Fresno State nursing master’s program is accredited once again

FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno State’s master’s degree nursing program is accredited once again, according to an announcement by the university Tuesday.

It comes after the master’s degree nursing program at Fresno State lost its accreditation just under one year ago. The accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) will remain until June 2025. In addition, Fresno State says its baccalaureate degree nursing program and its online psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner post-graduate certificate program have both been accredited until June 2030. “The success of our students is vital to growing a health care workforce in the Central Valley and, with that, we are pleased to admit our newest cohort of the master’s program this coming fall 2020 semester,” said chair of the School of Nursing Dr. Sylvia Miller.


U.S. Employment Outlook Hits 10 year Low

  • Hiring plans decline across all 12 sectors with those in wholesale and retail trade and construction reporting most significant reductions
  • Manpower report has bad news for Bakersfield, but fairly good news for Fresno, Sacramento and Stockton
  • Some early signs of optimism emerge

Employers in the U.S. report significant declines in hiring plan for the third quarter, according to the ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN) employment outlook survey of more than 7,700 U.S. employers conducted in April and May and released Tuesday. Hiring plans in wholesale and retail trade and construction show steepest declines from the previous quarter reflecting the impact of the shelter in place orders across the country. In contrast, employers in education and health services (+13 percent) and transportation and utilities (+4 percent) report the most positive outlooks as frontline workers continue to be in high demand both through and after the pandemic peak.

In 18 percent of businesses surveyed across the West, employers expect to grow payrolls during the July to September period. With 13 percent of employers anticipating a decline and 59 percent expecting no change, the resulting net employment outlook is +5 percent. But once data are adjusted to allow for seasonal variation, the outlook decreases considerably quarterover-quarter and year-over-year, and is the weakest reported since 2010 Moderately weaker hiring plans are reported in three sectors: education & health services, information and nondurable goods manufacturing. Employers in four of the West’s industry sectors report considerably weaker labor markets in comparison with the second quarter of 2020: construction, financial activities, other services and wholesale & retail trade.

Outlooks decline sharply in five of the West’s industry sectors when compared with the previous quarter: government, leisure & hospitality, durable goods manufacturing, professional & business services and transportation & utilities. Regionally, Fresno is among the metro areas that Manpower predicts will see double-digit employment growth. Manpower puts Fresno at 14 percent, along with the Buffalo, Saint Louis and Tampa metros. Sacramento is predicted to see an 11 percent growth, while Stockton may see employment grow by 7 percent in the third quarter, the report says. The only other Central Valley metro included in Manpower’s look at the 100 largest metros in the U.S. – Bakersfield – is predicted to have a net loss of jobs of 7 percent, one of the worst showings in the country, exceeded only by the Dallas and Miami metros.

Employers were also asked when they expect hiring to return to pre-COVID-19 levels. An optimistic 60 percent said before the end of 2020, with many expecting a return before the end of summer. Employers in education, construction and government expect the shortest COVID19 hiring impact while those in the professional sector including law firms, accountants and consultants are most uncertain. “The past weeks and months have seen the labor market transform overnight, with many industries halting hiring instantly, while others including healthcare, ecommerce and logistics saw immediate growth,” says Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America.

“These numbers reveal the depth of the impact this crisis has had on hiring intentions across our country, yet we are beginning to see very early signs for cautious optimism, ” Ms. Frankiewicz says. “As states open up essential roles remain in demand, as well as tech skills including software & app developers, and even new roles like temperature checkers and contact tracers. It is encouraging to see so many employers predict a return to pre-pandemic hiring though we must remember any signs of recovery are fragile. Now is the time for everyone to join together to rebuild confidence and create opportunities for everyone as America gets safely back to work.”

New Patterson manufacturing facility to fill jobs, boost economy


A technology company expects to hire 250 workers to run new Patterson facilities scheduled to open by the end of this year.

The full-time openings will include construction, sales, engineering and architecture jobs, said John Rowland, President and Co-founder of S²A Modular, a sustainable building company. S²A Modular plans to begin construction in July, Rowland said, creating a Patterson manufacturing factory where workers will build high-tech single family homes, apartments and hotels. The site plans shows the company will take up 1.15 million square feet along Park Center Drive, directly across the street from the Amazon Fulfillment Center. The addition to Patterson’s industrial area could boost the regional economy by $85 million, according to an analysis by Opportunity Stanislaus, which helped bring S²A Modular to the county. The business got its permit approved May 14, Rowland said, about four months after Opportunity Stainslaus CEO David White pitched potential locations to executives. “In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, this announcement couldn’t have come at a better time,” White said in a city of Patterson press release.


The estimated impact of $85 million accounts for the time it takes to build the facility and the first year 250 people are employed, April Henderson Potter, director of market research, said in an email. The total in the Opportunity Stanislaus analysis includes employee compensation and construction costs, as well as taxes such as sales tax, personal income tax and taxes on production and imports.

Demand and business in other industries may also increase, Henderson Potter said, as workers spend their income on local housing, restaurants and medical services. Beyond new employees, Rowland said S²A Modular will also source local delivery firms. “The impact reaches much further than just within the factory,” Rowland said. “It really spreads out into the community and even the surrounding communities that we do work in.”

The company has already hired three people to staff the Patterson facilities, but when mass hiring will begin has yet to be announced.


Founded in 2018, the company headquartered in Palo Alto manufactures smart, sustainable residential and commercial buildings. It constructs buildings with solar panels, battery storage and energy management systems, allowing home or building owners to disconnect from utility company power grids and gas lines. S²A Modular buildings are custom-made in factories instead of on-site. In addition to the Patterson facility, another factory is being built in Hemet in Southern California.

The company is the latest to move into the business park in western Stanislaus County, which has easy access to Interstate 5. Companies that added distribution centers to the area in the past 10 years or so include Amazon, Restoration Hardware and Grainger.

California’s Recovery Must Focus on its “Essential” Central Valley

California State Assembly, 34th District

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

Crises have a way of revealing what’s important. And Californians adjusting to life in the age of COVID-19 are learning the importance of the Central Valley. The Central Valley is home to many parts of the economy that continue to operate during the crisis producing products and providing services that we all rely on. It’s a place where food is grown, where warehouses and fleets of trucks distribute essential goods, and where the energy to power our state is made. Without these things, Californians would not be able to persevere through this pandemic.

The question Governor Newsom and the rest of the state’s leaders must ask themselves, does California have a future without essential places like the Central Valley? This crisis is proving once and for all that our state’s recovery can’t fully take hold unless we support essential regions.Right now, we recognize the everyday heroes of this crisis in the Central Valley and throughout California. However, over the years, the State of California has imposed challenges on these same professions from expensive mandates and complex rules that hinder the growing of our food and delivery of products. That can’t continue. Post-COVID-19, our laws must change to reflect our new reality.

Governor Newsom convened a task force charged with developing strategies for economic recovery, both short-term and long-term. It’s vitally important that this task force, which is dominated by individuals who represent large urban areas, provide adequate attention to the importance and needs of essential Central Valley industries. In a head-scratching decision, the co-chair is former Democratic presidential candidate, Tom Steyer, who wants to eliminate entire industries like oil and gas. My hope is the task force can aside old political agendas, and find a new way forward.

Like the rest of California, the Central Valley is hurting from unprecedented job losses. Many workers in the energy industry are out of jobs due to the downturn in oil prices, farms are hurting from lost demand from restaurants, and countless entrepreneurs are unsure if they will ever open their doors again. Short-term, the top priority must be supporting businesses, especially small ones, because people need to get back to work first. The best place to start is a moratorium on new state regulations, taxes or fees on businesses unless they are a COVID-19-related. Hitting the pause button will benefit the job recovery in the entire state, not just the Central Valley. If we want jobs to bounce back, the state needs to do everything in its power to reduce burdens so local businesses can rehire and expand.

Long-term, California is fortunate to be home to the Central Valley that feeds not only our state but the world. The state can’t continue to ignore the needs of agriculture and the importance of having a local, reliable food supply is. Sacramento needs to deliver on overdue water solutions for Central Valley farmers and create more sensible regulations that preserve the environment while keeping us competitive with other countries. This is also an opportunity to bolster domestic manufacturing in the Central Valley and other inland areas, so we are never dependent on foreign suppliers for crucial things like medical equipment. Those priorities will both create jobs and make our state more resilient to future disasters.

The COVID-19 crisis is a reminder of how reliant other parts of the state are on their inland neighbors for food and other essential goods. The resilience of our food supply and proximity to California-grown food has allowed grocery store shelves to stay stocked, but what if those shelves went empty? Other parts of the US are preparing for food shortages, but local supply chains have spared us similar shortages. That may not always be the case in the future if inland areas remain neglected by Sacramento. There are a lot of lessons to learn from the COVID-19 crisis, and none more important than realizing what’s essential. What’s clear is that the Central Valley’s success also is essential for California’s future and recovery.

Assemblyman Vince Fong represents the 34th California Assembly District which includes portions of Kern County.

Report: Improving rail service between Central Valley and Bay Area could create thousands of jobs

If a long-discussed plan to improve passenger rail service between the Central Valley and the Bay Area ever gets to the “shovel” stages, tens of thousands of new construction jobs would be created, according to a report made to the Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority Board.The so-called “Valley Link” project’s construction phase would create 22,000 jobs with worker income of $1.35 billion, says the analysis prepared by PGH Wong Engineering Inc. using a tool created by the American Public Transportation Association.

The analysis also predicts that:

• The construction phase would also generate $3.5 billion in local business sales;

• When operational, Valley Link would support 400 jobs per year with labor income of over $19 million per year,and,

• Valley Link would also generate $69 million in business sales annually.

Currently, the Central Valley is connected to Silicon Valley by the Altamont Commuter Express rail system between downtown Stockton and downtown San Jose. Although using modern diesel locomotives and passenger cars, the trains creak along over a right of way owned by Union Pacific and ordinally built in the 1800s. The passenger trains also must give way to slow-moving freight trains.“I am very pleased by the results of this analysis of the economic impact of Valley Link. This project will not only get our vital workforce to their jobs once complete but will also add 22,000 jobs to boost the economy during the construction phase,” says Alameda County Supervisor and Regional Rail Authority Chairman Scott Haggerty. Tracy City Council member and Regional Rail Authority vice chairman Veronica Vargas says the improved rail corridor would provide nearly 30,000 rides a day to commuters “eager to have relief from congestion on the I580. And, in a time of economic stress with the COVID-19 pandemic, Valley Link can provide a significant job stimulus in the region.”The first phase of the proposed Valley Link rail service would cover 42 miles connecting the existing Dublin/Pleasanton BART station to the proposed ACE North Lathrop station. A second phase would extend service from the North Lathrop station to the ACE and Amtrak Stockton station. Trains would be scheduled to allow for convenient transfers to BART. The first ValleyLink trains could be placed in service as early as 2027.

Madera Drive-in Reopens to Sold-out Crowd

MADERA, California (KSEE) – The Madera Drive-in reopened to moviegoers Friday to a packed audience. Vice President of Operations Bob Gran Jr. said they were just about to kick off the season when the pandemic hit. “We’ve worked hand in hand with the Madera County Health Department to mitigate all those measures against the virus,” he said.

The more than 300 car capacity lot has been cut to about 200, allowing at least ten feet between vehicles. Markers for social distancing were placed leading to the now outdoor snack bar and everyone is asked to stay inside their vehicles unless they have to get out (then masks are required). Despite all the new rules, the crowd still came. “Oh, it’s going to be a sell out,” Gran Jr. said. He was right, a line of moviegoers wrapped around the block. Among them was Ralph Westcott, who says the rules are worth the reward. “This, not having to set anything up yourself at home, it’s just the family time,” he said.

“It is nice to see them reopen – especially with a lot of people taking safety precautions, so that way we’re still conscious of other people’s health and safety, so that’s why I think this is way better than sitting in a regular movie theater,” said Erica Chuvichien. Gran said he wants everyone to willingly comply with the new guidelines, but they will be enforced, and people who don’t follow will be asked to leave. “If you can, please wait until we return to normal. You can come out and enjoy the normal drive-in experience. Right now it’s a special drive-in experience,,” Gran Jr. said.

This week the theater is playing Trolls World Tour and Doolittle on side one, and Knives Out and the Hunt on side two.,season%20when%20the%20pandemic%20hit.

Tulare Among Fastest Growing Cities in the State

By John Lindt

City grows by over 1,300 people in 2019, ranking it 29th in percent change from 2018 to 2019

CENTRAL VALLEY – California’s growth rate was nearly stagnant in 2019, with over two-thirds of counties seeing a dip in population, but not in inland areas like the Central Valley, where nearly every county saw an increase in population.

The Central Valley and the Inland Empire regions maintained strong growth compared to growth that slowed to nearly zero, and in many cases negative, along the coast, according to population estimates released by California’s Department of Finance earlier this month. Tulare ranked 29th on the state’s list of fastest growing cities with a more than 2% growth last year. That means an additional 1,300 residents moved into Tulare County’s second largest city bringing its total population to 67,834. Two other Tulare County cities were among the top 100 fastest growing cities in the state. Dinuba ranked 64th on the list with a 1.19% increase and Woodlake came in at No. 74 with a 1.07% increase. The county’s largest city, Visalia, is now the 44th largest city in the state with 138,649 residents, an increase of nearly 1,000 people in 2019.

Lindsay and Farmersville had the least amount of growth last year with just one and three new residents, respectively. Exeter increased by 21 people and Porterville by 165. Overall, Tulare County grew faster than the state with a modest increase of 3,389 people for a new population estimate of 479,977 and is now the 18th largest county in the state. Nearby San Luis Obispo shrunk by a few hundred residents.

Growth in California’s cities was nearly split between those with increases (256) and those with decreases (225). Of the ten largest cities in California, Bakersfield had the largest percentage gain in population (1.4 percent, or 5,500) with Sacramento (1.1 percent, or 5,700) a distant second while Fresno came in 5th place for largest numeric change (3,757, or 0.69%). Fastest growing, many inland, cities include Guadalupe that grew by 4.1%, Wasco 4.85%, Shafter 2.98%,Kingsburg 2.65%,Clovis 2.24%,Merced  2.37%, Tulare 2.07%, Manteca 1,68%, Coalinga 1.50%, Parlier 1.48% and Bakersfield 1.43%.

People wanting more space are turning to inland areas with the cost of living, and the real estate, are more affordable. Cities with a high ratio of single family to multi-family growth include: Sacramento (73.2 percent single family), Bakersfield (99.0 percent single family), Fresno (81.1 percent single family), and Menifee (99.8 percent single family) in Riverside County.

Some of the population dips in Valley cities were disproportionately affected by prison populations. State prisons are generally located in remote areas; as a result, increases or decreases in this population can account for significant changes in their respective counties. State prison declines led to population decreases in McFarland, Taft, and California City in Kern County, while driving population increases in Norco in Riverside County, Victorville in San Bernardino County, Soledad in Monterey County, and Vacaville in Solano County. Wasco in Kern County and Lathrop in San Joaquin County were among the top cities for housing growth in areas that did not experience devastating wildfires. Near the top of the fastest growing communities statewide is wildfire-devastated Paradise in Butte County that recorded a population increase of 3.26% in 2019 from 4485 in 2018 to 4631.

The city was destroyed by the Camp Fire in November 8, 2018 when eighty-six people died, tens of thousands displaced and 18,804 buildings were destroyed. It was the deadliest and most destructive fire in California. Before the fire the small city had a population of 26,800. After the Camp Fire a door-to-door count in April 2019 found just 2,034 people left. Now there is a modest comeback, according to the state count, to 4631 persons as the community slowly rebuilds.,its%20total%20population%20to%2067%2C834.

Avocados Being Tested For Central Valley Production

By Tim Hammerich with the Ag Information Network of the West

Will we see commercial avocado production move into the central valley? That’s what Joseph Mark Buhl is wondering. Along with a few collaborators, he is running a test of different avocado and rootstock combinations in the Visalia area. He wants to know, can they grow well under nets. “We’re kind of replicating almost like a Colombian rain forest in there for them. Then the hope is to keep it under 95 degrees, and the hope is to keep it above 32 degrees.”

Buhl is the cofounder of Data Harvest. He says avocados could offer central valley growers good prices, lower pesticide needs, and a water-efficient crop. “I brought this project back with Dr. Mary Lu Arpaia, UCANR Cooperative Extension, Subtropical Horticulturist about a year and a half ago when some friends of mine had shared with me what they were able to attain to these in these net houses for environments,” said Buhl. And so we thought, what a wonderful opportunity to try this out. And, so my place is in hoping that this is an industry starter for other farmers and for the central Valley. And around the world. I think there’s many opportunities and environments that haven’t been considered that this could open the doors for growing all over.”

The project is made possible in part by a USDA grant to study the concept in California and Texas.

Wonderful: Delivering Flexible Solutions to Meet Tenant Needs in Evolving Times

By Dennis Kaiser

It might be easy to focus on the agricultural and western ranch activities of California’s Southern Central Valley and overlook the region’s growing commercial real estate activity. But, the fact remains, there is an important industrial core emerging in the Bakersfield market. The southern reaches of what has often been called Americas breadbasket, sits outside of the hustle and bustle of Southern California’s urban fabric. That location provides industrial occupiers a distinct logistics advantage for a host of factors.

First, the Bakersfield area is unencumbered by the transit snarls that clog Los Angeles’ freeways. Goods are able to move in and out of the Southern Central Valley with ease. Second, and perhaps most important for logistics and supply chain operators, the location allows them to serve vast consumer bases, while remaining close enough to the ports to expedite goods movement. “The Central Valley is ideally located to move goods around the West Coast,” says Joe Vargas, president at Wonderful Real Estate Development, which develops and manages several industrial projects in the Central Valley. He notes the Central Valley location allows companies to serve the Western United States in a single-day turn. This means the entire population of California is reachable in that time frame, and on two-day turns the delivery reach expands to 70 million people, encompassing every Western state.

In Q1 2020, Wonderful delivered a one million square foot speculative facility at Wonderful Industrial Park, a 1,625-acre fully-entitled logistics park located in Shafter, CA, just north of Bakersfield. The park is entitled for 25 million square feet of development, and currently has roughly nine million square feet of occupancy, either leased or owned. Vargas says the project stands out because there are fewer than 20 like it in the entire United States. Ross Stores, Inc. leased the park’s previous one million square foot speculative facility upon completion in 2018.

Wonderful’s other Bakersfield area projects include Crossroads Business Park, which currently has 40,000 square feet of office and retail condominium units developed and an additional 40 acres of land available for office, retail, and industrial development; and the 180-acre North Meadows Business Park, located near the Bakersfield Airport. Wonderful Real Estate’s Central Valley projects place them within two and one-half hours from the critical ports in SoCal of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as Port Hueneme, a vital entry point for vehicles and fresh produce. Additionally, a Bakersfield/Shafter location is just four hours from the Bay Area’s key port in Oakland.

Overall, industrial market activity in Southern California and nationally continues to be robust. That fact is highlighted by the low vacancy rate of 2.1% across SoCal’s roughly one billion square feet of industrial space. “Factor in the functionally obsolete space and high demand, it is easy to see why the region continues to report record lease rates and sales prices,” notes Vargas. Currently, there’s about four million square feet of space under construction, and even though the market added 5.2 million square feet, Vargas says, it was such a small amount that it “didn’t make a dent,” in market fundamentals.

What is making a difference in space absorption is the fact that owners and users are seeking new, state-of-the-art facilities that feature 40-foot or higher clear heights, large truck courts, 60-foot speed bays, large column spacing, and a host of modern “bells and whistles,” says Vargas, which have all been factored into Wonderful’s projects. “It is vital that maximum rack-to-clear heights are achieved today,” he says, “because occupiers are packing more product into buildings.” The evolution of the warehouse facility has advanced to include sophisticated technologies used to pick product, as well as mezzanine space to maximize every square inch of a facility.

Wonderful delivers the trophy buildings tenants seek, along with attributes that appeal to today’s supply chain logistics user. “Wonderful offers modern facilities with 300-foot truck courts, loading capabilities, and the ability to park up to 1,000 employee cars because our Central Valley projects are not land constrained. There is plenty of room for trailer parking and storage of up to 350 to 400 trailers, and that appeals to ecommerce users who’ve been land constrained in the Los Angeles Basin, unable to expand or accommodate parking for additional employees,” Vargas says. “Many tenants are realizing it is difficult to find land with expansion opportunities in an urban market.”

The Central Valley’s economic growth has also fueled its emergence as a quality place to live. Once thought of as only an agricultural economy, the market has blossomed with highly-skilled jobs, affordable communities for families and a growing base of businesses. In fact, Vargas says companies that locate in the region have discovered a strong labor pool, noting tenants at Wonderful’s properties report their employee turnover averages about 5% annually, which significantly reduces onboarding costs and turnover risks.

Enhancing the quality of life in the Central Valley hasn’t escaped the notice of the Resnick family, owners of Wonderful Real Estate Development, which is part of The Wonderful Company. The $4.5 billion consumer goods family of companies is led by Lynda and Stewart Resnick, whose philanthropic endeavors to improve their local Central Valley communities are widespread. Through its award winning charter schools and other community-wide scholarship, career pathway, and grant programs, the Wonderful Company’s educational efforts have reached more than 55,000 students across 83 schools in 24 districts.

The Wonderful Company’s motto, “Doing Well, By Doing Good,” has certainly been evidenced by its efforts to help its local communities during the COVID-19 outbreak. The company has responded by providing internet service so more than 4,500 students could continue distance-learning in rural towns. Wonderful has also provided more than 500,000 grab-and-go meals for employees and their families, delivered more than 72,000 baskets of essential supplies and food to employees, sourced and delivered more than 50,000 N95 masks to UCLA, and provided more than 10,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. The company has also donated 1.6 million Halos to Kern County schools, Central Valley hospitals and local food banks.

UC Merced’s Incoming Chancellor on the University’s Future

The UC Board of Regents announced last week that Juan Sánchez Muñoz will become UC Merced’s fourth chancellor. As a UC alum and first-generation student, he has a lot in common with the university’s student body. He currently serves as president of the University of Houston-Downtown, and was still in Texas when Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with him about assuming leadership during a pandemic.