Supervisor's Corner with Bob Williams and Steve Chamblin, Summer 2019
8 Aug 2019
It’s that time of the year when we welcome in another issue of “Supervisors Corner”. As we make our way through another Tehama County summer, even though the weather has been hot, hot, hot, our Economic Development team has been hard at work looking at ways to improve our local economy and provide jobs for our residents.
One of the issues that we hear from employers throughout California is the area of workforce development and employee retention. Finding well-trained employees with the skills needed to do a particular job and being able to keep them is oftentimes a challenge for our local businesses.
To that end, our team put together a “Business Barriers and Progress: Workforce” meeting on August 2 to discuss recruiting difficulties, workforce programs, educational opportunities and incentives. The agenda and program for this meeting was the result of a conversation had by our very own Economic Development Liaison, Amanda Jenkins and Jordan Wright, President of St. Elizabeth Hospital.
Mr. Wright gave those in attendance an overview of the difficulties in finding qualified individuals with the right skills and education to fill well-paid positions within the health care field in rural areas. While many of these highly paid jobs only require a two-year post-secondary degree and certification, filling these openings and retaining those employees has proven to be somewhat difficult. This sentiment was echoed by many of the employers in attendance and discussion was held on how to not only attract new employees from out of the area, but how to keep our “best and brightest” folks employed and here at home.
The highlight of the day was a presentation by Director Kim Vann, California State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture of a $40,000 grant award to Tehama County to fund a feasibility study into the creation of an incubator kitchen at the Red Bluff Community Center. It is our hope that we can turn the existing underutilized commercial kitchen at the Center into an asset that can be used by aspiring local food entrepreneurs in developing their own food businesses, without the expense of purchasing costly equipment.
All in all, the meeting was well attended and well received by those in attendance. Special thanks needs to be given to our guest speakers, Jordan Wright of Dignity Health, Kathy Sarmiento of the Job Training Center of Tehama County, Becky Roe from Sierra Pacific Industries, Terrance Rodgers from Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), Michael Cross from NoRTEC, Manjeet McCarthy from GoBiz, and to Director Kim Vann of USDA-RD. We very much look forward to our next event dealing with a relevant topic to local employers.
On a different note, we are happy to report that our grant application to fund the creation of a prospectus for our joint Opportunity Zone with the City of Corning, the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, the City of Orland and Glenn County has been submitted and we hope to begin work shortly on this document that will help in our efforts to attract businesses and investors to our region and bring with them the jobs that will be created. We will be happy to inform you when that document is released and available for public review.
Another bit of other happy news to report is that the Tehama County Planning Commission has approved the Use Permit for a new cell phone tower in Rancho Tehama and that the plans and specifications for the tower have been reviewed and approved by the Tehama County Building Department. Pending a successful vote of the owners within the Rancho Tehama Association, AT&T and Epic Wireless plan on beginning construction with hopes to have the new tower and the cell service it will provide fully operational by the end of this year. This will not only provide improved cell service to the residents of Rancho Tehama, but this new equipment will provide higher internet speeds and faster, more reliable service to the area.
We are also delighted to report that a lease has been signed with Marshall’s department store and that plans for the grand opening of this new business in the remodeled former Walmart building are on schedule for November of this year. Many local shoppers have expressed how happy they are to have Marshall’s located nearby and we look forward to their hiring event and the jobs that this new retail store will provide.
On a rather sad note, we, unfortunately, have to announce that our Economic Development Coordinator, Caylyn Wright has accepted a position as Political Director for the Personal Insurance Federation of California. Working with Caylyn as the lead person on our economic development team since 2015 has been both a joy and a privilege. The strides that we have made in these past few years can be directly attributed to the long hours of effort that Caylyn and Amanda have put forth to help the people of Tehama County. Caylyn’s professionalism and work ethic while performing her duties will be hard to duplicate. While we are saddened by this loss, we wish her the very best in her new position.
Meanwhile, our work here continues and the rest of us will endeavor to pick up the slack and carry on. We will continue to work with our existing partners and find new avenues to explore in the area of economic development. As always, our goal and our mission is to see existing business thrive and to attract new businesses to Tehama County that will provide good-paying jobs for our citizens. With help from our citizens and support from the community, we will succeed.