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 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.

Guest Speaker: Dr. Bryan Reece | Corona, CA

On Wed. August 8th. Dr. Bryan Reece was our guest speaker. Also in attendance was Kevin Fleming, Vice President of Strategic Development for Norco College. Dr. Reece is the President of Norco College. Dr. Reece has a lot of passion for students and for the future vision of his school. A lot of high school graduates want to go to college. He wants to make room for all of them. Our region is growing and there are a lot of students that commute. These are topics that Dr. Reece discussed at our meeting, Economic Development: They would like to build a Photonics Center. These are high developed lasers. Workforce Development: To provide training and raise the skill level of employees, Community Development: We need to raise the Arts in the area. They are starting a partnership with the Corona Symphony. And they are working on curbing recidivism. They are going to offer an AA degree to incarcerated persons. Veterans Education: They are building a Veterans Resource Center so veterans that have had similar experiences can find each other and help one another. Academic Development:  Starting a dual enrollment program where the local high school seniors can also be enrolled at Norco College. When they graduate high school, they have also completed their first year of college and can begin their second year. He  would like to bring a BA presence to Norco College. It was very interesting to hear about all of these exciting ideas and programs that Dr. Reece has either implemented or would like to see implemented.

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