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County workforce agency restructured into new organizations
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The Board of the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance officially disbanded on Monday, with two new entities taking its place, one as a private enterprise and the other as a public entity.

The Stanislaus Business Alliance will be a privately led organization, while the new Stanislaus County Workforce Development Board will operate under the county government’s umbrella.

The move is necessary to comply with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act  federal mandate that career services be contracted out to private vendors. The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors and the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance Board passed a motion to dissolve the organization on June 30, 2016 and transfer all assets to the Stanislaus Business Alliance.

The Stanislaus Business Alliance will be doing business as Opportunity Stanislaus, a five-year campaign that operates with an overall goal of improving the quality of life in Stanislaus County. The focus will be on economic development, workplace innovation, workforce development, and messaging as it pertains to strengthening the local and regional economies. The Stanislaus Business Alliance intends to compete with others for workforce contracts from the new county workforce development board.

The campaign, which was publicly launched last month, is at 83 percent of its $5 million fundraising target.

“This is the dawning of a new era of economic development in Stanislaus County,” said Stanislaus Business Alliance Chief Executive Officer David White. “We are very excited to see the private sector take a greater role in what we see as an upward trajectory of commerce across all industries in the county.”

The Stanislaus Business Alliance will be led by a newly appointed board consisting of: James Brenda of JKB Energy and JKB Living; Sean Carroll of Ross F. Carroll, Inc.; Richard Coffey of E. & J. Gallo; David Darmstandler of Datapath, Inc.; Lynn Dickerson of the Gallo Center for the Arts; Joe Duran of Self-Help Federal Credit Union; Stephen Endsley of Endsley Companies; Brian Fiscalini of Fiscalini Cheese Company; Jeff Foster of Logic; Jeff Grover of Silicon Industrial Contractors; Ron Jackson of Beard Land Improvement Company; Warren Kirk of Doctors Medical Center; Darin Kumar of Memorial Medical Center; Chris Lehikainen of Stanislaus Food Products; Dillon Olvera of Innov8 Partners; Frank Otis of Crystal Creamery; Judy Pallios of Modesto Commerce Bank; and Paul Van Konynenburg of Britton Konynenburg Partners. Out of the board, an executive committee comprised of Grover (Chairman), Otis (Vice Chairman), Van Konynenburg (Secretary), and Jackson (Treasurer), Coffey, Lehikainen, and Pallios was selected.

“We always tried to run the Alliance as a business-led model for workforce training and business attraction but we were never able to shake the perception that we were run by government,” said Bill O’Brien, former vice chair of the now defunct Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance. “Now with a new and completely separate organization led solely by business, our county will see increased economic and job growth.”

The board is anticipated to expand, growing to as many as 25 members in all. The new organization will take effect on July 1.

“I believe the new organization is the right path for the Alliance,” said outgoing chairman of the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance and new board member of Stanislaus Business Alliance Jeff Foster. “The Alliance has been committed to helping businesses by providing services that enhance the business climate. Partnering with local business and having business leaders committed to the strategic direction of the Alliance can only fuel a greater synergy between businesses and the Alliance.”

On the government side, the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors will appoint a new Stanislaus County Workforce Development Board in June. The Workforce Development Board will be unaffiliated with the Stanislaus Business Alliance and will be the entity responsible for selecting contractors to perform one career and business services. The Workforce Development Board will have up to 25 appointed members, most of whom will come from the business sector, but will also include labor, education and community representatives.

Individuals interested in joining the Workforce Development Board can find an application and questionnaire at