American economic growth is highly dependent on the quality and quantity of workers. Currently, the United States is facing a severe skilled and unskilled worker shortage that has long and short-term economic implications. - Global Risk Insights
By Chamber Chair Stacy Miller
My professional mentor, a long-time city manager, loved to share his favorite story about good planning. It involved “The Seven Generation Stewardship,” a concept that urges the current generation of humans to live and work for the benefit of the seventh generation (140 years) into the future. The Seven Generation Stewardship principle is believed to have originated with the Iroquois Indians and encourages this forward thinking in all decisions, resulting in a sustainable world, seven generations into the future.
I was reminded of this story during a recent presentation from Oxnard City Manager Alex Nguyen, who spoke of “Moore’s Law,” a computing term that originated around 1970. The simplified version of this law states that processor speeds, or overall processing power for computers, will double every two years.
Alex was referring to Intel’s chips which have improved performance a factor of 3,500 since they were introduced, reflecting a 90,000-times improvement in energy efficiency and at one-60,000th of the cost.
Had a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle undergone the same transformation, it would now travel at 300,000 miles per hour, achieve two million miles per gallon, and cost four cents. Wow!
Moore’s Law became a guiding light for an industry. Moore’s original article also envisioned a future for cheaper, more powerful semiconductors. He envisioned PCs, cell phones, self-driving cars and electronic wristwatches—all powered by ever-improving chips.
Both the Seven Generation Stewardship concept and Moore’s Law demonstrate the importance of true forward-planning and efficiency.
Alex’s point, however, hits a little closer to home. Like many of us, Alex is very concerned that today’s workforce is ill-prepared for tomorrow’s jobs, which as he points out, are here now.
Here in Oxnard, one of the top issues we hear from employers is a lack of trained and educated workers. There are local jobs waiting to be filled and employers are frustrated with the lack of candidates applying that just don’t meet the necessary criteria for the jobs. For the first time in our country, there are more job openings than there are eligible workers to fill them.
So how did we get here? There are several trends that have contributed to this. One of these is “The Silver Tsunami,” whereby 45% of the current workforce will be retiring and/or leaving the workforce within the next decade.
Another trend is the growth of the temporary worker. The rise of temporary workers is a workforce trend that’s here to stay and there are predictions that 40% of the workforce will be contingent on temporary workers by 2020.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, temporary workers make up 19% of all new jobs in the U.S. By 2020, more than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce are expected to be temporary or contingent workers.
Just these two trends alone—people leaving the full-time workforce and the growing number of temporary workers--are big contributors to our lack of adequate, qualified employees.
According to "The Atlantic," it’s estimated that the U.S. economy will need as many as 100,000 new information technology workers every year for the next decade. By 2026, there will be 2.6 million new jobs in healthcare, one-fifth of all new jobs. The changing demand for specific skills is being felt across industries and, as a result, companies and organizations are investing in programs that empower the workforce of the future through job retraining.
So, what is being done locally and around the country?
But many workers are finding that job retraining alone is not enough. Support networks and social services are needed to support the transition to new types of work.
What else is being done here in Oxnard and Ventura County? I would love to hear from you! Please email me your thoughts and ideas at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Chair of the Board Stacy Miller
It’s no secret that cities across the country are dealing with the impacts of homelessness. In Oxnard, Ventura County’s largest city, lives the county’s largest number of homeless, estimated at about 700 individuals.
For Oxnard City Manager Alex Nguyen, it is a daily work effort for his staff and the Oxnard Police Department that has cost the city $3.2 million over two years.
“It is frustrating to hear people say that the city isn’t doing anything to deal with the impacts of homelessness in Oxnard,” laments Nguyen. "There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t responding to calls regarding issues surrounding homeless individuals.”
Nguyen’s frustration centers on the fact that the funding approved by California voters is slow in making its way to cities that deal with the issues every day. In fact, the state has about $2 billion in housing and homeless funding, but those funds are not being provided for the day-to-day urgent problems cities confront.
“The city does not condone vagrancy. We are spending millions on police services and code enforcement, all of which do nothing to get anyone off the street for any length of time,” he stated.
Nguyen subscribes to the “housing first” model, which, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, is a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life. This approach is guided by the belief that people need necessities like food and a place to live before attending to anything less critical, such as getting a job, budgeting or attending to substance abuse and mental health issues.
But that costs money which Nguyen believes is the responsibility of the state. Right now, Nguyen and his team are working with various partners, including neighboring cities, Ventura County and private developers, to identify potential sites in Oxnard for future housing, utilizing eventual state and other funding sources.
“If communities are going to really make an impact with homelessness, then it is going to take the combined efforts of government, business, nonprofit organizations and individuals,” he said. “This is one of the big challenges of our era that will require active participation, funding and coordination on many levels."
How Businesses Can Help
For Oxnard-based businesses dealing with the day-to-day impacts of homelessness, the issue is a volatile one. Businesses have expressed frustration with public intoxication, trash and other homelessness issues that hamper their businesses. But rather than just complain, Nguyen is urging businesses to be a small part of the solution.
“Businesses can help the issue by doing a few simple things: consider cutting hedges around their businesses to prevent people from sleeping there; consider bringing on private security; and also be willing to hire one or two formerly homeless individuals,” explains Nguyen. “Having a job is a vital component of regaining life stability.”
While it is important that everyone do their part, Nguyen emphasizes that the ultimate funding source is the state, and if cities don’t receive direct funding to fight homelessness, we all will continue to experience degrading quality of life.
“The state currently provides direct funding through the biggest 13 cities. This is very frustrating for local governments. Every day we are spending money and time on everything from chasing down shopping carts and cleaning up trash, to responding to calls about public urination and vagrancy,” adds Nguyen. “There are so many other things we need to get done in Oxnard but if we don’t do a better job of housing the homeless, we won’t be able to get there."
Clearly, our city manager is frustrated with the lack of financial and other assistance to aid the homelessness crisis. Please consider contacting your elected officials and the governor’s office regarding this important issue.
CURE Pharmaceutical is changing how we take our medicines
By Chair of the Board Stacy Miller
Imagine a daily regimen of several pills, liquids or injections being reduced to a simple small film that dissolves in your mouth.
You don’t have to just imagine this great innovation because it is already developed by the brilliant team at CURE Pharmaceutical based right here in Oxnard.
CURE Pharmaceutical is a vertically integrated life science company with a propriety platform for oral drug delivery. The CURE mission is to improve lives by redefining how medicines are delivered and experienced, enabling more precise dosing and better efficiencies for patients.
By partnering with innovative firms looking for new methods to deliver drugs from early feasibility to commercialization, CURE Pharmaceutical is utilizing cutting-edge technology to solve a myriad of drug delivery issues.
“CURE’s oral soluble film technology is a versatile formulation platform that allows CURE to create proprietary drug products with optimal release profiles for better patient outcomes and experiences,” explains Jessica Rousset, CURE Pharmaceutical’s Chief Operating Officer.
From young children to the elderly and some in-between, the experience of taking pills, liquids and injections can be difficult. This can lead to poor medication adherence.
When swallowed, pills need to be dissolved by the body into particles small enough to be absorbed. During this process, as much as 80% of the drug may get metabolized by the liver and excreted.
While liquids can be offered as an alternative delivery method, they often taste terrible and can be challenging to administer to children and pets. Also, many patients strongly dislike injections, particularly when self-administered.
CUREfilm®, CURE Pharmaceutical’s marquis drug delivery system, is revolutionizing how medicines are consumed, solving the issues some have with pills, liquids and injections. CURE’s oral dissolving film technology unleashes the full potential of drug treatments and can improve the efficacy and safety of new and existing drugs, match or improve pharmacokinetic drug profiles, and stabilize plasma levels over extended time periods, possibly reducing dose frequency and side effects.
With CURE’s patented technology, life-saving drugs can be delivered to patients that bypass the G.I. tract, avoiding G.I. side effects and in activation in the gut and liver. This method protects the active ingredient from degradation in the biological environment; it prolongs the drug’s presence in the blood, and it increases cellular uptake. CURE’s technology is different from other oral thin films in that larger amounts of the drug active can be loaded onto the CUREfilm®.
Patient benefits of the CUREfilm® include rapid delivery for faster clinical affect and symptom relief; reduced side effects with a possible lower dose; an alternative to swallowing pills and injections; and easier adherence by combining multiple actives in one dose.
What else is on the horizon for this innovative company? How about raising the bar for cannabis by maximizing how cannabis can be used as an effective therapy for patients?
“We are very excited about the momentum at CURE Pharmaceutical. We are always looking at being collaborative not competitive, and we live by our company’s mission to improve people’s lives by redefining how medicines are delivered and experienced,” says Rousset.
What a great innovator right here in Oxnard! Check out CURE Pharmaceutical at: www.curepharma.com.
By Chair of the Board Stacy Miller
“Our work tells you the facts. We don’t tell you to eat or not to eat this or that, we just tell the truth.”
That’s how CEO of AGQ Labs Tenesor Peña describes the company's goals and mission.
Keeping to the facts is a good thing when you’re a science lab responsible for chemical analysis of food and soil. It’s exactly the type of science gaining public notice in the wake of a rising consumer base that wants to know what’s in their food and how it’s grown.
AGQ’s Oxnard lab focuses their work solely on food safety and agronomy, the science of soil management and crop production. Their work is highly sought after by agriculture business looking to take their farms and produce into the future.
How does analysis from a lab like AGQ make a difference?
“We give growers a lot of helpful information,” says Peña. “We can show growers how much water and fertilizer they need so they don’t waste resources. Take nitrogen, for example. Too much means the extra will leech into the soil. Our analysis will prevent overdoing it and in turn, be better for your soil because you’re only giving your crops exactly what they need.”
Saving resources, saving money and creating better soil means long-term benefits for growers from season to season.
AGQ Labs is more than just a standout business partner for growers. Over the last eight years since opening in Oxnard, it’s become an engaged community partner.
Why is Oxnard the place for its only lab in the United States? Why is Oxnard ideal for a cutting-edge laboratory with global ties and nine labs all over the world?
“Oxnard really was a perfect fit for our agronomy work. It’s close to growers and the Ag industry, and close to an international airport, which helps us maintain our global ties and send and receive samples internationally. It's an affordable and beautiful city to build a lab,” explains Peña.
He also says the city openly welcomed AGQ and, because of that goodwill, he believes strongly in giving back to the community.
AGQ is a partner in Ventura Farm Day, offering an open house and free public tours alongside local farms. Peña himself is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and lives locally in Oxnard, like his employees (a team of 40), who all live local in the Oxnard and Ventura County area.
AGQ Labs is growing their local engagement through business connections, educational partnerships with Cal State Channel Islands, Cal Poly and Ventura College, and even supporting local youth soccer teams.
In addition to hosting a recent tour of the lab for Oxnard Chamber leadership and city management, AGQ loves to host tours for local children. “We like to show kids where their food comes from," states Peña. “It’s our way to teach the next generation.”
Proof AGQ is growing more than just good science right here in Oxnard.
By Chair of the Board Stacy Miller
Sgt. Ron Helus, 54, of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department was one year away from retirement after 29 years on the job, but he was the first to enter the Borderline Bar and Grill on that fateful night when 12 people lost their lives in a mass shooting last November.
That was the kind of dedication Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Ron Helus had, protecting others before himself. On Saturday, June 29, our community has an opportunity to show respect and appreciation for Sgt. Helus and other members of law enforcement as part of the Ride for the Blue event.
If you are a motorcyclist, the Ride for the Blue event will start at the parking lot of Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, 99 Rolling Oaks Dr. Thousand Oaks, with registration beginning at 6:45 a.m. The actual motorcycle ride will begin at 7:50 a.m., with a lunch break at 12:30 p.m. and the event ending at 4:00 p.m. Participants will ride their motorcycles and briefly visit each law enforcement station in Ventura County to say thank you to the officers who are protecting and serving our communities.
If you would like to show your support for the Oxnard Police Department, we invite you and your family to meet in front of the Oxnard Police Department, 251 S. C Street, Oxnard. You should plan on being at the station at approximately 10:45 a.m. on June 29 to support and cheer on our dedicated law enforcement personnel and the hundreds of riders visiting our great city.
The event is free and open to the community to participate. More information and registration is available at ridefortheblue.com, or you may call the event coordinator John Short III at (800) 606-1390 or email him at email@example.com.
I hope you can join our local enforcement for this important event to show appreciation and support for those who work so hard every day to keep our community safe.