Focusing on health care and education

sharon calone
Sharon Alley Calone

What a decade!

This month marks the 10th year the Central Valley Business Journal has been publishing in its current form. With a brief interruption, that makes 25 years total. That’s 120 issues in which we’ve turned the spotlight on the business leaders in our region who are innovating, driving our economy and putting people to work.

Every month it is exciting to learn about business owners who see a need in our community and figure out a way to fill it.

Our current issue is no different. This month we’re looking at health care, one of the leading employment sectors in our region. One of the biggest challenges health care faces in our area is keeping top professionals here.

You’ll see how Health Plan of San Joaquin is helping educate the next generation of health care workers with scholarships.

Businesses are also taking a proactive approach to keeping employees healthy. San Joaquin Regional Transit District explained their employee wellness program to us. The program has already reduced its percentage of overweight employees and lowered cholesterol levels.

Our cover story looks at why the business community benefits when we make sure our very youngest children learn to read.

When children can’t read at grade-level by third grade, they are at risk of falling so far behind they may never catch up. How will we build the educated workforce businesses need if our children get off to a bad start?

The Beyond Our Gates project at the University of the Pacific is working to address that. Our story contains suggestions for business leaders can follow if they want to support early childhood education.

In Stanislaus County, the county office of education, Modesto Junior College and CSU Stanislaus have announced a new initiative to coordinate so that students as early as middle school get on the path to higher education. That can mean vocational school, a two-year degree or a university degree.

We met an amazing young man, George Youkhanna, who came from Iraq with his family in 2010. As you can imagine, coming from that war-torn area, he hadn’t enjoyed a steady school life.

He arrived in the Modesto area far behind other boys his age. However, with help from teachers and counselors, George made it into the county’s Comeback Kids program. This spring George earned enough credits to graduate. He just needs to pass the high school exit exam to get his diploma.

George is proof that with the right help and hard work, you can achieve your dream.

I’m looking forward to starting summer off with a bang. Fourth of July fireworks traditions are returning in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.


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