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Placer Town Hall 2018

Thank you to all who participated in the Placer Town Hall event! More than 240 community members, leaders, and stakeholders participated in the forum on the state of our children and their doubled importance for the social and economic future of Placer County.

Placer Town Hall 2018
Placer Town Hall 2018

The POWER PROSPERITY theme challenged us to engage and take action on timely topics impacting the well-being of local children.  At the event, more than 60 questions and comments were submitted to the panelists. These questions and their responses are provided below.

Placer Town Hall 2018  

Q&A Responses

What mechanism exist to gather the local narrative? For encouraging leadership development at the adult level?

Willy Duncan:

While our general focus at Sierra College is to collect and respond to the narrative of our students, the college has been instrumental in collecting the narrative of the Placer County community through theStanding Guard oral history project and the stories of the Sierra Nevada generated  through the Sierra College Press. The Sierra College Press is the first complete academic press operated by a community college in the US. The most recent publication “Gold Rush Stories: 49 Tales of Seekers, Scoundrels, Loss and Luck” was written by long-time Sierra College instructor and historian Gary Noy.

To encourage leadership development at the adult level, in addition to the programs, clubs and activities we offer for our students, Sierra College provides a wide variety of not-for-credit Community Educationcourses in business and management as well as classes for adults through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Veronica Blake:

The Town Hall is one of the ways we are gathering the local narrative. We also have the Placer Collaborative Network (PCN), which brings community leaders together to develop creative solutions forpositive impact and change.

Janice LeRoux:The Placer Dashboard provides a lot of local data on the health and wellbeing of all sectors of Placer County.  This can be a platform for a lot of future discussions and action steps.

What actions can we take to increase statewide spending on youth education? What are the barriers we have to overcome to increase spending?

How can we in CA change the investment in education, given the Prop 13 legacy we still have for capping funding?

Gayle Garbolino-Mojica:

We need voters to prioritize our children.  The two largest sources of revenue for schools is local property tax dollars and the state general fund.  To locally increase funding for schools is dependent upon passing parcel taxes and bond measures.  At the state level, approximately 45% of the general fund is set aside for public schools.  Over 20 years ago, the voters of California passed Proposition 98 which created a funding floor for public education – meaning that the state could not invest less in public education than it did the prior year (with a few exceptions).  However, that funding floor is no where near adequate funding.  We need leaders at the state level to value our children and fund education ABOVE the funding floor.  Without state leaders prioritizing education, many school districts across the state rely upon parcel taxes which increases property to compensate for inadequate state funding.  However, passing parcel taxes in Placer County is often quite difficult.

Is housing going to be more affordable?

Veronica Blake:

We sure hope so. There are a number of tools in the toolbox that need to be employed to make this possible.  The County of Placer is considering many different ways to increase the supply of affordable housing.  Recently the County contracted with BAE Urban Economics Consulting Group to carry out four main tasks: 1) to assess and identify affordable housing needs and development opportunities; 2) make recommendations about any current housing standards and policies that may be hampering development; 3) develop a site evaluation tool to help determine the profitability of potential projects; and, 4) review recent state housing policy changes to ensure Placer’s policy remains consistent. To address and meet the needs of families and support a healthy economy, it is essential for us to identify and remove barriers to affordable housing.

Placer Community Foundation is co-sponsoring a housing forum with the County on March 20, 2018. BAE Urban Economics will cover the basics on small-scale, high-quality infill affordable residential projects that fall on the spectrum between low-density, single-family neighborhoods and large, high-density apartment complexes.  Registration is open for the workshop, which will provide an overview on the design and development of this type of housing, a discussion on the challenges from the developer and community perspectives, and feature some examples of this type of housing. We are inviting property owners, city and county elected officials and staff, planning and municipal advisory commission members, real estate professionals, residential design professionals, builders, funding agencies, housing stakeholders, and residents who are interested in creating these housing types.

Janice, how can community members make a significant impact in the children of our county?

Janice LeRoux:

We can all do something to put children first.   All of us who are of age can vote and advocate with our elected representatives to support and craft family friendly legislation.  

Families thrive when they have

  • concrete support in times of need;

  • social connections;

  • good information about child development; and

  • and their children have access to what they need  grow up healthily – socially, emotionally, cognitively.  

Parents need to be  resilient – have the skills to solve problems and bounce back from challenges.   We all can help parents when they need it.

  • Give of your time or money if possible.  

  • Become a foster parent or child care provider.  The need for these is critical.  

  • Our faith-based communities can really help support families – with food, emergency babysitting, clothes, social support.  

Individually, remember we have all had challenges and give a hand.

  • Help a neighbor with laundry or house cleaning.  Drop off a casserole.  

  • If a dad can’t go to his son’s little league game because he works, go in his stead to let the son know someone cares.  

  • When a mom in a grocery store is trying to cope with a baby and a screaming two year old, offer assistance instead of a snide remark.

  • Block off part of a street or parking lot for kids to ride their bikes safely.   

We can create a community that really does Power Prosperity by supporting our kids and families.

How’s the fast-approaching future of a jobless economy (AI, automation) going to impact this conversation?

Dowell Myers:

Excellent concern, and not one easily addressed. No one has a solid forecast of the job impacts in total, safe to say that it will shift the nature of jobs toward higher-level decision making and customized human attention. In the next two decades, automation/robots will curb the growth of routinized work and make other jobs more productive. Beyond 2040 it all is very uncertain. I maintain that jobs cannot disappear because people will end up doing something and in the interest of society it had best be organized in socially productive activities. The economy requires there be consumers, so people need to have a way to gain money that they can spend to make the economy hum. And government needs there to be taxpayers, which depends on their having a way to gain money as well. In short, society will need to restructure so that our reliance on working age people is allowed to continue. Given all the old people who will require support, we cannot escape our reliance on the young.

Placer ed and first five do great. But so many low income smart kids with great grades are not getting the mentoring they need to go to college and get the high skills for the workforce needs. High school students of this audience needsstrong counseling starting as freshman in HS. And they need funds for college life expenses not just tuition. Would like to know if this is there for truckee tahoe schools? if not consider it.

Willy Duncan:

Strong counseling is critical to developing a college-going mindset for high school students which is why Sierra College has developed specialized Transition Counselors as part of the Sierra Promise program. The Promise program is specifically designed for high school students who may not have viewed college as an option for their future. The Transition Counselors work directly with students, providing information about the college’s programs and services and assisting students with the necessary steps to enroll. They are a key component of the Sierra Promise mission to reduce barriers and be more accessible to students. Right now we have Transition Counselors in thirteen local high school campuses with plans to expand.

We have long recognized that many of our students struggle to make ends meet while trying to complete their educational goals. To assist students, the Sierra College Foundation has a Student Emergency Fund, the Financial Aid office provides Book Vouchers, and the Sierra College Student Association, in partnership with the Sierra College Foundation, recently opened a food pantry which not only provides food to qualifying students, but items such as toothpaste, deodorant and socks.

With regard to the Tahoe-Truckee school district, the Sierra College Tahoe-Truckee campus currently provides a variety of opportunities for middle-school and high-school students to learn about the college by hosting outreach and resource activities. The counselors at the college and the high school work closely together, which is reflected in the active participation of Tahoe-Truckee high school students in the college’s Academic Enrichment program. Over 100 high school students take college level courses at the Sierra College Tahoe-Truckee campus.

Since it is the quality of the teacher in the classroom which most profoundly influences outcome, what is specifically being done by PCOE to improve teacher quality? In other words, it is not just more money, but investing in our educators.

Gayle Garbolino-Mojica:

Not only do we have a teacher storage, but we want to make sure that the teachers we hire are of a high quality.  To that end, the Placer County Office of Education has recently been awarded the ability to train a variety of school personnel, creating a better pipeline of qualified candidates into the profession.  We can no longer solely rely upon institutions of higher education as the sole creators of qualified teaching candidates.

Janice LeRoux:

We have a teacher shortage in early care and education.  And, recognizing that a quality learning experience begins at birth, PCOE and First 5 together are also working to improve the quality of early care and education with the Early Quality Matters program.  State Preschools, Head Start, Early Head Start and private family-home based childcare providers can enrol in this program, which trains staff on best practices in early care and education.  There is no cost to join; please contact Darcy Roenspie at 916-740-1641 or for more information.

Didn’t current baby boomers benefit from Government funded education programs (e.g. GI Bill from 40s & 50s).

Willy Duncan:

Yes! At the time however, it was very controversial and initially only passed by one vote (as noted here). “Some shunned the idea of paying unemployed Veterans $20 a week because they thought it diminished their incentive to look for work. Others questioned the concept of sending battle-hardened Veterans to colleges and universities, a privilege then reserved for the rich.”  In the end, less than 20% of the funds set aside for the unemployment benefit portion of the GI Bill were used, while home ownership and educational attainment soared. It is difficult to imagine this debate taking place in today’s world, particularly since our Sierra College student veterans have been among our most dedicated students! Sierra College was one of the first educational institutions in the state to establish a recognized veterans’ program in the 1950’s. We continue to serve an increasing number of returning servicemen and women today. Many people attribute the post-WWII economic prosperity to the GI Bill.  Whether you agree with that or not, there is something to be said for providing opportunity where it did not exist before.

What incentives are there for wage earners to get a great career when a large percentage of their income is taxed, and there is generally unaffordable health care due to high deductibles and premiums. What’s their motivation to support baby boomers?

Dowell Myers:

Citizens need to have faith in the fairness of our tax and spending system. At present there is very little trust and we need to rebuild that. Everything needs to be balanced and not overly slanted to benefit one group or another.  For example, the recent federal tax law change offers a great tax break to upper middle and higher income people, but we see now in the new federal budget deal that this break comes at the added expense of greater debt that will be passed off to our children when grown. So not only will children assume future burdens of supporting older people but they also will have to pay off past debts that should have been handled by the present generation. That is a lot to ask of our children and widely viewed as unfair among both Republicans and Democrats. Sad to say but it is the best that Washington can do right now.

What programs do we have with utilizing seniors in a volunteer capacity with our youth? And what types of volunteer opportunities are lacking, succeeding?

Veronica Blake:

Sight Word Busters is one example of older adults volunteering in the schools to help young people. Almost every community-based organization has a volunteer program where older adults can offer their time and talent.

Is there a curriculum at any level of education in the County that introduces Entrepreneurship to students?

Willy Duncan:

Yes, Sierra College is currently leading a regional effort (including 15 colleges) to expand interdisciplinary offerings in entrepreneurship with the intent that students from all disciplines should possess an entrepreneurial mindset and entrepreneurial skills (more detailed information is available here). The college is also participating in a statewide Gig Economy pilot to prepare students and residents for work as freelancers and solopreneurs. Additionally, in partnership with Hacker Lab (a maker and co-working space), we offer a variety entrepreneurial activities such as Start-up Hustle and Start-up Weekend.

As a recently retired teacher I am concerned about teacher shortage. Class size, pay and challenging students doesn’t make the profession appealing especially for math and science graduates.

Gayle Garbolino-Mojica:

We need to invest more in our educational programs which means lowering class size and providing necessary student supports (academic, social and behavioral) into our classes.  It is important that we value our teaching staff and pay them accordingly.  If we can’t keep our teaching force competitively paid, we will lose them to other professions.  

Panel… who’s doing good work, leading, in Placer on these issues?

Janice LeRoux:

The leaders at this presentation and in Placer County are working on these – and we can all do more.  As I indicated, while we’re doing well relatively, still 45% of our households can not make ends meet, living below the standard of living for Placer.   This impacts a lot of areas, including health and mental health.  Placer County Public Health has recently released its Community Health Improvement Plan, which works to the most pressing needs of the community.  First 5 Placer is working to address  child abuse and neglect prevention, oral health, maternal mental health, early literacy and prenatal health care.

How do you think the Tax Reform Act will affect California?

Dowell Myers:

My comments on an earlier question addressed the generational inequalities. More specific problems to California is the constriction of our ability to deduct state and local taxes, or our high mortgage interest payments, from our federal taxes. This is unfair, because California is a high income and high tax state that contributes more to the federal treasury than it gets back in federal support. California is also a major engine of national economic prosperity because of our innovative economy. We contribute a lot to the nation and the federal tax law changes penalize us for our above average prosperity and don’t help on our high costs.

Partnerships between employers and educators is essential, as is sustainable funding to support career technical education. How can Placer County be in the forefront of this movement?

Willy Duncan:

Sierra College is fortunate to have a strong partnership with local and regional employers. Over 200 local business and industry representatives serve on the college’s Career and Technical Education advisory boards. The college also provides customized employee training for local businesses (more detailed information is available here).

The State of California has recognized the need to support career technical education to prepare a middle skills workforce for an estimated 1.9 million job openings in middle skills (more than high school and less than a bachelor’s degree). The Strong Workforce Program is a $1 billion statewide investment in workforce development to California community colleges over the next five years. Alignment with employers and labor market information are central to the funding.

How can requiring a 10 percent affordable element in housing development help when it greatly challenges building from a profit margin standpoint. 20% provides access to tax incentives, supports profit margins. Does 10 percent just increase challenges on recouping costs?

Veronica Blake:

We agree there are big challenges and have spoken to many developers about the costs associated with affordable housing.  Many communities in California require a much larger percentage of affordableinclusionary housing.  We don’t have to go far to see how ten percent affordability can be achieved.  Read more about the Roseville program at   It is critical that government, developers and employers come together to tackle this complicated issue around housing. There are other ways to meet our housing needs such as building on surplus government land.

What are some ways that businesses can help invest in our children?

Janice LeRoux:

This would be a great follow up discussion!  Several communities in California have Champions for Children campaign, which provide for businesses to join  indicating their support for children and families.   Some are highlighted for their efforts in supporting children in the community, from donating books for summer reading, to providing on-site childcare.  All businesses can do something.  Allow for breastfeeding and diaper-changing.  Having large enough walkways for strollers, and sidewalks located near public transit routes.  Support your own employees who have children.  I’ve seen grocery stores recently provide free apples and bananas to children; what a great way to promote healthy eating!  Let’s have a community brainstorm around this and honor those businesses who are making a difference.

Veronica Blake:

Offering internships, giving employees time to volunteer in the community, providing financial support to programs that are helping kids, and charitable giving.

Willy Duncan:

At the college level, one of the most important ways businesses can invest in students is by helping us prepare them for the workforce by providing an internship, serving on an advisory committee or volunteering as a mentor. Additionally, businesses may provide student scholarships, support an initiative or participate in a college event. For every $1.00 invested to get a student in and through college, the state’s economy receives a $4.50 net return on investment.  

As the emphasis on older adults aging in place occurs will we continue with our housing crises until baby boomers become our ‘older’ old adults and downsize?

Dowell Myers:

Possibly so. We just need to get the younger generation ready to step into these million dollar homes (or half million). They can’t jump there directly from their 2 BR apartments, so it is essential to help the Millennials build productive housing careers now. At present we are stifling their progress.

I loved coming to this seminar. I met and heard people/organizations that share my beliefs. We are all looking for funding. I’m fortunate to have enough water in my glass. How do we convince those who have a full or overflowing glass to help those that have little to no water in their glass?

Veronica Blake:

Storytelling is key to inspiring philanthropy.  Donors want to understand where the need is and how they can invest their philanthropic dollars to make a difference. They also want the programs they support to report the outcomes. This doesn’t mean we should not take risks, donors also understand that we need to be willing to experiment to have an impact.

Dowell Myers:

Tell them if they invest taxes now in educating our young that it will pay off later—when they really need it—in much better tax resources contributed by those grown young people. And besides, who is going to buy their house at a really good price? Not the government, so private buyers, but who? Someone much younger, like age 30, a child born in 1990 or 2000, depending on what decade when they sell. (I hope we invested well in educating those children then.) We need to cultivate our future home buyers through better education today.

I am convinced we need young children, especially those born after 1985. Why are we exporting those children? Those whose parents made it here “illegally” have contributed to society. I also “think” most of those children are now contributing to society.

Dowell Myers:

My answers to other questions have underscored the value of young people of all origins, especially when we educate them to a higher degree.  Young people have left California in every decade, but we can’t afford to lose any now. We just can’t keep then all penned in, but we are keeping a very large share. If we solved the affordability problem, even half-way, we could keep a lot more. California kids really are attracted to stay because of the many riches of our state (environmental, social, and economic), but we need to increase the housing supply to make room for them all. Housing is our greatest liability, and as our kids settle elsewhere, so do out grandkids. Let’s keep them close to home!

Janice LeRoux:

Share the message. Keep engaged!  We need all of our children, and we need them all to succeed.

I have a 19yr and 22yr, both in a university and a UC college, investing $64k per year. What ratio goes to educate my child (educate vs Admin)?

Willy Duncan:

I can’t speak specifically about institutional costs at the CSU or UC; but, this resource might be helpful. For the Sierra Community College District, which operates campuses in Rocklin, Roseville, Grass Valley and Truckee, 83% of our expenses are for personnel (e.g. faculty, counselors, and support staff) and benefits. The remaining 17% covers operating costs such as utilities, fiscal services, technology support, and general administrative services including executive salaries. (The Sierra College Budget and Financial Statements are available here.)

Dowell Myers:

Not certain of the cost breakdown, but universities aren’t just about classrooms. It’s like running a small city with a police department, health care, sports, theaters, dorms, and more. The higher-ed benefits are so huge to the state’s economy and treasury that the state should pay more of the bill, like they used to before 2008, and not pin all the costs on the parents and students.

I believe immigration can be an important tool towards shoring up Social Security and other type of entitlements including Medicare. Rather that ending the diversity visa lottery and family sponsorship programs, it might be prudent to keep them in place and add merit based immigration focusing on highly educated adults ages 25 to 45. This of course means many more immigrants than some elected officials in Washington, including our President, would care to see.

Given the current state of affairs in Washington DC, how can we convince them that inviting more immigration, not less, is maybe the best way to shore up social security and the future of America?

Dowell, how can Seniors be convinced to support school bonds, taxes?

Dowell Myers:

The people who argue that we don’t need immigrants simply are not informed about the rising senior ratio. They just don’t know how much immigrants help. I’ve testified in Congress to this effect and calculated that our current flow of immigrants helps bear roughly 25% of the costs of the aging problem. That leaves 75% of the problem still uncovered, requiring increased taxes, reduced senior benefits, or greater federal debt. Without immigration we would have to rely more on these undesirable solutions. We can’t stop aging. All our policy solutions need to start from that recognition. So thankful for the children we have, including those of immigrant parents, because we really do not have enough to carry the next generation. Let’s maximize their care and education to develop into their full potential. It’s for the benefit of older people—sounds selfish, I know—but that way they can help us the most later on. And it’s good for the kids too.

I see Dowell’s stats at from the 2010 Census and some from 2014. What type of stats are you using to project Trans up to 2018-19?

Dowell Myers:

The latest detailed data we have now for every county and place larger than 60,000 population is from the 2016 American Community Survey by the Census Bureau. I often keep using the older data unless I see that the newer data would lead to a different conclusion. I also use the population projections by age produced by the Demographic Research Unit of the California State Department of Finance. These go out to 2060, but I think 2030 and 2040 is far enough for our purposes.

How can we help the community at large understand that we all benefit from supporting the least privileged among us? We seem to operate in a competitive, scarcity model.

Veronica Blake:

You can help foster this understanding by sharing the Dowell Myers video with your own networks, volunteering, and making financial contributions to community based organizations supporting youth. There could also be a speakers bureau created to focus on this topic.

Janice LeRoux:

Part of the intent of our town hall event is to link the wellbeing of our children with the wellbeing of the whole community.  We hope this discussion will continue!  Given the amount of attendees and follow up questions, I think that there is energy to make children a priority in Placer’s notion of prosperity.

Dowell, what’s the impact on wages, and therefore taxes paid, of education level?

Dowell Myers:

See the National Academy of Sciences report on economic and fiscal consequences of immigration, which also shows native-born data on wages and taxes by education level: ( See Figures 8-20 and 8-21 by education. Note that first generation = foreign born; second generation = US born children of foreign born; and third generation = US born children of US born parents.

Since costs of mainstream higher education have soared (like housing), can we expect that today’s youth will be affording their “own” education???…Or does the government raise tax $$$ to pay for them?

Willy Duncan:

While it is true there have been substantial rate increases in tuition for CSUs and UCs, the net cost to students has varied depending on household income (according to the Public Policy Institute of California; more detailed information regarding student costs for higher education in California may be found here.)  The Sierra College $46 per unit rate has remained the same for the last six years. California Community college tuition is set by the legislature and it is currently the lowest in the US. This is reflective of the legislature’s efforts to preserve access to higher education as outlined in the state’s Master Plan for Higher Education. Resident fees to attend a California community college are approximately $1,380 per year, which is a bargain when compared to the annual tuition at a California State University ($6,881 per year) or a University of California ($13,900 per year). Think of the savings if your student starts at a community college and takes advantage of one of our guaranteed transfer programs!

Placer County is fortunate to have great schools, but we know not all students prosper. What is happening to help those students who aren’t as hopeful about their future?

Gayle Garbolino-Mojica:

Every school in Placer County has plans in place to identify and support children who suffer academically, socially and behaviorally.  We have adopted Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) which utilizes a data-based problem solving model that focuses on differentiated learning, student-centered learning, individualized student needs, and the alignment of systems necessary for all students’ academic, behavioral, and social success. Asking the right questions, collecting and analyzing data to define and analyze problems, and skillfully implementing and evaluating solutions; this system allows our schools to reach students who might otherwise be falling under the radar. When MTSS is effective, it helps our school teams address the issues that might otherwise go undetected, to ensure we are reaching every child. We also have different learning day models that best fit a variety of students. In addition to comprehensive schools, we have independent learning options, as well as online-based courses. We also have a strong career technical education program, to appeal to those who might be more hands-on, and who may or may not be college-bound. We owe it to them to provide opportunities to help them get a jump on a viable career.

What is being done to make employment in CA more attractive.? Labor laws, unemployment insurance, and taxes make it very expensive to employ people of the next generation. With entitlement programming is there a real incentive for the next gen to work?

Willy Duncan:

Yes, California does make it expensive to employ people. Last year, California ranked #47 (out of 50) in Regulatory Environment and #44 in Business Costs. On the plus side, California also ranked #2 in Economic Climate and #3 in Growth Prospects (see ranking here). There are several organizations, such as Greater Sacramento, focused on reducing roadblocks for new businesses. The County and City offices of economic development are regularly engaged in discussions on this topic and the local Chambers of Commerce also advocate for businesses. These organizations recognize the importance of including education (Sierra College) in the ongoing dialogue since labor supply and workforce development is an integral part of the equation.

With regard to incentives for the next gen to work, it is estimated 80% of California community college students hold a job while attending college. We know this is part of our student profile. A majority of our students are self-supporting and have no choice but to work. While we admire their grit, we also knowresearch increasingly shows a strong correlation between full-time enrollment and student success.

Has there been any consideration in a Placer impact investing campaign?

Veronica Blake:

This could certainly be something to explore for Placer County. Placer Community Foundation could look into it if enough donors were interested.

Are illegal immigrants estimated in your stats about immigrants?

Dowell Myers:

Yes, I include all foreign born, whether legal or illegal. They are not distinguished in census data, because if you asked, “what’s your visa status, are you illegal,” people wouldn’t respond and you would get an undercount of the number of immigrants we really have. The major distinction is not legal status but how educated immigrants are, or their children, because better-educated people earn higher incomes and contribute much more in taxes. (see more details on this in the answer to a later question)

Education is one thing, but employability is another. How do we make sure everyone has an opportunity to succeed in today’s job market?

Willy Duncan:

In addition to technical skills, we consistently hear from our business and industry partners about the importance of soft skills. To that end, we have integrated essential employability skills in many of our programs through the New World of Work. The New World of Work emphasizes the 21st Century Skills of adaptability, analysis/solution mindset, collaboration, communication, digital fluency, entrepreneurial mindset, empathy, resilience, self-awareness and social/diversity awareness. We are pleased to report one of the co-founders of the New World of Work, Ms. Amy Schulz, is now the Dean our Division of Business and Technology. Sierra College also provides internships for students to gain work experience and other career exploration opportunities through Career Connections.

How is the business community connected by offering good paying jobs for our “homegrowns” to return and live/work in Placer County?

Willy Duncan:

We have a great mix of employers providing livable wage jobs in Placer County. In fact, job growth rate was 4% in 2016, with the largest employment gains in professional and business services (according to the Placer County Economic Forecast). The top 5 employers in the region include Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente, and Hewlett Packard.

Sierra College graduates are routinely hired by local employers, particularly in the fields of Nursing, Fire Technology and Administrative of Justice. In our experience, connecting students with our industry partners and local businesses is an important step to future employment.

Topher Matson here from Boys & Girls Club of Placer County. We agree with Dr. Myers\u2019 assessment and the need to invest in our youth. We and other nonprofits offer a critical service to young people and families with no local government support. We offer an irreplaceable benefit to the families we serve but do it all alone. Want to invite us to the table and hear our thoughts? Want to help us meet our budgets and serve more kids? Thanks!

Janice LeRoux:

I agree that this is an “all hands on deck” endeavor; government, non-profits, businesses and foundations pulling resources to make this happen.  Our non-profits and faith community are critical to the success of children and families.

Veronica Blake:

Always happy to learn more about how our local organizations are helping our youth. The Boys and Girls Club is terrific.

I appreciate the efforts that Sierra has put into the Promise program. What can Sierra do to keep our students from having to attend career programs in Sacramento (for example- To ARC for superior auto, construction, and electronic programs). Can we help more students who are not transferring to 4 year colleges by offering more certificate programs? We’re building many homes in Placer County and not providing educational programs to support it.

Willy Duncan:

The focus of the California Community College Strong Workforce Initiative is to increase the quantity and quality of career technical education programs. Since career technical programs are often expensive due to the cost of equipment and/or the low student/instructor ratio (e.g. nursing), the initiative emphasizes regional collaboration and coordination for more efficient use of resources. To that end, the initiative is being implemented through seven regional consortiums. Sierra College is a member of the North/Far North consortium with seven other community college districts. The North/Far North Regional Plan (which may be viewed here) was developed with input from K-12 education, workforce and economic development organizations, and a broad spectrum of employers. In addition to creating new certificate programs, existing programs are continually reviewed and updated to keep pace with industry standards.Sierra College does offer a degree and certificate program in Construction Technology and in Energy Technology.

What do these demographics look like worldwide? How does the US compare?

Dowell Myers:

Fertility is low and aging high throughout the developed world, but the US is faring a little better (in part because of our immigrants). The worst cases are in Japan and Korea who lack immigration. Their birth rates are about 1.2 babies per woman (2.1 is the replacement level). Japan’s’ population is already starting to shrink in total and has a very high ratio of old people. Europe is also in poor shape, with fertility of about 1.5 babies per woman. Countries like Germany are actively trying to recruit immigrants for that reason, but it is proving socially divisive because they were not built as a nation of immigrants and they have poor support for assimilation, unlike the US, which is generally among the most successful.

I agree the younger population is a great revenue stream. But it’s not just throwing money at the situation. Accountability within the organizations assisting this population is paramount. Also what about organizations assisting this population is paramount. Also what about blue collar jobs I.e. plumbers and electricians? These vocations need to be resurrected in the schools. College is not for all. Signed: recently retired California Department of Education Management

Willy Duncan:

Regarding the need to resurrect vocational training, Sierra College offers over 70 certificate programs with the most recent addition last fall in Advanced Manufacturing for CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machinists. Mechatronics and Welding are two of our most popular career technical education programs. We hear students in these programs are frequently offered jobs before they complete their program.

How do we help bridge the divide for fiscal conservatives who push back against publicly-funded programs? (Especially as it relates to the mismanagement of funds at the State level that have burned the trust of taxpayers.) Shanti Landon

Janice LeRoux:

As I mentioned briefly, realignment of funds from the State to the local level make these discussions possible and potentially really productive.  Now is the perfect time to act, as we have the ability to consider how to use resources best and creatively in a collaborative manner.   School districts have much greater flexibility can consider expanding services to younger children, helping make kids ready to succeed before they enter school.   First 5 and the Mental Health Services Act (the Campaign for Community Wellness) are two programs funded by the State with complete local control.  These dollars are distributed to programs addresses the unique needs of Placer County.

Gayle, if money were no problem, what would be the first three changes you’d make?

Gayle Garbolino-Mojica:

I would first fund every school in the county to provide the necessary support services to meet the needs of students – increase nursing, social workers, school psychologist services to every school.  Secondly, I would reduce all class sizes to 15 students per class – research has shown that true increase in student achievement is shown when there are 15 or less students in a class.  Those gains drop significantly as we rise to 20 students.  Some of of middle schools and high schools have class sizes in the 30’s.  And lastly, I would invest in more career technical education classes and visual and performing art programs.  We need to realize that schools today need to be prepared to meet the demands and needs of all students and that our school days reach beyond core academic classes.  Creating more classes that are meaningful to students will result in students being better engaged and learning.

I would argue that the largest gap between contributing kids and home buyers is access to post secondaryeducation. Millennials cannot get out from underneath student loans to become a value to society. How can we address this growing issue?

Willy Duncan:

The student loan debt issue is a growing concern with no easy answer. Fortunately, less than 20% of community college students take out student loans and of those students less than half take the maximum allowable. Attending a community college for the first two years of postsecondary education is great way to keep debt low. California students can save an estimated $18,000 by attending a community college prior to transferring to a four-year.

There have been efforts in some states to establish protections for student relative to loan debt. For example, Connecticut established a borrower’s bill of rights, student loan ombudsman and mandatory financial literacy courses. Other states are working on loan forgiveness programs or are regulating loan providers and ensuring loan terms are transparent and communicated regularly.

Is there a focus currently in Placer to prepare our youth to consider careers in the much needed Senior Health Care or Geriatric related or specific fields?

Willy Duncan:

The Sierra College Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program prepares students for employment providing direct patient care in long term care facilities. The program was expanded last year to the Nevada County Campus where classes will be held at Golden Empire Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Grass Valley. While not specific to the geriatric field, the Sierra College Nursing program is one of our highest demand programs. In addition to an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), we offer an ADN to BSN (Bachelor of Science Nursing degree) pathway in collaboration with Sac State.

My college age daughter is looking to settle outside of California when she graduates because of job opportunities and housing costs. How do we keep our young adults in Placer and in California?

Janice LeRoux:

This is our “all hands on Deck” response, which involves a cross-sector community conversation, including the County, developers and businesses.  We’re fortunate here to have a lot of must-haves already:  low crime, great schools, abundant recreation, good climate, good medical care, entertainment. These attract workers and businesses.  Affordable housing and transportation are critical concerns, also are supportsfor young adults who want to have families here.  Family friendly environments and policies will draw and keep young adults here.    

My brother, David, was born and educated in California. He got a job at Intel in Folsom making over $100K, but because there are so few upward mobility careers in El Dorado/Placer/Sacramento counties, he moved to Austin, Texas for better job opportunities. If we educate kids here but they leave to find gainful employment how do address that? – Dr. Mike Granchukoff, William Jessup University and Sierra College Alumni

Young professionals go (move) where there are quality well-paying jobs. What is Placer county doing to attract businesses and high paying careers to attract young professionals? -Dr. Mike Granchukoff, William Jessup University and Sierra College Alumni

We can grow them but they may leave. How are we addressing CA retention of these educated youth?

Willy Duncan:

We are fortunate that the top employers (e.g. Sutter Health, Kaiser, Placer County, Hewlett Packard) in Placer County do provide livable-wage employment opportunities. As a co-chair of the Greater Sacramento Competitiveness Council and a member of the Placer County Economic Development Board, we are focused on bringing quality jobs to our area. As mentioned in a previous response, the first step in keeping talent local may be to encourage HS graduates to attend local colleges.

It is true Placer County does not have the high tech environment of Silicon Valley or Austin, Texas (yet). We also do not have the accompanying high cost of living. Even our neighbors in Reno, Nevada, are complaining about the increase in housing costs due to the arrival of Tesla. While that may be viewed favorably to those who are already homeowners, it can make it difficult to attract a younger workforce.

People chose to live and work in Placer County because it is a great community. It has ranked as one of the healthiest counties in the state, tops in outdoor recreational activities, with safe neighborhoods and excellent schools. To reiterate the message in Dowell Myer’s presentation at the Placer Townhall, a commitment is needed to ensure every child/student reaches their full potential and acquire the skills, abilities, and opportunity for success. Our quality of life depends on it!  

France gives stay at home services with visits and shopping and laundry services to new parents! Also some European countries give stay at home money to new moms. It enhances the infants development and decreases the demand in day care. Infants thrive if they can stay with mom. Do we have this in our county?

Janice LeRoux:

Many countries have policies and practices supporting those who are pregnant and newly parenting. While there is much to be done in this realm in the United States,  the California Paid Family Leave provides up to 6 weeks of partial pay to employees who take time off from work to bond with a new child (among other things).   It does not provide for home visiting services.  However, in Placer County, families can receive home visiting related to child development and parenting.  Please contact First 5 Placer for more information.

What is California’s historical spending per student rank vs other states? 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000?

Dowell Myers:

I do not have the historical figures. 1970 or 1980 would be very interesting to see.

What are the specific skills and level of education needed to be a preschool professional … how about prenatal Care Professional?

Janice LeRoux:

Thank you for your interest in becoming a preschool teacher!  We have a shortage in the early education workforce, especially when it comes to those caring for infants and toddlers.  There are about 700 private providers in Placer County, making up a significant small business community.  If you are interested in becoming a provider and/ or setting up a business, please contact Laura Baber at the Placer County Office of Education, which handles all licensing orientations for early childhood educators:  916-740-1642   

Regarding prenatal care, I’d suggest talking to a counselor at one of the colleges for opportunities.   We need obstetricians, physician assistants and also psychiatrists and psychologists specializing in early child development and women’s mental health.

Who is responsible for the medi-calissue, and what specifically can be done about it?

Janice LeRoux:

To adequately answer this question would require an ongoing conversation with many different perspectives, including at least hospitals, MediCal managed care plans, community health clinics, OB groups, patients (especially Latinas), and our Public Health programs. At the State level, the California Department of Health Care Services, who is ultimately responsible for MediCal, recently extended the contract with Anthem and California Health and Wellness Plan (owned by Centene) for another 5 years with no input from the counties. Neither Sutter nor Kaiser contract with these plans. Our local Public Health Officer and Director of Health and Human Services have reported about the lack of OBs in Placer for years, beginning with the closure of the birthing center at Auburn Faith. But they have made very little headway on this issue. Chapa De and Western Sierra have been very proactive in addressing this issue by beginning to provide some OB pre and post-natal care into their primary care clinics. (But, still, deliveries only at Mercy.) Discussions about this issue and options are underway; access for Medi-Cal patients to obstetricians, pre and post-natal care and delivery services in-county is critical.

So I understand many of our kids go away to college and don’t return. What do we do about this? Is one answer to have great colleges here attended by outsiders, so they might choose to stay and work here?

Willy Duncan:

Our perspective is unique in that we hear constantly from local Sierra College students who are employed in the area or have returned to the area for work. Many are employed by agencies or organizations who partner with the college, such as Police and Fire Departments. It is reflective of the strong relationship we have with our business and industry partners and of being responsive to workforce needs.

It is not unusual for graduates to find work close to their alma mater since good colleges and universities provide recruiting and networking opportunities. There are many reasons why a student chooses to attend an out-of-state college, such as cost, campus climate, legacy, or just a sense of adventure. We are fortunate to have excellent post-secondary education options here in Placer County and close by in the Sacramento area. Perhaps the first step in keeping talent local is encouraging students to attend a local college.

Is the chamber on board with this workforce issue? Are we working together with all youth development agencies to help all our kids?

Veronica Blake:

Yes, there are multiple chambers in Placer.  Depending on their membership, they focus on workforce in different ways.

What about the impacts to the planet of the current population? Do we need to reverse some of those impacts?

Dowell Myers:

It would definitely help if we could cut back the world population by half. Okay, who wants to volunteer? 📷 The trouble is that we already have so many people already born and living long. We need to sustain a strong younger generation just to balance and support the older. Fortunately, the excessively high birth rates of the past are being cut back in most of the globe and we are starting to get a better balance of young to old. So the world population is slowing its growth. We just can’t cut back what we already have.

What are your thoughts on school choice?

Gayle Garbolino-Mojica:

We have a variety of public school options available to residents of Placer County.  This includes traditional public schools, public schools that offer independent study and online learning and various charter schools that educate students in a classroom setting, home setting or in an online setting.  These offerings allow all residents an opportunity to select the best option for their children.

Since immigrants are often viewed as a financial burden on society, when does this change and how do we know that they are worth the cost now for a future benefit later?

Dowell Myers:

Generally speaking—because we are running a deficit in the federal government—all people cost more than they pay into the system. However, that could be rebalanced at some future time. The key question is who contributes more or less than average. That depends on generation and education. Immigrants who come after age 20 don’t cost us for their education, while every child born here does. However, the more education children get the higher are their tax contributions later. The consensus is that people with higher education pay back much more in added taxes than they cost the public for their education. The data from the National Academy of Sciences show that the children of immigrants pay back much more than either their parents or the children of native-born parents.

Can Placer County schools start identifying kids of veterans and homeless veterans so that we can invest monies into them that has been set aside for these families?

Gayle Garbolino-Mojica:

Yes, after the town hall, we made this request to our internal department to see if we have data on this. If not, we will try to start tracking this, if this information is available and known to us. Thanks to this town hall, we learned of resources that are available for this population of students in our county and would love to see how we can work together on this in the future.

Dowell, how do you define the doubled “importance” of children born between 2005-2020? Is that a mathematical measure of how each birth impacts the senior-citizen ratio?

Dowell Myers:

The calculation is as follows:

Assigned at birth, the Children’s Index of Critical Importance is based on the senior ratio (number of seniors per 100 age 25-64) expected at the time the child reaches age 25, divided by the senior ratio in 2010 (which pertains to kids born in 1985 and age 25 in 2010). So California’s senior ratio of 42 in 2040 (pertaining to kids born in 2015 and currently age 3), if divided by the senior ratio of 21 in 2010, means that recent newborns will be fully twice as critically important to society when they grow up. With growthin seniors, today’s children assume critical importance due to the added economic and social weight carried by our children when grown. The Index is just a rough calculation. Every kid therefore has to be twice as productive, implying greater care and education in preparation than was required before.

How do we, or can we get a copy of Dowel Myers PowerPoint presentation?

Can the slide show be shared please?

Is it possible to get the Sheriff Bonner Placer Co video? I’ve already found the other one on YouTube. Thank you for a great Town Hall.

Janice LeRoux:

Here is the Dowell Myers video that was shown at the event.

The Placer Town Hall 2018 event recording will includes the slide deck presentation that Dowell delivered at the event. This video is being developed and will be available soon.

I like the idea of an umbrella statement backed by a campaign. Moving forward, will this panel lead that effort so all of Placer gets the message?

Stay tuned.

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