Location California: Taking Charge of Energy, Manufacturing, Higher Education, and Entrepreneurship
California charts its destiny by acting like its own nation.
Steve Stackhouse-Kaelble (Apr/May 08)
(page 2 of 3)
Even more examples of California taking its future into its own hands:
• The state is boosting educational programs in an effort to bring 20,000 new engineers into the work force.
California has embarked on its own plan for bringing health coverage to
the uninsured and underinsured, ultimately hoping to benefit business'
bottom lines and the state's quality of life.
• California is
investing in job creation through programs aimed at newly discharged
veterans, as well as nurse training. The state also recently announced
$10.5 million to boost training and job services for residential
construction workers and others whose jobs have been affected by the
slump in the housing market.
Victories and Successes
have always written off manufacturing as a thing of the past," says
McGowan. Yet the California manufacturing sector continues to record
successes and expansions, he says. Here are some examples from recent
• USG Corp. picked Stockton for a new environmentally
advanced manufacturing plant that will use recycled materials to create
drywall. The company was looking at sites in Oregon and Nevada, but
chose the Stockton location, citing the state's healthy business
climate and the site's proximity to Bay Area ports. The $220 million
project is to open in 2010 and create up to 170 well-paying jobs along
the world's largest drywall manufacturing line.
Manufacturing California is investing $62 million into a plant that
will produce door frames for Toyota's Matrix and Pontiac's Vibe, both
built in Fremont. The three-phase project in Stockton could employ as
many as 1,200 people by 2013.
• The Cargill Beef packing plant in Fresno announced plans to add about 200 jobs as part of a $105 million investment.
United States Steel, SeAH Steel, and POSCO Steel picked the California
community of Pittsburg for a joint-venture manufacturing plant called
United Spiral Pipe. The $93 million plant is to produce large-diameter
steel pipes and employ as many as 175.
It's no surprise that
R&D is big business in California. Among the big news in recent
months, Genentech announced plans to create some 160 jobs by building a
research laboratory in Dixon. The 140,000-square-foot building will
house biotechnology technicians and research scientists.
also continuing to grow our leadership in clean air technology, green
technology and nanotechnology," says McGowan. Aerospace, too - among
other things, the state has a significant role in the creation of the
next generation space vehicle and new Mars rover, he says. Though the
state's not as known for space launches or Mission Control, the fact is
that, according to McGowan, "NASA spends more in California than in any
Innovative business developments take many forms
in California, some with spectacular potential. For example, the
University of California-Irvine's California Institute for
Telecommunications and Information Technology is helping Unimodal
Systems develop control software for its proposed SkyTran personalized
rapid transit system. The system would move commuters in two-person,
"Jetsons"-like pods traveling at 100 miles per hour on elevated
magnetic field tracks. Not far away is Blizzard Entertainment, the
software designer behind the wildly popular "World of Warcraft" game,
which helped propel the California electronic gaming sector into a
California's greatest economic asset? State officials often place
higher education at the top of the list, including the 10 prestigious
locations of the University of California and the 23-campus California
State University system. Some 250 colleges and universities across the
state currently enroll about 2.5 million people, representing some of
the nation's best and brightest students. Many come to California to
learn and are so impressed with the quality of life that they never
leave. That helps to explain the fact that the state has the nation's
highest concentration of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and
"We have a million high-tech workers, more
than any other state," says McGowan. In fact, that's one-sixth of the
entire nation's high-tech payroll, all in one place. More than
two-fifths of the nation's biotech workers can be found in California,
along with a third of the biotech company headquarters. The state tops
the employment list in such areas as computer systems design,
telecommunications, R&D laboratories, and engineering services.
to the list of assets is the availability of funding for both R&D
and entrepreneurial ventures. California receives more venture capital
than any other state, helping boost the innovation sector. The biggest
recipients include the software, biotechnology, telecommunications,
medical device, and semiconductor industries.
alive and well, too, despite the common reports of the sector's demise.
Since 1977, California has been the nation's top manufacturing state.
Of course, a lot of that is high-tech manufacturing, which accounts for
nearly half of the state's value-added manufacturing workers.