Leaders in the Central Valley see technology as the tool that can improve the economy and get more people working in Merced County and surrounding areas.
On Tuesday, Assemblymember Adam Gray, D-Merced, and Senator Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, will be talking to tech leaders, agriculture and local workers about how they can prosper in an economy that's technology driven. Officials at TechNet and CALinnovates will host the Inaugural Valley to Valley Forum at Merced College to show how technology is changing the work life in the Valley.
"I think there is a merging connection between our Central Valley and the Silicon Valley and the tech community in the bay area," Gray told the Sun-Star in a phone interview Monday.
There are many people who commute from the Central Valley to the bay area for work and many people in the bay area struggling to get by because of the high cost of living, Gray said, and railways and transits that are in works make the Valley "the right environment to create the jobs here. "
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Bringing in more tech-based jobs can decrease the high unemployment rates in Merced County, Gray said, and as the economy improves education will as well.
“This event opens a much-needed dialogue between Silicon Valley and the Central Valley,” said Andrea Deveau, TechNet’s vice president of state policy and politics in a statement.
As technology continues to develop there’s hope that UC Merced, Stanislaus State and Fresno State students will have opportunities to stay in these areas and work, said Mark Hendrickson, community and economic development director for Merced County.
“Technology is going to drive innovation and require us to have a workforce that's capable of meeting needs for tomorrow,” Hendrickson said.
It’s going to be important for K-12 schools, Merced College and UC Merced to help prepare people for the workforce that's developing in Merced County.
The forum runs from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Merced College Business Resource Center.