Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Community input sought regarding county’s workforce system

Solano County officials seek community input to strengthen and streamline the county’s workforce system.

The public is invited to join the Solano County Administrator’s Office and the Solano Economic Development Corporation (EDC) at a series of community workshops designed to help strengthen and streamline the employment process in Solano County.

The employment coordination concept, “Help in Recruiting and Retaining Employees,” or HIRRE, is designed to review, summarize and evaluate the multiple employment programs that exist today in Solano County and streamline them into a single, manageable point of contact.

In a press statement, local officials offered their support.

“It’s well known that local employers want to hire local talent,” said Patrick Duterte, HIRRE program consultant for the Solano County Administrator’s Office. “It’s good for business and our community.”

“I’m excited that we are taking a closer look at strengthening our workforce development process in Solano County,” said Sandy Person, Solano EDC president. “These workshops will help in attracting, growing and retaining business and industry.”

There are three workshops the public is invited to attend, including:
• April 18, 8-10 a.m. at the County Events Center, 601 Texas St., Fairfield.
• April 19, 8-10 a.m. at the Florence Douglas Senior Center., 333 Amador, Vallejo.
• April 20, 8-10 a.m. at the William J. Carroll Govt. Ctr., 1119 E. Monte Vista, Vacaville.

“This is an opportunity to show our leadership that we mean business,” said Erin Hannigan, District 1 Supervisor and Chairwoman of the Solano County Board of Supervisors. “This workforce development structure will allow both our businesses and our residents to thrive.”

For more information and to RSVP your attendance, contact Patrick Duterte at 784-6122 and PatrickDuterte@SolanoCounty.com.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Speaker: Outside pressures could shake Solano economy

Speaker: Outside pressures could shake Solano economy

By From page A4 | April 01, 2016
FAIRFIELD — China, the presidential election and, of course, the whims of Wall Street could have significant effects on the Solano County economy.

That was one of the primary messages given to business leaders by economist Robert Eyler at the annual Solano Economic Development Corporation breakfast Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn.

“The news is good . . . (but) there are still a lot of challenges,” said Eyler, president of Economic

Forensics and Analytics in Petaluma. “Those challenges are global, national and state that Solano has to absorb.”

Eyler in an interview after his presentation of his 2015 Index of Economic and Community Progress said some of his specific concerns are China’s position in the economic market; whether Europe will be more stable, particularly in light of the terrorist attacks in the recent past; and how American businesses will react to interest rates as they likely will climb.

In addition to those points, he also noted the presidential election and his concerns that the business climate will become more uncertain and “grind the economy” to a near halt in the coming months.

Eyler also emphasized the need for Solano County to recognize the regional nature of its economy, including the fact that more people leave the county to work than come in for jobs.

“Is that a bad thing?” he asked.

The answer, like many points on the economy, was yes and no.

The good part is that people are bringing back generally better incomes than they apparently can find in the county. The negatives include a drain on workforce talent and traffic congestion.

At the same time, job growth is at an all-time level in Solano County, Eyler reported. Similarly, the housing market is on the upswing.

The single biggest reaction from the crowd, however, was the news that local schools have a better graduation rate and a lower dropout rate than that of the state. In his presentation to the Board of

Supervisors earlier this month, he said those numbers are the best since 2003.

How that translates to the kind of skilled workforce local employers are looking for is not entirely known.

Moreover, Eyler expressed concern about how a forced minimum wage hike to $15 an hour will affect that growth, particularly in a county where small businesses drive so much of the economy. Eyler also emphasized that the impact of the drought on the local economy goes far beyond agriculture, adding it is not just an issue of how much rain the state gets.

“The reality is we have an archaic way of distributing water,” he said. “It really is a water systems issue.”

Reach Todd R. Hansen at 427-6932 or thansen@dailyrepublic.net.

Economist says Solano’s future looks bright

By Kimberly K. Fu, kfu@thereporter.com, @ReporterKimFu on Twitter
Posted: |                                       
Newsflash — It’s a good year for Solano County.

So said economist Robert Eyler, a principal with Economic Forensics and Analytics, at Thursday’s Solano Economic Development Corporation gathering in Fairfield.

The event focused on the Solano County 2015 Index of Economic & Community Progress.

According to Eyler, last year was one of the county’s best years in a long time.

Jobs, income and housing prices are up as are tax revenues, he said.

“Solano County has gone from emergence to expansion,” he advised. “Almost every single industry in Solano County is seeing job growth.”

Last year, the county boasted 4,300 more non-farm jobs while farm job numbers also climbed.

“That’s the most job growth we’ve seen since the recession,” he said.

As for housing, property values rose during 2015 and standard of living indicators reportedly also improved.

Though commuting patterns are a challenge, the economist said, they’re not necessarily bad. Figures show that locals love living in Solano even though many work outside the county, and the income they make is brought back to and spent in Solano, he added.

As for education, the numbers tell a fantastic story.

“There’s an increase in graduation rates. That’s better than California’s average,” Eyler pointed out.

“Dropout rates are low. ... That’s the first time that we’ve seen Solano County definitely better than
California in dropout rates.”

As the county continues its rise from a years-long recession, Eyler predicted continued growth, albeit slow.

His futurecast includes focusing on external markets, realizing that interest rates and the like depends heavily on what’s going on in foreign countries and acknowledging that the national election and business uncertainty will impact the county.

“Connect all the dots,” he concluded. “Recognize we’re always in a regional market.”