Riverside Attracts National Attention for Its Commitment to Student Success

As the City of Arts & Innovation, Riverside is attracting national attention for our citywide partnership to improve graduation rates and create a college-going culture. The National League of Cities recently published an article by Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge showcasing this commitment to creating an educated workforce and a community of lifelong learning.

The following is the article written by Mayor Loveridge published here by the National League of Cities: 

We recently made two important, and I think defining, announcements for our students in Riverside, California. The first is that Riverside City College (RCC) will guarantee our local high school graduates the opportunity to complete a degree, or transfer, in two years. This comes at a time when our state budget is forcing our community colleges to cut hundreds of classes. The second is that our city, education and business leaders are united in a commitment to raise the number of students who enroll and graduate from college by 2020. Our citywide partnership is called Completion Counts and we have a plan of action to deliver on our promise.

The talent dividend – the long-term economic benefits associated with a more educated workforce – is becoming the best marker of a successful city in the 21st century. The presence of college-educated people explains much of a city’s success. In Riverside, a one percentage point gain in college completion would yield an estimated $185 million increase in per capita income.

Our city is home to three universities and a community college. This is our most important characteristic. However, we must also be a community that creates a college-going culture and supports our high school students to become college graduates. In 2010, Riverside was one of four cities to receive a $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase college graduation rates through the foundation’s Communities Learning in Partnership initiative, for which NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families serves as managing intermediary.

Our approach addresses key barriers that hinder our students’ ability to earn a degree. For example, our high school math and English teachers have joined with college professors to align curriculum and lesson plans so that students are ready for college-level work. Students will reap the benefits when they don’t have to take “catch-up” courses that don’t count towards a degree – saving them time and money.

High school guidance counselors are also working with student advisors at the college level to decide on the best ways to groom students for college. That means students receive the most accurate and up-to-date information about college-prep classes, college admissions, selecting a major, and financial aid requirements.

We are also leading a public awareness campaign to foster a citywide, college-minded culture where college graduation is the educational standard for all youth. That includes working with the chamber of commerce to support local and statewide measures that raise high school graduation standards to ensure college and workforce readiness.

The RCC two-year guarantee is perhaps our most ambitious effort. We will provide our students with priority class registration, a guaranteed seat in math and English classes required for graduation, and frequent assistance from RCC counselors to help them reach their educational goals. This will particularly help our students from Riverside, whom are overwhelmingly the first in their family to go to college.

We are confident that through our collaborative efforts we will raise college graduation rates among Riverside youth. By 2020, our goal is:

  • 90 percent of high school students will graduate (compared to 79 percent today).
  • 62 percent of students will go on to college (compared to 42 percent).
  • 42 percent of students who start at a two-year college will complete or transfer (compared to 14 percent).
  • 72 percent of students who start at a four-year college will complete their degree (compared to 66 percent).

When we made these goals public, we collectively agreed to hold ourselves accountable to create real solutions that our students can count on. We have to do it for the prosperity of our city, our students, and our future.

Riverside Named One of the Best Cities for Tech Jobs

Riverside was recognized for its commitment to the high-tech industry in an article published by PublicCEO titled “The Best Cities For Tech Jobs“. The Riverside-San Bernardino region ranked 38th among some of the most prominent tech centers.

The method used to determine  metropolitan areas that are adding the most tech-related jobs was created by Mark Schill with the Praxis Strategy Group who “developed a ranking system for Forbes that measures employment growth in the sectors most identified with the high-tech economy (including software, data processing and Internet publishing), as well as growth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related (STEM) jobs across all sectors. The latter category captures tech employment growth that is increasingly taking place not just in software or electronics firms, but in any industry that needs science and technology workers, from manufacturing to business services to finance. Schill tallied tech sector and STEM job growth over the past two years and over the past decade for the 51 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the United States, and also factored in the oncentration of STEM and tech jobs in those MSAs.”

The author argues that diversity in tech may explain the success of many tech hotspots around the country and Riverside is a prime example of this. The combination of research across sectors from bio-medical, internet and data processing, to engineering provides opportunities for widespread growth of the tech industry in the region.

This ranking recognizes Riverside’s ability to compete in the high-tech industry and the continued commitment to promoting Intelligent Growth and being a Catalyst for Innovation

To view the full article click here: http://www.publicceo.com/2012/05/the-best-cities-for-tech-jobs/

Fun Fact: Inventor of the Xerox Machine Was An RCC Alum

Riverside is home to many well known innovators, but did you know that the inventor of Xerography, the process of copying onto plain paper that spurred the creation and growth of the Xerox Corporation was an alumnus of Riverside City College?

That inventor was Chester Carlson (1906-1968), a Seattle born man who moved to the San Bernardino area as a young boy. Chester was a graduate of the RCC Class of 1928 and was recognized as Alumnus of the Year in 1964.  

After graduating from high school, Chester enrolled at RCC in a work-study program that required him to work alternate 6-week periods working and attending school. While working at a local print shop he became frustrated with the duplication techniques, which ultimately inspired him to begin rethinking the process. After completion of a three year chemistry program at RCC, he transferred to Cal Tech as a 3rd year Physics major. He graduated and was hired by Bell Labs as a research engineer and later transferred to the patent department. He put himself through New York Law school, graduating in 1939.

Chester kept a pocket diary from the age of 15 where he wrote down hundreds of ideas for potential inventions. When he was laid off during the depression he began experimenting with several of these ideas in his own kitchen, including the duplication method. He spent years trying to perfect the technology and finally in 1944 a young engineer from Battelle Memorial Institute saw potential in his work and became his agent. A researcher from Haloid (now Xerox) took an interest in Carlson’s technology and after much experimentation Haloid Xerox introduced the first plain paper copier, the 914 model to the market in 1960. (You can actually see a working 914 copier at Riverside City College in the MLK Teaching and Learning Center)

Mr. Carlson became very wealthy as a result of his patents and stock offerings from Xerox. He was a generous philanthropists, donating mostly as an anonymous donor, although Cal Tech did build a research lab with funding he provided.

The City of Arts & Innovation is known for its interesting people and Chester Carlson is certainly one of them. His invention of the first copier has been referred to as “the biggest thing in printing since Gutenberg” and Fortune Magazine called it “the most successful product ever made in America.” Riversiders can be proud to know that one of the greatest inventors in America came from their community.

Completion Counts Video Focuses on Opportunities For Local Students

View the latest video from Completion Counts about the commitment to make sure students are better prepared for college and that they get the classes they need to graduate on time.

Completion Counts is Riverside’s landmark initiative to raise college graduation rates. We are a partnership of teachers, parents, administrators and community organizations behind one purpose: to raise the number of Riverside students who enroll and graduate from college by 2020. The City of Riverside, Alvord and Riverside Unified School Districts, Riverside Community College District, the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce and you can change the direction of our city by improving the future of our students.

Find Your Neighborhood’s Unified Voice at the 2012 Neighborhood Conference

The City of Riverside and the Riverside Neighborhood Partnership have joined together to host the 2012 Riverside Neighborhood Conference on Saturday, June 2nd from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Main Street between 10th Street and Mission Inn Avenue in Downtown Riverside.

This free family-fun event will provide residents with the opportunity to network with local neighborhoods, city departments and local community-building resources to promote neighborhood livability. It is through collaboration we strive to problem-solve, connect and continue to build our quality of life.

This year the conference will present exciting workshops that feature community building and neighborhood sustainability. The event will have over 41 exhibit booths sponsored by community groups, service agencies and city departments. Attendees of the conference will have a chance to attend free workshops on civic leadership, neighborhood involvement in problem-solving and working with government to improve quality of life. The conference will also include live entertainment, children’s activities and numerous neighborhood organizing workshops.
The conference, including all workshops, is free for all community members.

For conference questions, email neighbor@riversideca.gov or call 951-826-2390.

Riversiders are proud of the strength of their communities. The annual neighborhood conference provides an opportunity for diverse people to work together to achieve our shared purpose and ensure that our community continues to provide a safe and welcoming environment and a high quality of life for all.

Riverside Recognized In Top 10 Cities For Energy Efficiency

The City of Arts & Innovation has demonstrated a strong commitment to becoming a greener community by reducing our carbon footprint and annual energy use. The results of this are continually shown and most recently Riverside was recognized by the EPA as number 9 of the 25 metropolitan areas with the most Energy Star certified buildings in 2011. Riverside has a total of 164 certified buildings which amounts to an annual consumer savings of $17.9 million.

Find out more about Riverside’s efforts to go green at www.greenriverside.com

The following is a press release from the EPA about the annual list and the importance of Energy Star certified buildings in our communities:


On April 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the annual list of U.S. metropolitan areas with the most Energy Star certified buildings for 2011. The list of 25 cities is headed by Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Houston, Dallas, Riverside, Calif. and Boston. By the end of 2011, the nearly 16,500 Energy Star certified buildings across America have helped save nearly $2.3 billion in annual utility bills and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to emissions from the annual energy use of more than 1.5 million homes.

“More and more organizations are discovering the value of Energy Star as they work to cut costs and reduce their energy use,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the Energy Star program, and today Energy Star certified buildings in cities across America are helping to strengthen local economies and protect the planet for decades to come.”

First released in 2008, the list of cities with the most Energy Star certified buildings continues to show how cities across America, with help from Energy Star, are embracing energy efficiency as a simple and effective way to save money and prevent pollution. Los Angeles has remained the top city since 2008, while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the third year in a row. Atlanta moved up from the number six spot in 2010 to third place this year and Boston and Riverside broke into the top ten. Tampa, Fla., Colorado Springs, Colo. and Salt Lake City all are new to the list in 2011. California has six cities on the 2011 list—more than any other state.

Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for nearly 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year. Commercial buildings that earn EPA’s Energy Star must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide and must be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or a registered architect. Energy Star certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings. Fifteen types of commercial buildings can earn the Energy Star, including office buildings, K-12 schools, and retail stores.

Launched in 1992 by EPA, Energy Star is a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. This year marks Energy Star’s 20th anniversary. Over the past 20 years, with help from Energy Star, American families and businesses have saved about $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products and more than 1.3 million new homes.

More on the 2011 top cities: http://www.energystar.gov/topcities

More on Energy Star certified buildings: http://energystar.gov/buildinglist

More about earning the Energy Star for commercial buildings: http://energystar.gov/labeledbuildings

The Student United Way@UCR Recieves United Way Worldwide Award

The Student United Way at the University of California in Riverside (SUW@UCR) – the first in California and the western states – exceeded all hopes and expectations to win two global awards from United Way Worldwide (UWW): the “LIVE UNITED In Action: VOLUNTEER Award 2012 for their numerous, extensive and creative volunteer efforts, and the People’s Choice Award 2012 for a social media voting campaign.

The club is a youth outreach program of United Way of the Inland Valleys (UWIV) that has blossomed under the leadership of Caasi Algazi, who founded the club, and Hoa Bui, the current president.

Hoa and Caasi May 2012: Left to right: Hoa Bui, Student United Way UCR President; Caasi Algazi, Student United Way UCR Founder and Alumni Advisor, onstage before the Town Hall Meeting at the United Way Worldwide Community Leaders Conference with such notables as CNN Anchor Don Lemon, Alma Powell, and United Way Worldwide CEO Brian Gallagher.

These prestigious awards were announced at the United Way Worldwide conference at the Spirit of America awards dinner on May 2 in Nashville. This event recognizes national and global companies that impact communities around the world through strategic philanthropic partnerships leveraging United Way’s local leadership in communities worldwide.

UWIV President/CEO Kevin McCarthy and Kari Hollis, Vice President of Community Matters had no idea of what these young college students were truly capable when they mentioned this growing trend in the United Way system to Algazi last May.

“The Student United Way is the best initiative we have done in years, ” agreed CEO Kevin McCarthy, “These young adults have taken our mentorship and leadership training to heart and put in practice what they have learned in their business, accounting and social studies to make a difference in the community.” said Hollis, “I am so proud of these extraordinary students. They have exceeded all expectations and more. In fact, word has spread so far about their accomplishments that even United Way Worldwide took notice, recommending larger United Ways interested in beginning youth or student clubs to talk to us about how we did it. Although we love spending time in mentoring these extraordinary youth, they really and truly made it happen themselves.”

Caasi & Hoa w Kirin@CLC: Left to right: Caasi Algazi, Student United Way UCR Founder and Alumni Advisor; Kirenjeet Bansal, Director Volunteer & Employee Engagement with United Way Worldwide, and Hoa Bui, Student United Way UCR President at the Spirit of America Awards Dinner on May 2 in Nashville, Tenn.

Bui replaced Algazi as club president when she graduated last summer, although she stayed actively involved while working part time with UWIV. Through UWIV board donations, they and the other club’s board members, Elliot Thompson (vice president), Sully Mercado (treasurer), Jacqueline Rangel (secretary), and Amber Harris (webmaster) went to a national Student United Way retreat at the UWW headquarters in Alexandria, VA last September. There they networked with members from the other 62 Student United Way Clubs across the country and learned more about United Way’s goals to decrease high school dropout rates, increase financial stability and increase healthy behaviors in youth.

SUW@CLC with other winners. Left to Right: Kirenjeet Bansal, Director Volunteer & Employee Engagement with United Way Worldwide; Caasi Algazi, Student United Way UCR Founder and Alumni Advisor; Brian Gallagher(with tie in the middle) CEO of United Way Worldwide; and on the end Hoa Bui, Student United Way UCR President at the Spirit of America Awards Dinner on May 2 in Nashville, Tenn.

‘A spirit of service’ was the moral philosophy behind everything the club set out to do. With hearts in the right place, SUW@UCR swept the city by storm, volunteering everywhere they could. Within their first 9 months, the club had recruited members and executed their services in over 30 different events throughout the county. These young adults have taken our mentorship and leadership training to heart and put in practice what they have learned in their business, accounting and social studies to make a difference in the community.

The Student United Way @ UCR serves as an example of Riverside’s role as a Catalyst for Innovation because this group is currently the only student chapter in the nation and have proved to be highly successfulTheir leadership and work in the community helps Riverside evolve as a Unified City and brings light to the many reasons Riverside is a Location of Choice. Student United Way @ UCR is a treasure to the community and their hard work has not gone unnoticed. 

Riverside Recognizes Teens’ Countless Accomplishment

Teens demonstrate leadership in the classroom and beyond in an afternoon of inspiring stories as Riverside’s Mayor and City Council honors Riverside’s 25 Most Remarkable Teens.

The Riverside Youth Council and Mayor Ron Loveridge presented this year’s recipients of the Riverside’s 25 Most Remarkable Teens distinction on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 in a special City Council presentation at the Riverside City Hall Council Chambers.

Through nominations by principals, educators, counselors, and community leaders, the Riverside Youth Council annually selects students to be named Riverside’s 25 Most Remarkable Teens. The Riverside Youth Council received close to one hundred nominations of students and carefully reviewed the nominees to select 25 in various categories, including Courage to Overcome, Philanthropy, and Most Promising Teen.

“It is a moving event which gives us an opportunity to recognize the many extraordinary accomplishments of young people in our community”, says Mayor Ron Loveridge. “These teens demonstrate talent and innovation in areas that include science and entrepreneurship, extracurricular contributions, volunteerism, and creative arts among others.”

In addition, the Riverside Youth Council produces a public access TV show highlighting each of the selected teens. “The film allows us to share with the Riverside community stories of triumph, demonstrating that young people are great contributors in the community. It is one of the Riverside talents,” says Riverside Youth Council President, Alicia Patel.

These talented and dedicated youth play an integral role in shaping the future of the City of Arts & Innovation. The young leaders in the community are a powerful source of solutions, and can provide opportunities for diverse people to work together to achieve our shared purpose.

For more information about Youth Council and the Remarkable Teens distinction, click here: http://www.riversideyouthcouncil.com/remarkableteens.html

California Council for Excellence Awards Kaiser Permanente Riverside the Eureka Silver Award

On May 2, the California Council for Excellence recognized the 2011 recipients of the California Awards for Performance Excellence at its annual conference in Anaheim, Calif. Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center area was awarded the Eureka Silver Award. The Eureka Award is the top-tier award for CAPE, and only nine other health care organizations have received a Eureka Silver Award since 1992.

Denise Shields, California Council for Excellence Chair of the Board of Directors; John Dorothy, senior consultant for Kaiser Permanente; Ann Centeno, executive consultant for Kaiser Permanente; Jeff Greene, chief of staff for Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries; Richard Rajaratnam, area medical director for Kaiser Permanente; Jill Duplechan, medical group administrator, Kaiser Permanente; Nathan Miller, district director, Office of Assemblyman Mike Morrell; Vita Willett, executive director, Kaiser Permanente; Dr. David Spong, California Council for Excellence, vice chair of the board of directors; Rob Grasso, executive director, California Council for Excellence.


“This achievement is a testament to the excellent performance of the Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center Area,” said Vita Willett, executive director, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals/Health Plan. “Hospitals who earn the CAPE and Baldridge Awards have demonstrated that they provide top quality care.”

California Council for ExcellenceThe CAPE award program, which emulates the national Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, recognizes organizations that demonstrate superior performance in seven key business areas: leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, measurement and knowledge management, human resources, process management and organizational results.

California Council for Excellence, Eureka Award

“The CAPE program guides California organizations in maintaining competitiveness by promoting continuous improvement,” said Jill Duplechan, RN, MAOL, medical group administrator. “Hospitals who focus on the CAPE and Baldridge strategies, processes and initiatives provide some of the best care in the nation.”

Award applicants are evaluated through a 50-page application and a weeklong site visit.

“This award is a recognition of Kaiser Permanente Riverside’s commitment to excellence in the provision of health care,” said Richard G. Rajaratnam, MD, FACS, FRCS, area medical group administrator. “I am proud to work with a team of dedicated physicians and staff who have the patient at the center of their focus and are continually innovating new strategies to elevate the care they provide to the next level.”

Kaiser Permanente opened its medical center in Riverside in 1989 and its hospital in Moreno Valley in 2008, and currently provides care for over 320,000 members throughout the county. Over 400 physicians care for our members at nine medical facilities and at Kaiser Permanente’s Riverside Medical Center and Moreno Valley Community Hospital. The Riverside Medical Center has 215 licensed beds. The Moreno Valley Community Hospital has 101 licensed beds.

The future of Riverside’s position as the home of next-century health care relies first and foremost on the overall wellness of its residents. The Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center has shown a strong commitment to the health of Riverside residents and continues to strive for the highest quality of care through innovative practices. 

View the original article here: http://xnet.kp.org/newscenter/pressreleases/scal/2012/050412riverside_award.html

Riverside Leaders Kick Off RCC Two-Year Completion Guarantee To Raise College Graduation Rates

On Monday, May 7th Mayor Ron Loveridge and Completion Counts, a citywide partnership of education, civic and business leaders, kicked off the Riverside City College two-year completion guarantee, which looks to boost college access and success for local youth. Students at Norte Vista High School gathered in their gymnasium to learn about the new citywide initiative as high school graduation approaches.

The guarantee assures that eligible 2012 graduates of Alvord and Riverside Unified School Districts get priority class registration at RCC and a seat in classes to help them earn an associates degree, or transfer to a four-year university, within two years of enrolling.

The RCC two-year guarantee is part of an ambitious effort led by Completion Counts to raise the number of Riverside students who enroll and graduate from college by 2020. The partnership is driven by the City of Riverside, Riverside City College, Alvord Unified School District, Riverside Unified School District, Riverside County Office of Education, UC Riverside, and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce.

California’s budget cuts to education are driving community colleges to make changes to address the specific needs of their campus and community, while still making higher education accessible to everyone. Through Completion Counts, RCC is now focusing its efforts to give priority to eligible local incoming students, whom are overwhelmingly the first in their families to go to college.

“We know that for some of you right now college is just a dream, but we’ve been working very hard to make college a real possibility,” said Board President of Riverside Unified School District Gayle Cloud to a packed gymnasium. “This kind of collaboration between K-12 and higher education is unheard of in many communities – but we’re making it happen here in Riverside,” she said.

Dr. Cynthia Azari, President of Riverside City College presented the details of the guarantee. To participate, students must meet certain criteria including: score high in a college-entrance English and math test, complete the 2012-13 Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), attend full-time and maintain a 2.0 GPA at RCC. The guarantee does not apply at the Moreno Valley or Norco colleges.

RCC provides opportunities for technical education and transitions to four year universities and produces a highly educated workforce. The two-year completion guarantee shows the commitment to lifelong learning and a college-going culture in Riverside by ensuring that students achieve their academic goals through accessible and efficient means.