in the school’s heavy truck maintenance and repair program will utilize the facility. To ensure it met the needs of employers, Fresno Unified worked closely with industry partners on designs, she said.

This Has Been Needed For a Long Time

Hugo Rodriguez, the service manager at Fresno Truck Center, hopes the new facility is the first of many local high schools will construct for students.

“It is 20 years (late), but it is a great start,” Rodriguez said. “I am anxious to see what kind of kids we can get out of the program.”

Rodriguez said he’s also concerned about how many students he can get to fill vacant positions.

“The trades died out of the high schools years ago, and we’ve struggled for years finding technicians to come in and fill the voids,” Rodriguez said. “This facility is definitely needed.”

The district also expanded Duncan’s existing facilities in manufacturing and construction technology, automotive, welding and fabrication.

Students Give Thumbs-Up

To fund the work, the district utilized $7 million from Measure Q — a $280 million bond measure passed in 2010 — along with $5.2 million from a California Career Technical Education Facilities Program grant.

“In addition to better serving the Duncan students we already have, we absolutely expect attendance will grow from here for all of our Duncan pathways.” — Amy Idsvoog, Fresno Unified’s interim chief information officer

With the new improvements, Josiah Montijo said he’s not worried about whether he’ll be adequately prepared for a career in programming.

“(The improvements) will prepare you for your career or for any job you are trying to go into,” said Montijo, a senior in the school’s manufacturing pathway. “I don’t think I would be as prepared if I didn’t come to Duncan.”

Nathaniel Martinez said the new and updated facilities will definitely help him expand his knowledge in Duncan’s construction pathway.

“Previously, we were working in little portable classrooms and using the construction site that we already had to do anything that we needed,” said Martinez, a junior. “This new building is going to help us expand out more and attract new students.”

Return On Investment

There are 1,048 students at Duncan. Amy Idsvoog, Fresno Unified’s interim chief information officer, said the district is hoping the new improvements will help increase enrollment to 1,400 students in the next three to four years.

Seeing the new equipment and taking in the aroma of gas and oil reminded Trustee Veva Islas of the days she spent with her father, who was an agricultural mechanic.

“(My father) would have been so excited to have been a student here,” said Islas, who represents the area in which Duncan is located. “I am excited for those that are going to have the opportunity to come to this program, and just really have a fantastic experience.”

“I think the improvements are incredible. I think we should duplicate it in other areas.” — Brooke Ashjian, former Fresno Unified trustee

Once-In-a-Lifetime Opportunity

With all the new upgrades, Esli Cardenas said she is confident she will develop the skills necessary to land her dream job at Vanir Construction Management.

“It will definitely help me in the future, and hopefully I can start my own private business and build companies and more buildings like what we have here,” said Cardenas, a senior in Duncan’s construction pathway.

Superintendent Bob Nelson said the new facilities at Duncan is about opening doors.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city of Fresno and the Central Valley,” Nelson said. “If this is the thing of stuff to come, I am incredibly proud of this start.”

More CTE in the Pipeline

Former Fresno Unified trustee Brooke Ashjian was instrumental in boosting career technical education during his four years on the board. Seeing his vision come to life at Duncan, he said, is satisfying.

“I think the improvements are incredible,” Ashjian said. “I think we should duplicate them in other areas.”

That’s just what Fresno Unified plans to do, Idsvoog said.

The district, she said, has been approved for state grant funding, requiring a local funding match for CTE facilities at Fresno, Hoover, and McLane high schools.

Idsvoog said the district has also applied for funding for CTE facilities at Edison and Sunnyside high schools.

Such projects, Idsvoog said, are pending future board approval. She said the local match would likely come from Measure X construction bonds.

https://gvwire.com/2019/03/25/how-to-meet-workforce-demands-duncan-poly-leads-the-way/