California’s Social Priorities

A new report, California’s Social Priorities, from Chapman University’s Center for Demographics and Policy. The report is authored by David Friedman and Jennifer Hernandez.

“California’s policies, and regulatory and legal costs and uncertainties, tend to divert thousands of middle class jobs even in emerging green industries (including those not requiring high school diplomas) to other locations, including the Tesla battery manufacturing facility, which moved to Nevada. The loss of projects that help achieve important environmental objectives, create high quality jobs, and comply with California’s strict environmental and public health protection mandates, continues to occur in part because well-funded special interest groups ranging from business competitors to labor unions file “environmental” lawsuits as leverage for achieving narrow political or pecuniary objectives rather than to protect the environment and public health.”

Read the full report (pdf). This is the social and political environment that the ERC is trying to create jobs in Nevada County.  A Summary of the report can be found at the New Geography. Here are the top two:

California’s grade 9-12 dropout rates remain high and, contrary to national trends, the state’s population of adults with less than a high school education significantly increased from 1970 and currently accounts for nearly 20% of the state’s adults, second highest in the nation. The number of Americans with less than a high school education fell by over 23 million during 1970-2012, and rose in only four states: California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. California’s net increase—over 515,000 adults—was greater than the increase in the other three states combined (409,000).

The state’s population of high school and community college graduates grew much slower than in the rest of the country, and the population of 4-year or more college educated adults barely kept pace with average national growth rates. In contrast, Texas, also a large, high-immigration state, has added high school and community college-level educated adults more rapidly than the national average since 1970, while the number of adults with less than a high school education declined.

Companies move to a community that has an educated work force that is surplus to current industry needs.  It is almost impossible to create that work force in Nevada County unless the community can attack our education problems and succeed.

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About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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