Friday, May 29, 2015

Professor: Children have doubled in importance

Professor: Children have doubled in importance

By From page B11 | May 29, 2015 
EDC speaker Meyers 5/28/15
University of Southern California professor Dowell Myers speaks to a crowd at the Economic Development Corporation Breakfast, at the Hilton Garden Inn, Thursday. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

Children have doubled in importance in the new generational future in California. That was the topic of Dowell Myers in his presentation at a Solano Economic Development Corporation business breakfast on Thursday.

Myers, a professor at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy, talked of the relationship between “babies and boomers.” The breakfast was sponsored by First 5 Solano and included Solano County Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck as the moderator.

Demographics have changed in California in the past 25 years, Myers pointed out. The birth rate, which had been steadily increasing, peaked in 1990, he said.
 The population of the state had been projected to hit 50 million in 2032. It’s now expected the state will have 50 million residents in 2051, he said.

At the other end of the spectrum is a generation of aging baby boomers. With both of these factors, the senior ratio has soared, Myers said.

It comes down to one simple theory here, he said. People grow up, people get older and they cycle through the phases of life. Everybody takes turns and you need more young people to make it work, he said.

“Compared to before, we’re suffering a real shortage of young people,” he said. “There’s no source of where they’re going to come from. So, the ones we already have, we need to really maximize our use of them. They’re twice as important now, literally twice as important as before. We really should increase our investment in young people so they can be twice as productive.”

But not everyone is aware of the situation, Myers said.

“We haven’t realized how important these children are,” he said. “Children have always been important, but now they’re twice as important. Our best chance is for the kids already here. We really have to be smart about it.”

Myers provided an example to make his point.
 “A kid born today is twice as important as a kid born in 1985,” he said.

By the time that child gets to be age 25, the start of their productive years, the senior ratio will be critically higher than it is now, he said.

“They’re twice as valuable as before and a major mutual benefit,” Myers said. “This calls for all Californians to step up and support the children in every way possible.”

Reach Kevin W. Green at 427-6974 or

Children the focus of Solano EDC breakfast

Children the focus of Solano EDC breakfast

By Melissa Murphy, The Reporter, Vacaville
  Successful children are at the heart of a successful economy.

That’s why the monthly breakfast of the Solano Economic Development Corporation focused on investing in younger generations.

Thursday’s Keynote Speaker, Professor Dowell Myers from the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy, explained that the importance of children today has doubled and that the old way of thinking when it comes to children has to change for California to be successful.

In the past when it came to children, he explained, people thought they were a burden on taxpayers, that children were too expensive and the adults shouldn’t be taking care of other people’s kids.

Dowell said evidence of the old way of thinking is evident in how much money is spent on children’s education K-12 compared to the average income in California. The spending compared to the income is “way below average” he said.

“We’re the outlier, dragging near the bottom,” Dowell said. “We’re working off of old habits.”

He noted that he considers the working age to be from 25 years old, after children are covered by parent’s health insurance, to 64 years old, when people will likely retire. Those that fall outside of this window, children and older adults, are benefiting from the taxes that those within the window are paying.

Another observation is that babies aren’t being born as often as before so the number of children living in California is dropping, migration to the state has dropped, too.

Previous predictions showed that California’s population would reach 50 million by 2032, but new information shows it’s likely to happen in 2051.

“There is a huge slow down in growth,” Dowell said. “California is now more dependent on the children we do have.”

He added that because the population is aging that means there is a “top heavy age structure.”

“Young adults are in supreme demand,” he said. “A kid born today is twice as important as a kid born in 1985.”

He explained that the “old folks need the young,” and it should be the responsibility of the adults to help get the youth up the ladder of success.

Dowell stressed again that the way of thinking needs to change and children are an important investment.

He added that babies aren’t going to appear all of a sudden and even if there was a big increase now, it would take 25 years for it to do any good to the economy.
“Our best chance is to invest in the ones in school today,” he said.

That’s one reason why First5 Solano is encouraging businesses to invest in is Pre-K Academies, a type of boot camp for children that are entering kindergarten without having attended preschool.

First 5 Commissioner and Solano Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck said that adults are now aware that 90 percent of the brain develops in the first five years of someone’s life. He shared a personal experience, that instead of investing right away in his grandchild’s college fund, he focused on paying for a high-quality preschool.

“The quality of the program matters,” he said and added that the Pre-K Academies make a difference.

“It’s not a substitution for preschool, but a better foundation otherwise.”

Preschool, according to First 5 Solano, helps children learn social skills critical to academic and career development, develop solid work ethic through task completion, creates lifelong learners and establishes fundamental math skills.

Speck said that for every $1 invested in children there is a $6-$8 return.

Several businesses were acknowledged Thursday for the investment they made to 2015 Pre-K Academies. First 5 Solano’s goal is to raise $20,000. So for, it’s raised $7,500 and it’s not too late to help. It costs $200 to send one child to the academy.

For additional information on First 5 Solano and how to donate, visit

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Solano EDC and First 5 May 28 Breakfast

USC Professor to headline Solano EDC Breakfast

The Solano Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with First 5 Solano, will host a business breakfast May 28, 2015. Solano County Superintendent of Schools, Jay Speck, will moderate the program followed by keynote speaker, Dowell Myers. Dr. Myers’ upbeat presentation will focus on the relationship between ‘babies and boomers.’ Dr. Myers explores the moral responsibility each generation has to one another in the future and to economic vitality.

Attendees will gain new knowledge in an unbiased, non-partisan presentation, learning why investing in children makes the most sense for all of us. It’s more than economics – these are the children that will be working for the business community once they are of working age.

Sandy Person, EDC president, said this is the sixth year EDC has teamed with First 5 to bring early childhood to center stage. "Working together, the private sector and local government to support educators and families," Person said. "We can assure a future workforce that will stimulate growth in Solano County."

The First 5 Solano Commission, dedicated to supporting early childhood education and family support programs, will honor the private sector at the event.

First 5 Solano is sponsoring the program, which begins at 8:00 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield. Cost to attend is $25 for members, $35 for non-members. To register, contact Solano EDC at 707-864-1855, or

The EDC breakfast events are underwritten by the EDC Chairman's Circle Members: Electrical Contractors Trust of Solano and Napa Counties, Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District, Manex Consulting, Republic Services, Inc., Solano Garbage Company, Solano Transportation Authority and Syar Industries, Inc.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Solano EDC growing to meet needs of changing economy

By Melissa Murphy,, @ReporterMMurphy on Twitter Posted: |
J. Paul Harrington (left) and Patrick McGuire discuss the upcoming projects with the Solano Economic Development Center. — Joel Rosenbaum, The Reporter 

Meeting the need for the county’s business community is top priority for the Solano Economic Development Corporation.

That’s why, as the economy shows signs of improvement, the Solano EDC team is growing.

“We’re trying to build and anticipate how to grow to meet the need,” said Sandy Person, president of Solano EDC.

The Solano EDC, among other things, works to better position businesses with the right tools.

“Nobody can do it alone,” she said. “We’ve made a big commitment to serve economic development.

A unified approach makes for wins.”

The most recent addition to the Solano EDC team is Patrick McGuire who recently retired from the state and GO-Biz, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

Working part time, McGuire is vice president and the point person for attracting businesses to the region as well as helping expand businesses that are already here. He also will continue his work assisting companies with programs like California Competes Tax Credit. California Competes is an income tax credit available to businesses that want to come to California or stay and grow in California. McGuire said there is money earmarked for small businesses.

“We want to get the word out,” he said. “Every company planning on expanding is in the running.”

He explained that the Solano EDC is filling in those support services for businesses that cities were once able to do.

“What a coup for us,” Person said about having McGuire on board.

One year ago Solano EDC embarked on a new venture with Pacific Gas & Electric and Solano County to save businesses and public agencies energy costs.

The Solano Energy Watch program with J.Paul Harrington at the helm as project manager has already seen successes since its inception. It has exceeded 2 million Kilowatt hours saved, surpassed $300,000 in recurring energy savings back into Solano County businesses and more than 100 businesses, non-profits and municipalities have participated in Solano Energy Watch.

“We’ve had an outstanding first year,” Harrington said. “We’re reaching those hard to reach businesses.”

Solano EDC and its partners are reaching out to myriad businesses, he said, from nail salons to warehouses, grocery stores to barbecue shops.

The Solano Energy Watch offers a no cost evaluation of how and where energy is used in existing facilities, and generates a comprehensive report containing energy efficiency solutions and the latest PG&E rebates and incentives to lower the cost of energy upgrades.

“It’s such a good team we’re building,” Person said. “We’re seizing those opportunities and reemerging. We’re offering that support to businesses to connect to resources, it’s the building blocks for economic growth.”

Person said Solano is in a great position, a place where businesses can grow because of the area’s tremendous depth of resources and infrastructure.

“We have a diverse county and a diverse skill set,” she said. “We want to be relevant to every sector.”

The announcement from ICON Aircraft Inc. last year that it’s relocating to Vacaville was a major boost to the county’s reputation.

McGuire called it a ripple effect when other businesses are looking at Solano to set up shop.
“It does attract people’s attention,” he said and added that it hasn’t all been gloom and doom for California’s economy. “There are innovative things happening here.”

Person agreed.

“There is this sense of opportunity,” she said and added that California is still the nation’s largest manufacturer. “We want to be proud of and feel a part of a winning team.”

Additional information about the Solano EDC is available online at