Guest speaker: Kimberly Davidson | Corona, CA

Last week’s speaker was Kimberly Davidson the City of Corona’s Economic Development Director.   Kimberly gave a very lively presentation.  We have a population of over 168,000 residents, and a very low unemployment rate.  While that’s generally a good thing, it’s tough for our local manufacturers to find employees. We have about 400 manufacturers in the city. It is a very tight labor market not only nationally but locally as well.  Kimberly also talked about the changing face of retail.  It’s become a national trend that most stores are either closing or going to on line sales.  But while this is occurring, this also allows for more mom and pop stores to develop.  Our Corona Mall will be getting a facelift soon.  The new destination will be called The Union.  It will be focused on restaurants and entertainment.  Bedford Canyon is being developed into new homes along with a commercial property.  The City of Corona also works closely with Norco College. The students learn the skills needed to compete with the available jobs in the area.  Kimberly says there is a plan called Corona 2020 and that is to create 7,000 new jobs within the city limits by 2020.  This would help to greatly  reduce commuter traffic.  Kimberly has developed weekly and monthly meetings and workshops based on various topics for employers as well as employees.  Thank you Kimberly for an enthusiastic talk. We were all interested in learning about the economic development of our city.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.

Guest Speakers: Jo Dee Slyter and Thoibi Rublaitus | Corona, CA

Our speakers today  March 14th, were Jo Dee Slyter and Thoibi Rublaitus from Corona-Norco Adult Education School. Jo Dee is the principal of Adult Ed. and Thoibi is the vice principal. Both speakers  were very passionate about their jobs. Adults need educational classes but also technical classes.  The adult school mission is to provide adult learners educational opportunities and services, promote transitional readiness, and prepare each individual to become a productive member of the community. They offer English as a second language course. They also offer certification courses. These classes are short term and can be completed in 8 weeks. This is a very doable program. All students that complete the program go either directly into the workforce or they go onto higher education. Thank you both for this informative talk.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.

Guest Speakers: Diane McDonald, Ruth Olson and Jill Wakefield | Corona, CA

Our speakers for March 6th, were Diane McDonald, Ruth Olson and Jill Wakefield. These women along with fellow Rotarian, Elaine Harris, provide support groups at local Corona schools for adolescent grief and loss. Jill Wakefield spoke about how grieving causes some people to get depressed. And in turn can lead to drinking and drugs to deal with their depression. She helps students to process grief through art. She has her students draw a happy memory, or an object to remember their lost loved one in a happy way. She says boys tend to get angry, and girls turn inward. These sessions help them to cope with their grief. At the end of their therapy sessions, they have a party and everyone is asked to bring their loved ones favorite foods.

Ruth Olson is a counselor and  works with Elaine Harris at Santiago High School. She says the kids in the therapy sessions feel connected to each other because they are all experiencing grief. They learn from one another.   They try to get the students to focus on the positive. A grieving student tends to miss a lot of school. The number one reason is due to anxiety. Diane McDonald works at Corona Regional Medical Center hospice program. A typical session group are 8-10 students for 8 weeks of therapy. She asks the students at the end of the sessions if they are helped with the counseling. A lot of the kids only come to school on counseling days because they know they will be seeing their friends in therapy. They learn that their depression is part of the process. They know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.   Diane does a lot of grant writing to get funding for the program. Many thanks to all these women for the invaluable service they provide to our youth who are grieving.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.

Guest Speaker: Kevin Fleming | Corona, CA

Our speaker for Feb. 27th was Dr. Kevin Fleming. His topic was Redefining the Goal: The Changing Climate of Education, Career Readiness, and Economic Development. Dr. Fleming is the Vice President of Norco College. Norco College has been in existence for 28 years. It is no longer a satellite of Riverside Community College. They service about 15,000 students a year. There seems to be a disconnect between formal education and being employable. At Norco College, they believe that work experience, combined with industry credentials, give the students a competitive edge. There are 15 career clusters in the state of California. Norco College offers courses for 10 of these clusters. Norco College also partners with Corona-Norco Unified School District, by providing college credits for students enrolled in their courses while attending the local high schools. There is also a huge savings in first attending Norco College, then transferring to a either a Cal State, UC, or a private institution. Norco College plans on offering a 4 year degree in the near future. Thank you to Dr. Fleming for a very enthusiastic talk.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.