The Chamber and its members are happy to see the Dallas Cowboys Training Camp come to town again this year. Their fans have quite an impact on local businesses.
The Chamber is always touting the positive impact the Cowboys have when they come to Oxnard. To substantiate those claims, we thought we would share some data with our readers from the 2012 Training Camp. The UCSB Economic Forecast Project conducted an economic impact study for Oxnard and Ventura County. Here is what they found:
The Oxnard Chamber Board of Directors voted to OPPOSE the effort to recall the mayor and three councilmembers. Following a recommendation from the Chamber’s Business Advocacy Committee, the Board cited the cost of a potential election as well as the proximity of a special election to the June Primary and November Gubernatorial elections set for 2018.
Aaron Starr, an unsuccessful candidate for city council in 2014 and 2016, is spearheading the recall effort based on how the council members voted on adjustments to wastewater rates. Mayor Flynn, Mayor Pro Tem Ramirez, Councilmember Perello, and Councilmember Madrigal all voted in favor of rate increases. Councilman MacDonald voted no, so he is not a target of the recall.
The Chamber Board received information that a special election would cost more than $200,000, as estimated by the County Clerk’s office. That number does not include the cost of verifying petition signatures, nor does it include the cost of the Oxnard City Attorney’s office and the Oxnard City Clerk’s office.
If the recall proponent is successful in gathering sufficient valid signatures (roughly 12,000) to trigger a special election, the city may be forced to hold one in the spring of 2018 – just a few months before the June Primary.
If there is a special election, the ballot will contain a question whether the sitting council member should be recalled. That would be followed by a list of candidates running to potentially replace the city council person and convolute the ballot further.
If there is a successful recall, the person elected to replace the ousted council member would likely have to run for a full term in the November 2018 election. Mayor Flynn, Mayor Pro Tem Ramirez and Councilmember Perello all have terms expiring in December 2018. Councilmember Madrigal’s term is not up until 2020.
The Chamber believes this to too much disruption of local government when Oxnard voters could simply express their support or opposition of current council members in the November 2018 election.
In addition to the timeline for a potential special election, the Chamber has great concern over the premise that elected officials could be recalled based on his or her vote on a single issue. It is the Chamber’s position that the recall stipulation in the elections code was included to address malfeasance and gross negligence.
The Chamber encourages Oxnard voters NOT to sign the recall petitions being circulated and support the city while it continues to move forward in a positive direction.
The Oxnard Chamber successfully implemented all aspects of its Direct Path To Success (DPTS) proposal of 2016-17. The chief goal of the program was to increase the involvement of chamber members in work-based learning opportunities for local high school age youth including internships. Along the way, the program developed various tools and novel approaches to promoting this engagement. The program supported on-going annual events within the school district that provided opportunities for employers to become engaged with youth both in the classroom and in the workspace.
The work began by repurposing the chamber’s existing education sub-committee into the Workforce Education Readiness Committee (WERC) whose primary mission was to assist with the recruitment of other chamber members in support of the activities of the DPTS program. This realignment imparted a more action-oriented mission for the committee and satisfied the member’s feeling of a “return on investment,” since they got to see the immediate impact of the DPTS initiatives.
A unique activity spawned from the grant was the chamber’s Intern Bootcamp, which targeted juniors and seniors in technical education academies, in order to develop essential skills for the workplace. The chamber used responses collected from a survey of chamber members on the top five attributes either deficient or necessary in new hires to their organization. Next, HR professionals from within the chamber were recruited to present on these skill areas on both off-site and on-site sessions for students interested in preparing for an internship. In all over 50 high school students received this training from 10 volunteer presenters.
Another engagement opportunity unique to this program was the Girls in STEM day. Female chamber members from engineering and engineering-related businesses volunteered on a Saturday morning to conduct short activities focused on science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) with middle school-aged girls from local middle schools. Concurrent with the experiments, the engineers were encouraged to relate their own experience of how they were drawn to a STEM profession. This event brought together 24 volunteers with over 150 students. In addition, workshops on high school programs and college information were simultaneously offered for the parents.
The chamber partnered with the Oxnard Union HS District, the Ventura County Civic Alliance and the Ventura County Office of Education to make these and several other events come to fruition.
In February, the chamber supported the annual Job Shadow Day that had been initiated by the school district in the prior year. One-hundred and five students were placed in 25 different businesses to spend a couple of hours looking over the shoulder of a professional in whose work the student had expressed an interest.
In March, the chamber hosted an Entrée to Employment event, focused on the Hospitality industry. Eleven chamber organizations volunteered to attend an evening of informal discussion with 75 students who were taking courses to prepare them for careers related to hospitality. The students had an opportunity to ask in-depth questions about proper preparation for the career, nature of the work, salaries, working conditions, upward mobility, etc.
In May, the program assisted with the recurring Sweets at the Beach culinary competition. This event drew volunteers from the chamber member and host hotel, the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort, as well as chefs from chamber member organizations who served as judges for the event. The competition involves students from three different high schools and a number of academy programs including culinary, business-event planning, and multi-media promotion.
On going opportunities presented themselves through out the year so that chamber members were able to engage in guest speaking, judging of team projects, or giving mock interviews for local high school students. Partnerships developed in this program with private businesses and municipal agencies will result in approximately 40 internships for this summer, which previously have not existed.
In summary, the DPTS program engaged 75 new chamber partners in activities that reached over 2,000 students of local high and middle schools. It created new opportunities for professionals to become engaged with local students in ways that met the desired level of involvement of the business. Moreover, it raised awareness of chamber members to the value of internships. The chamber’s effort was able to demonstrate a program scalable to both larger and smaller organizations and replicable, since it only requires strong partnering with local educational agencies.