News | Job creation gets boost through Opportunity Stanislaus

August 10, 2016

People working to create jobs in Stanislaus County celebrated the completion of a $5.1 million fundraising effort for the cause.

Leaders of Opportunity Stanislaus, formerly the Stanislaus Business Alliance, announced Tuesday evening that they exceeded the goal of $5 million in pledges by 2 percent.

Supporters gathered at the Greens Event Center in downtown Modesto to hear about how the money will be spent over the next five years on fostering business growth and training people for jobs.

“What’s really exciting to me is that the support has come from companies and industries that are a cross-section of the community,” Chief Executive Officer David White said. They include manufacturing, agriculture, real estate, professional services and other sectors.

Supporters could pledge between $1,000 and $25,000 per year for the campaign. It was created with the help of Funding Solutions, a Texas-based consulting firm that did 73 interviews last year with civic and business leaders.

Opportunity Stanislaus has four purposes for the money – attracting and expanding businesses, preparing people for these jobs, spreading a positive message about the county, and encouraging innovation.

Jeff Grover, a former county supervisor, is the new chairman of the Opportunity Stanislaus board. He said a key goal is creating a worker training center, similar to one for the aerospace industry in Everett, Wash. The one here could meet the needs of hospitals, canneries and other employers, he said.

The board has 22 other members representing farming, food processing, banking, technology and other fields.

The campaign and the new name for the alliance coincide with a shift toward private-sector oversight of workforce training and assistance under a 2014 federal law.