Stanislaus lacks “good jobs”. The 2030 plan wants to change that.

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Almond shells are among the raw materials that could be used in Stanislaus County in the “emerging sector” of bioindustrial manufacturing.

Modesto Bee File

A group of more than 200 residents and civic, political and business leaders have released a plan for Stanislaus County that they believe will catalyze the economy and help more residents thrive financially.

The plan, known as the Stanislaus 2030 Investment Blueprint, is no small feat. It is the culmination of a year of work and requires an initial investment of $75.8 million, most of which will be used to kick-start a new type of industrial economy in the region.

Proposed investments include $8.05 million for entrepreneurship and small business, $6.6 million for training and worker support services and $57.6 million – the lion’s share of funds – towards an “emerging sector” known as bioindustrial manufacturing.

Bioindustrial manufacturing focuses on transforming raw materials, including almond shells, sugar beets, corn, and soybeans, into energy, alternative plastics, plant-based proteins, and even raw materials like cement.

According to the 2030 plan, Stanislaus County is the perfect fit for this emerging industry that combines agriculture, manufacturing and technology.

“Stanislaus and Merced are the only two counties in the United States that offer the combination of extraordinarily large and diverse agricultural production and a high concentration of manufacturing activities within a short drive of a superstar tech city,” explains the plan.

The goal is that these investments in small businesses, skills training and bio-industrial manufacturing will allow workers in the region to access better, better-paying jobs.

Currently, the plan notes that only 13% of Stanislaus County jobs, or 24,000 positions, are considered “good jobs,” which are defined as those that provide an adequate annual salary, employer-sponsored benefits and a long-term path to success. To achieve the plan’s vision of economic growth and prosperity by 2030, the region will need to create “more than 40,000 ‘good jobs’ than currently exist”.

Now that the plan is published, civic, business, and political leaders are paying more attention to the price of the plan.

“It just so happens that we would have started this effort without money in the bank before COVID, but with COVID (relief money), we received significant funding from the federal government,” said Stanislaus County CEO Jody Hayes. , in a Wednesday meeting with L’Abeille.

The County Board of Supervisors has set aside about $30 million of its federal COVID relief funds for Stanislaus 2030. That’s just under a third of the total $107 million allocated to Stanislaus County by the through the American Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress last spring. The Board of Supervisors has already spent $50 million on improving sidewalks, sewers, water and other infrastructure in unincorporated parts of the county, including Bret Harte and Parklawn.

Hayes said the $30 million investment will be like a “catapult,” attracting more state, federal and philanthropic dollars to come to the table.

Marian Kaanon, CEO of the Stanislaus Community Foundation, sees money as part of a larger goal. For her, the Stanislaus 2030 plan is about charting a shared vision for the region.

“It’s about being proactive,” she says. “Instead of waiting for companies like Amazon to come to us, it’s about us saying, ‘This is what our future industry is, and we’re going to go out there and find those companies.'”

Adam Echelman is the Equity/Underserved Communities Reporter for The Modesto Bee’s Economic Mobility Lab.

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