Modesto, CA –On Monday, April 18 the Board of the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance convened with a clear mission: to dissolve the current organization and replace it with two new entities, the Stanislaus Business Alliance and a new Stanislaus County Workforce Development Board, that will meet the workforce readiness and job growth needs of Stanislaus County businesses.
Due to mandates in the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in 2014, it was clear that the Alliance model which had been in place since 2002 would not meet the federal mandate to contract out one-stop and career services to private vendors. Therefore, the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors and the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance Board passed a motion to dissolve the organization on June 30, 2016 and transfer all assets to a new organization— the Stanislaus Business Alliance doing business as Opportunity Stanislaus.
In June this year the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors will appoint a new Stanislaus County Workforce Development Board, unaffiliated with the Stanislaus Business Alliance, which will select contractors to perform One-Stop, Career and Business Services. The Stanislaus Business Alliance, now privately led, is charged with leading county efforts in the areas of economic development, workplace innovation, workforce development, and messaging as it pertains to strengthening the local and regional economies. The Stanislaus Business Alliance intends to compete with others for workforce contracts from the new county workforce development board.
The Stanislaus Business Alliance will remain under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer David White, whose vision resulted in the creation of Opportunity Stanislaus, a five-year campaign with a slew of goals aimed at improving the quality of life locally. The campaign, which was publicly launched last month, is already at 83% of its ambitious five million dollar fundraising target. “This is the dawning of a new era of economic development in Stanislaus County,” said White of the organization’s restructure. “We are very excited to see the private sector take a greater role in what we see as an upward trajectory of commerce across all industries in the county.”
Bill O’Brien, former Vice Chair of the now defunct organization, is equally enthused about the shift. “We always tried to run the Alliance as a business-led model for workforce training and business attraction but we were never able to shake the perception that we were run by government,” said O’Brien. “Now with a new and completely separate organization led solely by business, our county will see increased economic and job growth.”
The newly elected Chairman of the Stanislaus Business Alliance, Jeff Grover, remarked, “The Stanislaus Business Alliance is about creating, growing and nurturing healthy businesses here in Stanislaus County. Strong, profitable companies create the best possible opportunity to improve the economic health of all of our citizens. For years this community has been working to have the major employers in our county directly engaged in the training of our workforce for positions that they the employers need to fill. Now, with the re-alignment of federal workforce training funding, the Alliance, potential partnering with the County, can support and directly fund this effort. We are hopeful and excited that this new component could be a catalyst to a stronger business environment and a highly skilled workforce that is directly proportional to open positions that our employers need to fill."
White and his staff are led by a newly appointed board of directors that includes: James Brenda of JKB Energy and JKB Living; Sean Carroll of Ross F. Carroll, Inc.; Richard Coffey of E. & J. Gallo; David Darmstandler of Datapath, Inc.; Lynn Dickerson of the Gallo Center for the Arts; Joe Duran of Self-Help Federal Credit Union; Stephen Endsley of Endsley Companies; Brian Fiscalini of Fiscalini Cheese Company; Jeff Foster of OF Logic; Jeff Grover of Solecon Industrial Contractors; Ron Jackson of Beard Land Improvement Company; Warren Kirk of Doctors Medical Center; Daryn Kumar of Memorial Medical Center; Chris Lehikainen of Stanislaus Food Products; Dillon Olvera of Innov8 Partners; Frank Otis of Crystal Creamery; Judy Pallios of Modesto Commerce Bank; and Paul Van Konynenburg of Britton Konynenburg Partners.
Out of the board, an executive committee comprised of Grover (Chairman), Otis (Vice Chairman), Van Konynenburg (Secretary), and Jackson (Treasurer), Coffey, Lehikainen, and Pallios was selected.
The board is anticipated to expand, growing to as many as 25 members in all. The new organization will take effect on July 1, 2016. Outgoing Chairman of the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance Jeff Foster who will also be on the new board shared his thoughts about the change. “I believe the new organization is the right path for the Alliance. The Alliance has been committed to helping businesses by providing services that enhance the business climate. Partnering with local business and having business leaders committed to the strategic direction of the Alliance can only fuel a greater synergy between businesses and the Alliance.”