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Special Ceremony Recognizes 100 Native American Students for Academic Success Amid Low National Graduation Rates

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San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, University of California, Riverside, University of Redlands and California State University, San Bernardino honor graduates in a unique cultural ceremony, featuring a traditional hoop dance performed by a World Champion

 

HONORING

ACHIEVEMENT: The challenges encountered by Native American students are unique, both academically and socially. But the journey to overcome these challenges is one not traveled alone. To support the learning and success of local Native American students – from kindergarten to college graduation – the Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health, Inc. Native American Resource Center is hosting the 8th annual Native American Student Recognition Dinner at the National Orange Show. This celebration is made possible through partnership with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and area schools including University of Redlands, University of California, Riverside (UCR), California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), Claremont Graduate University, Noli Indian School, San Bernardino City Unified School District and Banning Unified School District. Joshua Gonzales, director of Native American Student Programs at UCR, will serve as the event’s emcee.

The highlight of the evening is the special celebratory entertainment that commemorates Native traditions. Terry Goedel, who has been performing the Native American Hoop Dance for over 45 years and is a seven-time World Hoop Dance Champion, will perform a traditional hoop dance with his daughter. In addition, the Bearspring Dance Group will perform a pow wow exhibition dance.

More than 400 people are expected to attend, including San Manuel Tribal members, local dignitaries, parents, educators and graduating seniors.

LOCATION: NATIONAL ORANGE SHOW – RENAISSANCE ROOM 930 South Arrowhead Avenue, Gate 9 • San Bernardino, CA 92408

DATE/TIME: Wednesday, May 8, 2019 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

MEDIA INTERVIEWS/VISUALS:    

*Traditions: Speak with tribal educators and leaders about the culmination of the Native American and educational partnership to support Native American student’s education.

*Honor: San Manuel Tribal members and representatives will commemorate the success of parents and students working together. Interview opportunities with educators, resource program managers and university administrators.

*Rejoice: Celebrate the hard work of the 2019 Native American graduates. Interview opportunity with graduating seniors.

*Dance: Photo/video opportunity of seven-time World Hoop Dance Champion Terry Goedel and pow wow exhibition dancing from Bearspring Dance Group.

 

About the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, Calif. The Serrano Indians are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys and mountains who share a common language and culture. The San Manuel reservation was established in 1891 and recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government. As an indigenous community the origins and history of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians stem from our relationship with the land and to all who share it. Since ancient times we have expressed ourselves through a culture of giving. Today, San Manuel is able to answer the call of Yawa’ (Serrano word meaning “to act on one’s beliefs”) through partnerships with charitable organizations. We have drawn upon our history, knowledge, expertise and cultural values to direct our philanthropic giving in our local region, as well as to Native American causes nationwide. For more information, visit http://www.sanmanuel-nsn.gov.

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

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Business

IE Chamber and AmCham Peru Forge Strategic Partnership for Business and Youth Development

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Building Global Bridges: IERCC and AmCham Peru Unite for Cross-Continental Business Growth and Youth Empowerment

On December 12, 2023, a landmark event unfolded as the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC) took a significant step in expanding its international influence by forging a strategic partnership with The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Peru. In a meeting that symbolized the dawn of a new era in cross-continental collaboration, Eddy Sumar, MBA, CCE, CICE, an esteemed member and Chair of Education and Youth Skills Development at IERCC, presented Mr. Aldo R. Defilippi, the Executive Director of AmCham Peru, with the Certificate of Honorary Global Member.

This partnership marks IERCC’s foray into the Latin American continent, signifying a major stride in its mission to build collaborative networks that facilitate market entry and growth for US and Peruvian companies. IERCC President and CEO Edward Ornelas, Jr. commented on this milestone, stating, “This partnership with AmCham Peru is a significant achievement for IERCC. It represents our dedication to fostering international business relations and our commitment to the growth of businesses in both regions. We are excited to embark on this journey, offering our members unprecedented access to new markets and opportunities.”

The collaboration between IERCC and AmCham Peru is set to open new avenues for businesses in both regions. It will enable members of AmCham Peru to tap into the vast resources and connections that IERCC offers, thereby facilitating smoother market entry and business expansion.

A key focus of the partnership is the development of youth and education programs. During the meeting, Mr. Aldo R. Defilippi was introduced to various initiatives led by IERCC aimed at empowering young entrepreneurs and business leaders of tomorrow. Further emphasizing this commitment, Mr. Defilippi received a copy of “The Hidden Dreams,” authored by Eddy Sumar, which explores the importance of identifying and pursuing the aspirations of young individuals.

Mr. Ornelas, Jr. further elaborated on the significance of this aspect, stating, “Our focus on youth and education is a testament to our belief that the future of business lies in the hands of the next generation. By aligning with AmCham Peru, we are not just expanding our business network, but also cultivating a fertile ground for young minds to grow, innovate, and lead.”

IERCC’s partnership with AmCham Peru is a forward-thinking move, indicative of its commitment to nurturing a global business community that supports both immediate business interests and long-term developmental goals. This collaboration is set to be a beacon of innovation, growth, and shared success, benefiting businesses and young leaders in both the United States and Peru.

As the Inland Empire business community looks on, the IERCC and AmCham Peru collaboration promises to usher in a new era of international business cooperation, bridging continents and cultures for mutual prosperity.

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Business

Beacon Economics Sets the Record Straight on the UCR Business Center Controversy

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Beacon Economics Sets the Record Straight on the UCR Business Center Controversy

By Ken Alan, Forensic Business Journalist

A series of articles reported by the Los Angeles Times in February and April stated some University of California faculty members were “Raising the alarm about a research center affiliated with UC Riverside that they say uses corporate funding for reports ‘attacking proposals to improve the lives of working Californians.’”

The articles cite an “Open letter to the UC Regents seeking investigation of UC Riverside — Beacon Economics relationship,” signed by 56 faculty members at UC Riverside, Berkeley and Davis, along with 44 graduate students. Most signatories appear to be humanities studies faculty with credentials in media studies, music, history and political science. The Times failed to question why faculty with more relevant credentials in business, economics and research appear to have only three signatures. 

The story states the letter to UC Regents was circulated by UCR Professor of Media & Cultural Studies Dylan Rodriguez, whose biography can be found here: profiles.ucr.edu/app/home/profile/dylanr.

No questions were raised about how the signatures were gathered at three participating schools and why closer Southern California campuses, such as UCLA or UC Irvine, weren’t included.

None of the articles explain why this petition was sent directly to UC Regents without first going through proper channels at UCR. “If there was some true complaint about the quality of our research, there is a system within UC Riverside to deal with that,” said Dr. Christopher Thornberg, principal at Beacon Economics. “There is an administrative office that handles complaints. And if they really thought that our research was substandard, they could and should have gone through that particular office. They didn’t. They went on this petition campaign. Most of the conversation is about how our answers are morally incorrect. And that’s a really slippery slope.”

The letter to UC Regents and ensuing negative press resulted in the UCR School of Business and Beacon Economics severing their partnership after seven years. “Obviously, the relationship between UC Riverside and Beacon was mutually beneficial. The school got a lot out of it,” said Thornberg. “UC Riverside is a fantastic institution. It is a reflection of what UC was built to be. Technically speaking, the center belongs to the school. It would be hard for me to see them continuing it. One of the biggest problems with these kind of centers is you have to have a motivated leader.”

Most of the controversy seems to stem from an August 2022 Beacon-UCR Research Report entitled “How Increases in Worker Compensation Could Affect Limited-Service Restaurant Prices.” In their letter to UCR Regents, the petitioners stated, “Beacon asserts that legislation allowing fast-food workers a say in setting their pay would mean fast-food price hikes of up to 20 percent or more. Fast-food companies are spending tens of millions of dollars to promote the findings of this report — which they funded. They are trying to convince voters that empowering fast-food workers — most of them women and most of them Latino, Black, or Asian — means a 20 percent ‘food tax.’”

“I’ve always been comfortable working with both sides as long as they’re comfortable with the fact that I’m going to give them the best answer I can on the basis of theory and data, not on the basis of some opinion of what’s morally correct,” said Thornberg. “For a very long time, we have dodged the culture wars. Not this time.”

The report clearly discloses that “This research was supported by the International Franchise Association.” Beacon Economics has prepared studies for both corporations and unions in the past. “We’re never going to sell answers. We’re never going to cozy up to one side or the other. Anybody who engages us in a contract will have to accept the results we come up with. It’s as simple as that. That is a rule we have gone by. I’ve had the opportunity of working, yes, with unions and with business organizations, with chambers and the United Way.”

Most of the conclusions presented in the report can be deduced by common sense, such as this summary statement: “If worker wages in the limited-service restaurant industry are raised, there is little doubt that workers who keep their jobs will be better off. But the change is not costless. Any increase in worker compensation will bring about an increase in prices for consumers, which could hurt lower income households who are already struggling with current inflation in food prices. It will also cause the industry to shrink, with fewer establishments and jobs.” 

The report goes on to conclude, “Compensation increases in the 20% to 60% range will cause prices … to increase between 7% and 22%.” The petitioners argue other studies show “about a half percentage point menu price increase for every 10 percent rise in the minimum wage.” Whatever the real number, minimum wage hikes usually mean higher menu prices and fewer employee hours, according to Harri, a workplace management software company that works with more than 4,000 restaurants. Anyone who has visited a big box department store or fast food restaurant recently knows that self-serve kiosks are already displacing human workers to reduce labor costs.

This entire episode truly saddens us. In a university environment, academic freedom and debate should be a cherished and protected norm, as should well-conducted empirical research, even if the conclusions of that research conflict with certain ideologies,” wrote Thornberg in an email to clients and business associates. “The ending of this partnership and the excellent work CEFD has done over the past decade for the community is not a win for the University, Beacon Economics or the Inland Empire region as a whole.”

The LA Times story also failed to fact check the letter’s claim that “Thornberg’s name doesn’t appear in school faculty or other directories.” Christopher Thornberg’s listing can be readily found in the UCR Profiles directory under “Affiliate – Research Associate” at profiles.ucr.edu/app/home/search;name=thornberg;org=;title=;phone=;affiliation=Affiliate

“When [UCR] first invited me to do the center, they asked me to come on campus and be a full-time faculty member and run the center. I was what they call an ‘unpaid faculty member.’ So I was basically nominated and approved by the business school to get a faculty position as an adjunct professor. But I wasn’t paid,” said Thornberg.

Beacon Economics will continue to operate in the Inland Empire without the affiliation of UC Riverside. “We’ll probably look for another partner at some point,” said Thornberg. “I’ve got nothing but support from our clients. All of our work that was being run through the university has been converted over to Beacon work. The only thing that’s really changing in terms of our efforts in the Inland Empire is the logo on the top of the page.”

Dr. Christopher Thornberg will be presenting on May 19th for the San Bernardino Council of Governments in Lake Arrowhead.

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Career & Workplace

Inland Empire Education and Workforce Summit Connects the Dots Between the Classroom and Careers

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The Inland Empire Connection: Merging Academic Paths and Career Journeys

Exclusive Report by Ken Alan, IEBJ freelance writer

A generation ago, parents and school counselors tended to defer talking to students about going to college until the last two years of high school. Today, kindergartners are likely to see their classroom dressed up with college pendants and banners that proclaim “we will go to college.” The line that once separated the classroom from careers has faded as schools now actively seek mentorships, internships and apprenticeships for their students and high schoolers are getting a head-start on earning college credits through concurrent enrollment at a junior college. These were just a few of the insights that highlighted the Third Annual Inland Empire Education and Workforce Summit in Riverside.

“Connecting business with education,” was the overarching goal of sponsoring the summit, said Cathy Paredes, Senior Vice President, Inland Empire Marketing Executive for Bank of America, which employs about 2,000 in the region. Since 2018, the company has sponsored a student leaders program, offering paid internships and work experience for various non-profits. About 100 applications were received last year for four internship opportunities. Next year’s program will start accepting applications in October. (More information can be found at bit.ly/3LtRN5p).

While promoting a college education remains their main focus, schools are adapting to the new reality of some students opting for careers that don’t require a degree. Riverside high schools offer 58 career pathways, referred to as CTE (Career Technical Education), where about 85% lead to immediate employment in good-paying jobs, according to Dr. Edward Gomez, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, County Office of Education. CTE careers include graphic design, residential and commercial construction, financial services, medical assisting, pharmacy clerk, culinary management, cyber security, welding, emergency medical technician and many more. (Download the entire catalog at bit.ly/3JKZa7e).

Students choosing to enroll in college declined from a peak of 70 percent in 2016 to 63 percent by 2020. A study produced by the Hechinger Report attributed the trend to a dip in the population of college-age students, growing skepticism about the value of a college degree, and the cost of higher education now exceeding what many families can afford to pay. Meanwhile, traditionally low-wage fields have been offering starting pay well above the minimum wage.

“We need to focus on more than just college,” said former State Senator Connie Leyva in her keynote address. “There are lots of jobs that pay good wages that don’t need a college degree.” Leyva served on California’s Senate Education Committee for 8 years, 4 of those as chair. Last October she took the helm of San Bernardino public broadcasting stations KVCR TV and KVCR FM. 

During the press briefing that preceded the summit, Leyva outlined several initiatives to produce original educational programming: “KVCR is working with the (San Bernardino) County schools on a program called ‘Learn with Me.’ It will be 36 episodes. We write it, we direct it, we produce it, so it’s a very big endeavor. What’s unique about it is the fist portion is in English and the second portion is in Spanish.” The program will debut in June. KVCR also offers student internships in broadcast administration, production and fundraising.

Limited school counseling resources was cited as a key reason the discussion of career and college used to be deferred until late in high school. Now, schools have partnered with non-profits like Think Together, which offer after school programs, tutoring — and counseling.

“Schools have their hands full. So, we’re kind of ‘middleware’ that sits between the school and the workplace,” said Randy Barth, CEO.

Diego Martinez, now a mechanical engineering student at Mt. San Jacinto College, participated in Think Together program while attending West Valley High School in Hemet. “I joined the Vex Robotics group in my freshman year in high school. We designed and programmed robots that would complete certain tasks to complete with other Think Together sites in our region. Throughout my journey with Think Together there’s been a lot of interaction with the staff … I was able to get letters of recommendations for scholarships … Think Together has really supported me, all the way through high school and now in community college. I definitely wouldn’t be as far along as I am today without them,” he said. Martinez hopes to complete a bachelor’s degree at one of the University of California campuses.

Think Together also offers instruction in essential soft skills like public speaking, resume workshops and interview techniques.

“In the Inland Empire we have more apprentices per capita in our region than the rest of the State. We have more IT and cybersecurity apprentices than the Silicon Valley,” said Charles Henkels, Executive Director of Launch Apprenticeship Network. “It is an important economic development tool for our Inland Empire business community. It’s an earn-and-learn model, so it’s a win-win for both the student and employer.”

“If a student doesn’t have a plan to go college then we want to connect them to the industries that are hiring,” said Ted Alejandre, County Superintendent at San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. “The carpenter’s (union) has an apprenticeship program where, at age 17-1/2, students can start off at $19/hour but then move very quickly to $25/hour.”

“The pandemic really stifled opportunities for internships and jobs, so we really want to encourage businesses to go out of their way to give our young people these opportunities,” said Dr. Angelo Farooq, Chair at California Workplace Development Board.

“Today’s summit is really more than just discussing the challenges facing our workforce. It’s about exploring innovative and effective strategies to build stronger, more inclusive and more prosperous communities in the Inland Empire and beyond,” said Riverside City Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson who secured $4.4 million in Youth Jobs Corps funding last year. The program, called “CaliforniansForAll,” offers employment for youth ages 16-30 to develop career pathways and interest towards a career in public service in the key areas of education, climate, and food insecurity. The City places Fellows in part-time positions for up to two years in municipal departments such as Parks, Recreation, and Community Services, Public Works Street Trees Division, The Office of Homeless Solutions, and the Fire Department Office of Emergency Services. 

The summit was hosted by the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce together with partner Think Together and sponsor Bank of America.

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