Thursday, June 7, 2012

Meeting to focus on generating jobs in energy, manufacturing & logistics

Jobs are a big deal in California's economically hard-hit San Joaquin Valley.

To one group in particular, getting people to work serves as a call to arms. The Regional Jobs Initiative, or RJI, is a public-private partnership begun in 2004 to build an economy better able to weather natural downturns and take advantage of opportunity and expansion.

The RJI has a dozen teams, or "clusters," that focus on various aspects of industry. One of the most exciting -- at least from our perspective at the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization -- is the cluster involved in analyzing and improving the region's manufacturing, logistics and energy prospects.

That group meets from 2 to 5 p.m. June 11 at San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, 1990 E. Gettysburg Ave. in Fresno to dicuss the latest development plans and opportunities.
Mike Dozier from the Office of Community and Economic Development at California State University, Fresno will launch the meeting, while Doug Svensson, Trish Kelly and Kathie Studwell from consultant Applied Development Economics and others provide details of their latest findings, research and opportunities.

Carole Goldsmith, vice chancellor of educational services and workforce development at West Hills Community College District, will provide the latest details from the Central California Community Colleges Committed to Change, or C6, project. The goal of the C6 effort is to build an industry-supported common curriculum among the Valley's community colleges that prepares students for immediate hire.

There will be break-out meetings that address opportunities for growth, trends, issues and other regional and local initiatives. Another topic addresses key gaps in work force, infrastructure, financing, innovation and regulatory issues.

Group discussion will seek to identify the top two or three priorities for cluster initiatives and determine what will it take to realize the opportunities.

Also on the agenda are next steps for the San Joaquin Valley Cluster Action Plan and its implementation. Participation is welcome.

Dozier's group and partners are convening a series of meetings throughout the Valley with stakeholders, including employers and partners, to identify key competitiveness issues and opportunities for innovation and growth, and develop strategic action recommendations to “capture the value chain” for the region’s key clusters.

Meetings will address the health and wellness, energy, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and water technology clusters. The Valley-wide Economic Summit in March 2012 developed recommendations for the Food and Agriculture Value Chain, including food production, processing, support and distribution.

An action plan and implementation strategy is scheduled to be completed by July 2012. Project contacts are Dozier at or Kelly at

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