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Reflections from Our Executive Director

Dear Stanislaus 2030 Community,

We closed out 2023 with so many reasons to be proud of what we’ve accomplished. I’m grateful for the exceptional strides we’ve made toward Stanislaus 2030’s Investment Blueprint opportunities thanks to partners like you. I’d like to personally thank you for welcoming me mid-way through the year and for diving into the work with such dedication and collaboration.

I find myself in a reflective mood as many of us are this time of year. Join me to commemorate  2023 highlights and a glimpse of the year ahead:

Talent Development

We mobilized a new coalition to reshape the county's manufacturing talent pipeline in ways that align education with industry needs. Ten of the largest manufacturing employers in the county joined us in this process along with representatives from area government and educational institutions. We introduced a preliminary Stanislaus County Manufacturing Skills Competency Model that identifies essential skills and competencies required for the modern manufacturing workforce. We’ll continue to gather industry feedback in January and work with education partners to articulate training programs based on the refined model. By Spring 2024, we’ll release a complete Manufacturing Workforce Plan with concrete recommendations to address the local skills gap.

Small Business Supports

We conducted extensive research to better grasp the challenges faced by local entrepreneurs. We learned the very definition of “small business” many used for developing strategies and services did not line up with the reality that 85% of small businesses in the county have 9 employees or less. Insights like this are already helping our Small Business Supports work group redesign our local small business landscape and provide tailored support at every stage of growth. We partnered with a nationally recognized organization, Next Street, which has a wealth of experience in economic and business development. Look for our comprehensive implementation plan by Spring 2024.

Childcare Expansion

We partnered with Nurture to tackle the region’s childcare shortage. Multiple cohorts completed a pilot program aimed to expand home-based childcare businesses starting in late summer. There’s a waiting list already queued up for 2024, and we’ll be able to enroll 12 additional budding entrepreneurs thanks to $60,000 in incremental funding from the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. Through a comprehensive landscape assessment, we identified seven priority zip codes based on childcare supply and workforce demand. We’ll include these shared learnings from our pilot phase, as well as recommendations to scale childcare entrepreneurship in a broader implementation plan that we’ll release in Spring 2024.

Traded Sector

BEAM Circular launched in January 2023 to seize the North San Joaquin Valley’s unique opportunity to drive the development of a thriving circular bioeconomy. The initiative has already laid the groundwork for a shared Testbed Facility, secured partnerships with key bioengineering firms like Next Rung Technology, and attracted significant investments totaling $15.4 million. This public-private partnership looks forward to completing an 18-month design sprint to submit a $160 million application for an NSF Innovation Engines award by the end of 2024. To learn more, check out this video from the CBIO Design Forum, as well as a year-end recap from BEAM Circular.

Looking Ahead

As always, our success hinges on the collaborative efforts of dedicated people across our community, and the conditions are right for us to do some deeply impactful work in the New Year. We hope you’ll continue to join us on the next steps of this journey.


Photo of Stanislaus 2030 Executive Director Amanda Hughes

Amanda Hughes

Executive Director

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