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University of La Verne and New Community Investments Partner to Launch the Randall Lewis Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Social Impact

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University is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month Center by launching innovative program targeting aspiring minority entrepreneurs

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, the University of La Verne is announcing that aspiring local minority entrepreneurs in Southern California will now have an opportunity to expand and hone their business acumen and skills courtesy of a new entrepreneurship program offered at the University. This opportunity is significant given the university’s demographics, location, and Latino small-business are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. 

The Randall Lewis Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Social Impact is the result of a new partnership between the University and NEW Community Investments, an organization dedicated to empowering the economic mobility of traditionally underserved and financially marginalized people groups by facilitating access to capital infusions that support the growth of small businesses. The new center will focus on increasing the economic power and impact of University of La Verne students, alumni, regional businesses, not-for-profits, and community organizations by providing entrepreneurial training to several learning cohorts each year and integrating academic and hands-on approaches to job creation and long-term career support. Through targeted training and ongoing support, the center’s ultimate goal is to take the economy of Inland Southern California to the next level. 

A recent Stanford report revealed that Latinos are starting businesses faster than the national average across several industries, growing 34 percent over the last 10 years compared to just 1 percent for all other small businesses. The growing success of Latino small business owners comes as Latinos are increasingly becoming an economic force in the U.S. and have contributed about $500 billion to the economy in annual sales.  

The Lewis Center for Entrepreneurship’s special focus will be on Hispanic and other underserved communities in the region, creating unparalleled opportunities for participants to generate economic momentum in their respective communities. The center will leverage the  University of La Verne’s expansive reach to reach these communities, with its seven regional campuses in Bakersfield, Burbank, Irvine, Ontario, Oxnard, Santa Clarita, and Victorville, plus two military centers at Vandenberg Space Force Base and Naval Base Ventura County. 

One of the key visionaries involved in developing the center is Quentin Strode, President, and CEO of NEW Community Investments. “Unrealized potential is a terrible thing to waste, and we recognize the tremendous talent and ambition that is prevalent among entrepreneurs from our diverse communities,”  Strode said. “Traditionally, incubator and accelerator programs have not focused on cultivating talent in underserved communities. Our center seeks to change this by providing more access to training, business education, and capital markets. We believe this will result in more sustainable community-based businesses, quality jobs, and wealth generation. We are focusing on community  businesses to create economic mobility for all of our communities.” 

As a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), the University of La Verne serves a highly diverse student body numbering over 7,000. Forty-three percent of its students are the first in their families to attend college. U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked the university among the top five universities in the nation for social mobility, recognizing its success in empowering moderate and low-income students to move toward becoming high-earning professionals. Empowering entrepreneurs from underserved populations is a logical component of the university’s mission. 

“At the University of La Verne, we are always looking to the future,” said university president Devorah Lieberman. “Following the recent completion of a highly successful and record-breaking fundraising campaign, we are poised to seize opportunities for positive change like the Randall Lewis Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Social Impact. We pride ourselves on fully supporting our student’s social and economic mobility, their families, and our neighboring communities. This center is yet  another step to forward our mission.” 

“I am honored and privileged to be working on this innovative project that will actively focus and recruit from the area’s diverse burgeoning communities,” said Dr. David C. Lizárraga, University of La Verne trustee and founder and chairman of the TELACU Education Foundation. “This program is primed to attract participation from the emerging ranks of aspiring multicultural entrepreneurs who want to open a  successful business and contribute to the US economy. Given the university’s designation as a Hispanic  Serving Institution, I encourage all aspiring Latino entrepreneurs to look to the new Lewis Center for Entrepreneurship as a resource. Given its potential, I anticipate we’ll generate a real and powerful impact  on the business landscape in Southern California.” 

To view the backgrounder document describing the Randall Lewis Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation,  and Social Impact, please click here: Individuals interested in applying for the inaugural class of the new Center can apply by clicking here. If you don’t think you are quite ready to join the university’s program, please check out its self-paced entrepreneurship course to begin your journey.

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

Education

Think Together Awards City of Moreno Valley and Moreno Valley USD at Annual Raise A Hand Fundraiser

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Think Together Honors City of Moreno Valley and Moreno Valley Unified School District with Champion of Change Award at Annual Raise A Hand Event
Think Together partners with the City of Moreno Valley and Moreno Valley Unified School District to provide afterschool and expanded learning programs to nearly 6,000 students annually.

Think Together, California’s largest nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning, and school improvement programs, is proud to announce it has named the City of Moreno Valley and Moreno Valley Unified School District as this year’s Champion of Change award recipients at its annual Raise A Hand fundraiser event held on Thursday, April 21.

This year’s event returned as a live broadcast with more than 300 guests attending watch parties in Orange County, the Inland Empire, Coachella Valley, and the Bay Area and raised over $500,000 to date for K-12 expanded learning and afterschool programs that enrich the school day and bring equitable education opportunities to students throughout the state.

“Think Together is so impressed with the leadership and collaboration the City of Moreno Valley and Moreno Valley Unified foster to serve students in their community,” said Think Together Founder and CEO Randy Barth. “When new investment opportunities or program innovations become available, they’re the first to lead the way, trailblazing new programs that support student learning and inspiring others to do the same.”

When schools rolled out distance-learning to keep communities safe during the COVID pandemic, Think Together worked with the City of Moreno Valley and the Moreno Valley Unified School District to offer virtual expanded learning programs to students so they could stay connected with peers and program leaders in an educational environment.

As schools began to welcome students back on campus last year, the City and the District were among the first to partner with Think Together to augment their existing After School Education and Safety (ASES) and 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants with newly available Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELO-P) funds to offer expanded learning programs to more students and during non-instructional days, like summer and spring break.

“When we began our work together more than ten years ago, I knew as an educator this partnership had real potential to make a difference in the lives of students,” said Dr. Yxstian Gutierrez, Mayor of Moreno Valley. “There’s no greater investment than the one you can make in the future of our students, and this one has been no exception. It is an invaluable asset for our community.”

Since partnering with the City of Moreno Valley and the Moreno Valley Unified School District, Think Together has served an estimated 50,000 students with afterschool and expanded learning programs. In 2022 alone, programs reached an estimated 6,000 students and have evolved to serve youth and their families with academic enrichment, physical activity, and social-emotional learning, helping to provide a safe place for kids during typical working hours for caregivers.

Think Together was founded in 1997 as a single afterschool center in Costa Mesa and has since grown to serve nearly 200,000 students annually with direct-to-student and professional development programs throughout the state.

“We’re honored to be recognized alongside the City of Moreno Valley for the work we’re doing to help students outside of the school day,” said Moreno Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Martinrex Kedziora. “These programs make a real difference in the lives of students and their families, and this recognition validates the work we’re proud to do every day as educators.”

Think Together also awarded its Faces of the Future Scholarship Award to three outstanding students who were enrolled in Think Together’s program. Recipients received a $2,000 scholarship and a laptop to start their college career.

A replay of Think Together’s Raise A Hand virtual broadcast can be viewed on YouTube. Sponsored by the Worah Family Foundation, the event brought together passionate individuals and corporations throughout California to celebrate 25 years of impacting students through afterschool and expanded learning.

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Education

Think Together’s Hernan Sanchez Named Among 2022 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders by National Afterschool Association

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Awardees were recognized during the NAA22 Convention in Las Vegas, March 20-23, 2022.

Think Together, California’s leading nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning and school improvement programs, is proud to announce the National AfterSchool Association (NAA), has named Think Together Family and Community Engagement Coordinator Hernan Sanchez as one of the National Afterschool Association’s (NAA) 2022 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders. Hernan was recognized and celebrated alongside 19 other NextGen Leaders during the NAA22 convention in Las Vegas, March 20-23.

Hernan Sanchez joined Think Together in January 2021, quickly gaining recognition among his peers before celebrating his one-year anniversary with the organization. In his role he helps connect families and communities to resources that help support their children in school, such as library memberships, program enrollment, financial literacy and more. Hernan earned accolades from leadership throughout the industry for his ability to connect with others on a personal level, despite the unprecedented challenges educators and afterschool professionals have faced during the pandemic.

“When you think of the next generation of afterschool leaders, you think of someone who not only looks at the impact on kids and their community, but also sees that expanded learning is a complete support system for our families,” said Think Together Executive General Manager Johanna Lizarraga. “This comes down to innovation and thinking outside the box. Hernan doesn’t see afterschool as just supporting the student. He sees it as fortifying their support system in and out of the classroom.”

The Family and Community Engagement Team at Think Together is a new department cultivated during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic when Think Together saw that families needed additional support connecting to resources such as the internet, technology, school supplies, and meal services.

Their work has since evolved to give families the tools to support the student’s school day as well as pave a path to college and career readiness, assist with literacy and related educational development services. Think Together has a Family and Community Engagement Team coordinator supporting each of the organization’s nine regions.

“We are so proud of Hernan for his passion and commitment to Think Together’s mission,” said Founder and CEO of Think Together Randy Barth. “In his short time with the organization, he is making an impact that makes us excited to see what he will accomplish next with us.”

Think Together is thrilled to have Hernan join the ranks of previous honorees of the Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders. In 2021, Helen Welderufael, then regional operations analyst for Think Together’s San Bernardino Region, received the award and has since been assumed the role of talent acquisition operations manager. In 2018, Alberto Bajaras, then quality assurance coach for Think Together’s San Bernardino Region was awarded and has since climbed the ranks to Director of Program and Operations for the region. Stacy Galdamez, executive general manager for Think Together was named in 2017 and was also a quality assurance coach at the time of her recognition.

In selecting its 2022 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders honorees, the National AfterSchool Association sought to highlight emerging young leaders under the age of 30 who are active in the broader afterschool community, demonstrate contributions that have started to influence beyond individual programs to entire organizations and communities, are actively engaged in efforts to elevate the afterschool field, have a proven passion for the development of themselves and others, and demonstrate persistence in their work to grow within their roles.

“This group of leaders represents the creativity, dedication, and commitment of the best of our next generation of the afterschool profession. We are honored to recognize them because we know the important role strong leadership plays in promoting positive outcomes for children and youth,” said Gina Warner, President and CEO, National AfterSchool Association.

An estimated 10.2 million young people participate in afterschool programs each year and the industry employs an estimated 850,000 professionals and leaders. The National AfterSchool Association is a professional membership association that fosters positive youth outcomes by supporting, developing, and advocating for afterschool professionals and leaders.

Honorees were profiled in the Spring 2022 issue of NAA’s AfterSchool Today magazine. A digital edition of the magazine may be viewed here.

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Education

Defining Moment: Match Day 2022 for California University of Science and Medicine Inaugural Class

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Inaugural Doctor of Medicine class celebrates Match Day as they match with residency programs nationwide

California University of Science and Medicine (CUSM) is celebrating a milestone! The 62-member inaugural Class of 2022 discovered their perfect match, medical specialty match, that is. Along with 37,000 other senior medical students nationwide, CUSM students opened envelopes at exactly 9:00 am PT to discover where they would go and what they would do next in their long path to medical practice. Four years of learning, two years of the pandemic, and months of applications, interviews, and rankings from students and programs led to this day. Students learned where they would continue their training as residents, and training programs learned which new physicians will be joining July 1, 2022. All through the National Residency Match Program.

Established with the mission to create educational and economic opportunities for Inland Southern California and help meet our region’s healthcare needs, CUSM’s first MD class began in 2018. CUSM now enrolls over 400 MD students, 91% of whom come from California. 40% from Inland Southern California 

The inaugural match is a big step in advancing the university’s goal of addressing the critical physician shortage, improving health equity, and enhancing population health for Inland Southern California. Gathered in the courtyard of the state-of-the-art medical school, faculty, staff, students, and their supporters shared their hopes and well wished to the students. “We are thrilled to see these results. They are an exceptional reflection of our mission.” said Paul Lyons, MD, CUSM President and Dean of the School of Medicine

CUSM is pleased to share the National Residency Match Program results for the Inaugural MD Class of 2022.  

  • CUSM helps lead the national effort to address mental health with 12 students (20%) headed into Psychiatry. Among the highest in the nation.
  • CUSM helps fill the primary care workforce gap with 16 (26%) students headed into Pediatrics, Family Medicine, and Internal Medicine.
  • CUSM helps address frontline healthcare delivery with 10 (16%) students headed into Emergency Medicine.
  • CUSM helps fill the regional workforce gap with approximately 1/5 in Inland Southern California and 2/3 in Southern California.
  • 100% of students have destinations after graduation, including clinical training and research. 
  • 18% (11) matched into programs in the Inland Empire.
  • 100% of matched students are headed to specialties that have shortages in the IE, the main area of fulfilling the mission of CUSM.
  • 38% (IM, Psych, OB, Peds, Family) matched into primary care specialties defined by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Ten surgeons will begin their training in the summer of 2022, with three in orthopedics, including two women, who are particularly underrepresented in orthopedics. Other surgical program matches include general surgery (4), vascular surgery (1), otolaryngology (1), obstetrics and gynecology (1), and ophthalmology. 

The class did well and placed in specialties with very few nationwide, such as urology, diagnostic radiology, anesthesiology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Among notable destinations are partnering and local institutions Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, UHS Southern California, Kaiser, Loma Linda Medical Center, and Riverside Community Hospital. 

CUSM students are also headed to residency training programs at Stanford, UCLA, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, Mount Sinai Beth Israel (NY), Case Western (OH), University of Pittsburgh (PA), and University of Washington (WA).

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