The University of California, Riverside, Riverside Unified School District and Riverside City College signed an agreement Sept. 8 to form a strategic partnership to expand STEM education and expose more Riverside students to college-level courses at any early age.
The partnership was signed by UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox, RUSD Superintendent David Hansen and RCC President Wolde-Ab Isaac at a ceremony at Interdisciplinary Building South at UCR.
With an increasing number of jobs requiring skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), preparing a highly-educated workforce in STEM fields is a national and local priority.
To meet these workforce needs, Riverside Unified, UCR and RCC have formed the partnership to ensure more high school students have early access to hands-on experience in laboratories and specialized STEM guidance at UCR and RCC.
This partnership builds upon the current success of the Riverside STEM Academy, which is operated by RUSD and located less than one mile away from UCR. In addition to enhanced curriculum, the agreement also allows the future possibility for RUSD to develop additional academy space on the UCR campus to accommodate student enrollment growth.
Partnerships like this are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar. UCR, RUSD, and RCC are dedicated to educating the next generation of students and helping them succeed. These partnerships play a vital role in strengthening our community’s workforce and job growth.
A solar power project on Riverside’s closed Tequesquite landfill is now providing power to the city’s grid. With a 7.5-megawatt installation that’s up and running, solar energy provides more than 4 percent of Riverside’s power supply.
A 20-acre array of about 25,000 solar panels that now stretches across the closed Tequesquite landfill south of the Santa Ana River is one of the largest municipal solar projects in California, said Bill Kelly, vice president of SunPower, the San Jose-based company that built the project.
SunPower built the array as part of a 25-year deal under which Riverside Public Utilities will buy power the project generates. As of Wednesday, Sept. 9, the panels were plugged in and feeding power to the city’s electric grid, Riverside Public Utilities project manager Ron Barry said.
With the growing concern of climate change and pollution from fossil fuels, Riverside is taking steps to reduce their foot print on the environment and promote the quality of life for all through intelligent growth of their city.
A $250,000 grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation will help fund hands-on experiences in the field of sustainability and health technologies for the chemical engineering department at California Baptist University’s Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering.
Dr. Mark Anklam, chemical engineering chair and professor, said a large portion of the funds have already been invested in purchasing new equipment to create additional chemical engineering labs.
These labs will allow students to work on sustainable technology projects such as CO2removal, reverse osmosis, fuel cells technology and purifying water, he said.
Grants like this help equip CBU’s engineering students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. CBU’s effort to develop programs that meet the needs of employers is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny intelligent growth pillar.
California Baptist University recently signed an agreement with Ameriflight LLC, that will provide additional career opportunities for aviation flight graduates.
Students who meet a list of requirements will be guaranteed an interview with Ameriflight, a regional cargo carrier based in Dallas, Texas. The requirements include completing CBU curriculum and flight training, maintaining a 3.0 cumulative GPA and attaining a position as a certified flight instructor.
“This agreement is another vote of industry confidence for our department of aviation science,” said Dr. Daniel Prather, chair of the department of aviation science. “Ameriflight is a well-paying regional airline with a great need for pilots.”
A recent article by AINonline indicates that Ameriflight raised its pay rates by 20 percent last November, and another increase took effect recently. A senior Embraer EMB-120 captain now makes $89,000 per year and a Piper Chieftain pilot $43,000 (up from $28,000).
The company’s website describes Ameriflight as a fleet cargo service, with more than 2,000 weekly departures and 90,000 flight hours annually. The agreement also includes an opportunity for CBU graduates to land a guaranteed interview with Allegiant Airlines after three years as an Ameriflight captain.
The CBU Department of Aviation Science opened in fall 2013 with 25 students and has grown to almost 60 students currently enrolled. The program has 11 flight training aircraft and an operations center with a flight simulator. This program also operates the CBU Flight School, which provides flight training for anyone who has an interest in learning how to fly at university-level standards.
CBU’s efforts and commitment to education certainly illustrate the Seizing Our Destiny pillar of intelligent growth. For students, one of the greatest challenges they meet is finding a career path after graduation. Providing students with the opportunity of future employment while they are completing their training at Cal Baptist holds great value to aviation science students. This is just one example of how Cal Baptist University promotes intelligent growth by collaborating to build a stronger community for future Riversiders.
The onsite testing center allows students to take their FAA exam in an environment they are familiar with and is convenient for them, said Dr. Daniel Prather, chair of the department of aviation science, which had its inaugural class in the fall of 2013. Previously, CBU aviation science students had to use an off-site testing center. Aviation flight majors typically take one test each semester to earn their rating or certificate in various areas, such as instrument rating or flight engineer.
“Having the testing center in-house just helps us provide the total package,” Prather said. “Students can come into the program, learn how to fly, earn their ratings and certificates, take their FAA written exams and earn their college degree.”
The test center is available to anyone wanting to take FAA-required knowledge exams, not just CBU students. The Flight School has 11 aircraft, six flight instructors with more being hired and now a test center.
“It’s yet another piece of the puzzle that allows us to continue growing and realizing our vision,” Prather said.
Testing centers like this are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar. CBU is dedicated to educating the next generation of students and helping them succeed. These testing centers play a vital role in strengthening our community’s workforce and job growth.
Keep your high-achieving and motivated children engaged this summer by exposing them to creative and challenging material they might not get in their regular classrooms. UCR Extension is offering two summer programs that will provide enrichment and
education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The dates are as follows:
Expanding Horizons STEMDiscovery (grades 3-6); June 22-26
Expanding Horizons (grades 3-5); July 13-24
Expanding Horizons (grades 6-8); July 13-24
Expanding Horizons: STEM Discovery for Grades 3 through 6 will focus on computer programming, technology and electricity. Karen Dodson, UCR Extension’s youth program coordinator, said the teachers include Michael Hanson, who recently received a “STEM the Gap” science grant from the Dow Chemical Co.
In addition to hands-on cooperative learning experiences, students will hear presentations from STEM experts on topics ranging from 3-D printing to aquaponics. “Students will not only be exposed to the various STEM fields, they will engage in hands-on cooperative learning,” Dodson said. “And, they’ll have the time to create, produce and present a final project to share with their families on Friday.”
The two-week Expanding Horizons program for children in grades 3 through 5 provides innovative instruction in science, technology, art, math, history and language arts from July 13 through 24. Both elementary-level programs will be taught at the UCR Extension Center.
Middle school students will attend Expanding Horizons courses on the UC Riverside campus. Tours of several campus locations and panel discussions with UCR students were added to the program this year.
“They should really experience the texture of college life, what it means to be part of college and really interact with college students in a structured format,” Dodson said. “STEM education is vital to the future of our economy. A growing number of jobs today from healthcare workers and computer technicians to financial examiners and athletic trainers demand workers have a strong background in STEM subjects.”
The Expanding Horizons Middle School program, July 13 through 24, will feature the same topics and instructors as in the STEM Discovery program, with the rigor adjusted to the middle school level. Some of the course titles include: Math in Animation, Fossil Fuels and Renewable Energy.
Scholarships are available and discounts will be applied to students who attend multiple sections, or who have siblings that also are participating.
Programs like this are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar. UCR is dedicated to educating the next generation of students and helping them succeed. These programs play a vital role in strengthening our community’s workforce and job growth.
To read more about the Expanding Horizons Middle School program, click here.
The annual Best Small Business Cities in America Study ranking of 25 cities is based on a weighted average of data on Biz2Credit’s customers across the country. It looks at the health of small businesses in each metro area, the rate of small-business creation and the economic ecosystem for entrepreneurs, including the cost of doing business, tax climate and local talent pool.
Biz2Credit analyzed 12,000 businesses with fewer than 250 employees from across the country. These firms were in operation for more than a year and had less than $10 million in annual revenues.
The Riverside-San Bernardino area shot to the top spot after scoring in the top five in average credit score, average annual revenue, number of employees and the BizAnalyzer score, which takes into account local economic factors, such as the cost of doing business and tax rate. It also finished in the top 10 for its thriving start-up culture. The average age of businesses in the area is 34 months.
Top 10 cities for small business
Riverside-San Bernardino, California
New York Metro
Charlotte, North Carolina
San Francisco-Oakland, California
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas (Source: Biz2Credit)
The Riverside-San Bernardino area is a hub for IT, advanced manufacturing, food processing, health and medicine and professional services. The ecosystem for growth companies is strong, since it has such resources as incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces, as well as a Shop Riverside campaign to promote local businesses.
According to the survey, small businesses in Riverside-San Bernardino had average annual revenues of $1,400,960, ahead of the No. 2 city, New York, where average annual revenues were $1,269,859. San Francisco-Oakland placed third, with average annual revenues of $671,000.
“Technology is bringing in younger people and more immigrants to this metro area,” explained Rohit Arora, CEO of Biz2Credit. “Riverside, California, has a pretty big immigrant population.” It includes immigrants from Southeast Asia, Central America and the Middle East.
Nathan Sklar, a health-care entrepreneur, recently expanded his business operations from New York City to Riverside, California. In Manhattan he runs three entities: Comprehensive Kids Developmental School, a not-for-profit school for children with autism; Grand Street Medicine and Rehab, an outpatient facility for occupational physical therapy; and Comprehensive Evaluations, which provides evaluation services for children. Together they employ about 250 people.
He opened Comprehensive Certified Home Health Services in Riverside, California, five to six years ago. It is a home-care agency that provides nursing services, home health aides and related services, employing about 50 people. Sklar branched out into California during a moratorium on home-care licenses in New York. California had no moratorium.
“We’ve been growing at a steady pace,” he said, adding that between his New York and California operations, his ventures bring in combined revenue that range from $15 million to $25 million annually.
Riverside embraces economic growth and directs it so it maintains and improves our already outstanding quality of life. This ranking is yet another example of Riverside continuing to fuel the intelligent growth of the city and region.
RCC was one of four community colleges selected for a Registered Nurse Education Capitation grant out of 17 applicants. Its $200,000 award trailed only Cal State Northridge, which received $240,000.
RCC’s School of Nursing will use the funds to address the RN shortage in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. RCC will hire more full-time faculty to provide instruction and support, and admit an additional 10 students into the traditional Associate Degree in Nursing program. Students admitted into Nursing 11 will have their clinical rotation at one of RCC’s partner hospitals, all located in medically underserved areas. These hospitals serve a patient population with a very high percentage of Hispanic and Spanish-only-speaking individuals. The 10 students will be expected to complete the ADN program and qualify to take the NCLEX exam. Based on historical data, after graduation as many as 90 percent of them will secure employment in the local communities.
RCC’s School of Nursing is one of only 27 nationally accredited associate degree in Nursing programs in California, and has demonstrated great success in attracting and admitting members of minority groups into its RN program. Between 2002 and 2014, the applicant pool of students seeking admission to the RCC ADN program increased three-fold, with 911 applicants for 160 slots, 58 percent who are minority/disadvantaged.
The program also secured a $125,000 Song-Brown Grant for the Registered Nurse Education Programs. The grant will allow the program to implement an articulated associate degree-to-bachelor’s degree Nursing Pathway in coordination with local BSN programs. A growing body of research suggests that a BSN prepares nurses for greater professional responsibility and more complex practice. It also suggests that having a higher proportion of BSN-prepared nurses on staff in hospitals is linked to better patient outcomes. In its October 2010 report on The Future of Nursing, the Institute of Medicine states “an increase in the percentage of nurses with a BSN is imperative as the scope of what the public needs from nurses grows, expectations surrounding quality heighten, and the settings where nurses are needed proliferate and become more complex.”
The School of Nursing was one of just eight programs in the state to receive full funding.
Grants like these increase the great work done at RCC and help equip their nursing students with the knowledge needed to succeed. RCC’s effort to develop programs that meet the needs of employers is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny intelligent growth pillar.
When Wells Middle School student Yuly Quintero heard about Norte Vista High School’s newly minted Green Construction Academy, she knew it was where she wanted to be.
“It just seemed so cool to do things other girls don’t do,” she said.
Quintero, now 15 and a sophomore at the Riverside high school, said the academy has exceeded her expectations. She has designed and built miniature replicas of buildings and bridges, and learned how to use hand and power tools.
And on a recent Tuesday, Quintero and about 39 of her academy classmates were put through the paces by trained professionals during a daylong boot camp at the Electrical Apprenticeship Training Center in San Bernardino. They learned to use a defibrillator in a CPR class, fashioned metal conduits, ran wires and learned some of the “hair-raising” aspects of electrical safety.
Now wrapping up its third year at Norte Vista, the academy is a school within a school that blends academic and career technical education to engage students who lack motivation or are at risk of dropping out to help them prepare for careers in the building trades or college – or both. Programs like this are great examples of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation and intelligent growth pillars. The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support programs that help improve our already outstanding quality of life.
“We’re reaching a student population that maybe we overlook,” said Gary Packler, the academy’s coordinator. “The academy is a way to connect them to school.”
The program is funded by a California Department of Education grant with support from the Alvord Unified School District and business partners. It focuses on jobs in clean technology and renewable energy in industries such as solar energy and wind energy.
Other Inland schools with grants for Green Construction academies are: Arroyo Valley High School in San Bernardino and Desert Hot Springs High School in the Palm Springs Unified School District.
Norte Vista’s Green Academy started in 2012 with a freshman class of 30 students recruited from the district’s four middle schools.
Students in that initial class – who will be seniors in fall – and from subsequent years take four classes per day together and advance through the academy as a group.
“It creates a smaller learning environment,” Packler said. “It promotes a connection between teacher and students.”
Students take academic courses including English, mathematics and science. Mixed in are a freshman class of wood shop, and sophomore and junior construction technology courses.
Students also observe and work at a solar panel installation work site, Packler said.
On May 5, 40 academy students gathered at the San Bernardino apprenticeship center, where they got a taste of what to expect if they opted to try for a spot in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ apprenticeship program instead of going to college.
“It’s a very demanding program,” said Jim Rush, the Brotherhood’s business representative, who helped organize the boot camp.
Rush said applicants need a high school diploma or GED, must pass an exam that tests their math, reading and writing comprehension skills and be interviewed by the apprenticeship committee.
In the five-year training program, apprentices work five days a week with a contractor and attend school two nights a week.
The payoff can be substantial, Rush said. He earns about $100,000 per year.
Sophomore Johnny Conriquez, 16 said he heard about the Green Academy at Loma Vista Middle School and thought it would suit him for a couple of reasons.
“I like working with my hands,” he said. “And I like that we’re helping the environment.”
The academy has been so successful that participants have asked to help recruit at middle schools, Packler said.
“Some of these students would never have volunteered to go to middle school,” Packler said. “But they have developed so much confidence and social skills.”
Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, president of California Baptist University, congratulated 1,420 graduating students during afternoon and evening commencement ceremonies at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. Afternoon exercises included 717 traditional undergraduate degree candidates, while the evening ceremony honored 703 students, including all master’s degree candidates, as well as undergraduates from Online and Professional Studies programs.
Ellis noted that the class was part of a record enrollment for the 2014-2015 academic year, with 7,957 enrolled at CBU.
“They have contributed to the continuing growth of CBU’s campus culture as ‘a University Committed to the Great Commission’ during an exciting time of continuing growth and improvement,” Ellis said. “Each of these graduating students has arrived at this point because of a shared commitment to the challenging yet rewarding endeavor of higher education.”
California Baptist University is always expanding and improving in a remarkable fashion. Representing Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar, CBU’s record number of graduates helps improve the local and global economy and improves our already outstanding quality of life.
Combined with students who graduated last December, the Class of 2015 totals 1,946 applications for graduation, the largest number for a single year in CBU history.