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NEWS FLASH - July 2011

Rural Community Development Initiative Grant Recipient!

Fresno County Economic Development Corporation received a $175,105 grant to provide technical assistance to 8 rural communities in Fresno County that will enable and build their capacity to support sustainable economic and community development in their communities on an ongoing basis.  The technical assistance will focus on a needs assessment for each community, a tailored plan for training, and "train the trainer" sessions based on needs. Communities assisted include Firebaugh, Huron, Kerman, Mendota, Orange Cove, Parlier, Sanger and San Joaquin.

High Speed Rail Industry Forum

Who: California High Speed Rail Authority officials and members of the private sector from the Central Valley and around the world with an interest in participating in California's High Speed Rail project.

What: An industry forum that will give private businesses the chance to learn more about the project, the bidding process and how they can participate; to interact with and ask questions of California High Speed Rail Authority officials; and to bring entrepreneurs and small businesses together with major contractors to discuss working together.

When: September 8, 2011 - SAVE THE DATE

Stay tuned for more information, location and registration instructions.

EDC Hosts Korean Solar Technology Developers for Central Valley Investment

The EDC recently hosted representatives of Korean and German Solar Panel technology who are looking for development and investment opportunities in the central San Joaquin Valley. Fresno County and the San Joaquin Valley are high sunlight areas, which are important for solar development related to Renewable Energy (Green Technology) opportunities. The EDC has identified Energy and Renewable Energy as an important local Industry Cluster.

This past April, EDC President Steve Geil and Representative Esther Cuevas hosted an introductory  meeting with CX Korea, CEO, Dr. Moon Sok Choi, Chairman Ho Gyu Kim, from Seoul South Korea and CA/US Representative Julian Chapa. CX Solar was on a specific mission to identify possible site opportunities in Fresno, Kern and San Benito Counties. As a result, CX Solar is in discussion with two Fresno based energy project land owners, with potential site areas for development of up to 150 MegaWatts (Mw) of solar energy power. The company is looking for high sun concentration areas to establish a minimum of a 10 Mw energy plant or larger.  A single Mw of power is generally enough to serve a minimum of 500 homes in the San Joaquin Valley, and which represents an estimated $5,000,000 in land, capital costs and new jobs investment for construction and operations.    

CX Solar’s technology is a higher grade solar engineering technology, and they are collaborating with Korean international investors to invest and joint venture in a major project(s) in the area. CX Solar is looking for interested energy partners, and the EDC is working with CX Solar for further local Fresno County energy possibilities.    

Enterprise Zone Status Update
GOOD NEWS FROM THE BEAR ACTION NETWORK! With the Governor’s approval of the 2011-2012 budget NO changes to the Enterprise Zone program will occur! Thanks to all of you that showed your steadfast support over the past 6 months in keeping the program intact. We will continue to offer FREE trainings here at our office in downtown Fresno for any Fresno County businesses that would like to learn how to benefit from this lucrative incentive program. If your company has not yet taken advantage of the Enterprise Zone, now is the time to do so! Our free tax credit workshops, which are a hands on training on how to qualify for benefits, occur every Thursday at 9am, at the EDC office in Fresno.

For more information or to register, please contact Blanca Aguirre at 559-476-2503 or email to Please don’t forget to register though as schedules are subject to change.


Step 2: Tax Credit workshops in Central Fresno Weed and Seed area
Our in depth tax credit training workshop is coming to the Weed and Seed area! If your business is within the area between McKinley and Divisadero, Palm and Millbrook, please come out to one of our workshops in your area to learn more about the Enterprise Zone, Work Opportunity Tax Credit, Empowerment Zone, CA New Jobs Credit, Historically Underutilized Business Zone, and the employment service programs offered by our partners at the County of Fresno Department of Social Services. For more information about the Central Fresno Weed and Seed initiative please go to:

Youth for Christ                                               Neighborhood Thrift
1401 Divisadero Street                                     353 E Olive Ave
Fresno, CA 93721                                           Fresno, CA 93728

August 11th 3:00pm                                        August 22nd 10:30am
August 30th 8:00am                                       September 7th 5:00pm

If you are interested in attending, please call Devon Jones at 559-476-2510 to register or RSVP via email


On the Job Training (50/50) and Work Experience programs
The County of Fresno Department of Social Services currently offers two main employment service programs to employers, the 50/50 Program, or OJT, and the Work Experience Program. The 50/50 Program is a labor subsidy program that gives CalWORKs participants the training and work experience they need in order for them to transition into unsubsidized fulltime employment. The participating employer is reimbursed for up to 50% of the participant’s gross wages.  This training period is generally one to three months but can be extended up to six months, under some circumstances. Once the participant successfully completes the OJT period, it is expected that the employer will make a good faith effort to retain the participant as an unsubsidized employee.

The Work Experience Program allows CalWORKS participants to develop job skills by being placed at temporary and non-salaried assignments with a non-profit, municipal, or other public organization that matches their employment goal at no cost to the organization. Assignments may last 3 to 6 months and there is no obligation for the work site to hire participant at the end of the assignment.

If you would like to know more information on either of these programs please contact Devon Jones at (559) 476-2510 or by email

Clean Energy Cluster: Get Involved Today!

Cluster Meeting: August 15, 2011

9-11AM: University Business Center, Fresno State Campus

Join the Clean Energy Cluster for a meeting on August 15, 2011 at the University Business Center. There will be a presentation from the City of Fresno's Sustainability Director regarding the current energy usage in the City, PG&E regarding their rebate and incentive programs, and from FIGtree Energy Resource Company on the California PACE (property assessed clean energy) program. Also attend a workshop: Energy 101 and tips to save energy & money; GREEN/Energy Efficient Buildings; Energy Efficieny Training Programs; What is LEED? (Registration 8-9am; presentations 9-11am; workshops and booths 11am-12pm)

Seating is limited! Register for the meeting at this website.

Questions? Contact Kristen Kawaguchi at or 559-476-2505.

*The Clean Energy Cluster is a network of interconnected businesses and supporting institutions that work together to develop regional economic prosperity in the clean energy industry. By addressing issues that affect the industry as a whole, the Cluster is able to unite as one voice and make an impact on the clean energy industry in Fresno County. Visit the webpage for more information.

City of San Joaquin launches Energy Savings Assistance Program

City of San Joaquin and Pacific Gas & Electric begin work to save families, money, and energy.

San Joaquin, CA –July 13, 2011—The City of San Joaquin launches a regional campaign aimed at saving families money on their Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) bills by reducing energy use in homes and apartments.  The City of San Joaquin entered into a partnership with PG&E in 2009 and launched the San Joaquin Energy Watch Program focused on educating the community about energy efficiency and providing free energy retrofits to qualified small businesses and in City facilities.  Building on this partnership with PG&E, the City of San Joaquin is expanding its reach to low-income homeowners and renters to provide free energy efficiency home improvements through the Energy Savings Assistance Program.

Amarpreet Dhaliwal, Mayor of the City of San Joaquin states, “Who doesn’t want to help the environment while saving money?  Our partnership with PG&E has already proved successful with our small businesses and we expect to do the same with the Energy Savings Assistance Program for residents of San Joaquin and nearby Tranquility, Cantua Creek, Three Rocks, and Helm.”

PG&E customers in and around San Joaquin are encouraged to sign-up to see if they are eligible for this free program.  With the help of CarrollCo, a local energy efficiency contractor, the City will be able to identify ways to reduce energy use in homes and apartments through an energy assessment.  After the assessment, the contractor will make energy efficient home improvements and provide recommendations for further improvements. This may include replacing inefficient lighting, installing pipe insulation or a low-flow showerhead, and more.  This program began in May and will continue to run through the end of October 2011.  The City of San Joaquin, PG&E, and CarrollCo hope to reach 200 eligible homes and apartments in the region and save close to 68,000 kWh, the equivalent of taking 8 cars off the road for one year.*

For more information or to sign up for the Energy Savings Assistance Program, please call the City of San Joaquin at 1-866-363-7933.


A long-awaited franchising course will finally be offered to students starting in the fall on California State University, Fresno’s campus.

The School for Continuing and Global Education at CSUF will provide the “hands-on” practical course on franchising to both Fresno State and non-Fresno State enrolled students. For $630, the course will offer important assistance for people in the community looking to become a franchisee, franchise an existent business or who want to work in the franchise industry.

In order for students to get an upper-hand on today’s tough job market, they will conduct real-life cases to hone business skills, interview and discuss with experts and will be assigned to develop a franchise and to franchise an existing business. The course will also offer a variety of speakers, including CEO’s of franchises and experts on finances, marketing, and real estate.

According to Dr. Timothy Stearns, Executive Director for the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, this course will “maximize the odds for success in today’s franchising world.”
Dr. Stearns also added that the course’s main goal is to have each student create their own business network and to be better prepared to start a business enterprise.

The course will begin on Aug. 31 and will be taught every Wednesday night from 6-9 p.m. by Alan Rudominer, a retail executive with more than 25 years’ experience in the industry.

To register, visit or call 559-279-0333.

Economic Development News

Valley RDAs Voice Support of Lawsuit by Business Journal Staff

Clovis Mayor Jose Flores and officials from five other local cities blasted a pair of laws that eliminate redevelopment agencies in a press conference on Monday in Clovis. The city officials say the budget "trailer" Assembly bills  X1 26 and X1 27 are unconstitutional. They largely do away with local RDAs, a move expected to generate $1.7 billion for the state. The six cities are backing a lawsuit by the League of California Cities and California Redevelopment Associations in the California Supreme Court, which they hope will overturn the bills. For full article, click here.

Lassen's in Fresno's RiverView Opening Soon by Business Journal Staff

Lassen’s Natural Foods and Vitamins in the RiverView Shopping Center will be opening in approximately six weeks, Lassen’s management said Wednesday. A Southern California cooling contractor is currently renovating the freezer and refrigeration units at the former Bentley’s Market location. For full article, click here.

Looking for Oil in Fresno County by Matt Keller (ABC30)

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The federal government is putting a new section of land in Fresno County up for auction for oil exploration. This comes as some oil company officials say California could be holding up to a trillion barrels of oil underground.

On the Westside of Fresno County, among the oil wells, sits a huge tower stretching into the sky with several giant mirrors on the ground. When completed, Chevron will use the solar power to produce steam, to inject into older wells, and bring up even more oil. For full article, click here.

A New Face of Alternative Energy is Smiling in California by Alan Anderson

An Energy Commission grant will support the pre-development work for the design and construction of the Advanced Bioenergy Center in Mendota... Mendota BioEnergy will analyze the sustainability of the plan, assess the properties of sugar beets and other feedstock materials, and then develop technology to convert the biomass into useful products. If the project proves to be feasible, the Center could convert 840,000 tons of sugar beets and 80,000 tons of farm bio-waste each year into 33.5 million gallons of ethanol; 1.6 mm (more) standard cubic feet of biomethane for making compressed natural gas; 6.3 megawatts of certified green electricity; and high-nutrient compost and liquid fertilizer. For full article, click here.

Obama Administration Launches Strong Cities, Strong Communities to Support Local Development

The Obama Administration launched Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2), a new and customized pilot initiative to strengthen local capacity and spark economic growth in local communities while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently. To accomplish this, federal agencies will provide experienced staff to work directly with six cities: Chester, PA; Cleveland, OH; Detroit, MI; Fresno, CA; Memphis, TN; and New Orleans, LA.  These teams will work with local governments, the private sector, and other institutions to leverage federal dollars and support the work being done at the local level to encourage economic growth and community development.  Through this pilot, the Obama Administration will focus on three key goals:

  • Improving the way federal government does business:  Cutting through red tape and rationalizing the federal bureaucracy to help deal with the overlapping maze of agencies, regulations and program requirements that are sometimes confusing to local governments;
  • Providing assistance and support – working with local communities to find ground up, not top down solutions:  Providing on the ground technical assistance and planning resources tailored to local governments’ needs and helping them use the federal funds they already receive more efficiently and effectively; and
  • Partnering for growth: Developing critical partnerships with key local and regional stakeholders that encompass not only municipal and state governments, but also new partnerships with the business community, non-profits, anchor institutions, faith-based institutions, and other public, private, and philanthropic leaders.

For more information on the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) initiative, click here.

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