Contributor Newsletter January 2024


January 2024

NFN News Center

A Library Levels Up: High-Tech Makerspace Revolutionizes WCC Reading Room

Woodland Community College Makerspace

These days, there’s a lot more to check out at the Woodland Community College library than just books.

The WCC Makerspace gives students direct access to 3D printers, virtual reality equipment, sewing machines, musical instruments, and facilities for unique activities like scrapbooking. Located within the library, the upgraded interactive studio provides students — and the community — with creative freedom in the form of a fiber-arts-focused makerspace.

“We’ll do workshops, we’ll do one-on-ones. We’ll do whatever works for students,” explains WCC librarian Dena Martin. “We’re very flexible because we just want people coming in and having fun and using it.”

The Strong Workforce-funded Makerspace is becoming a game-changer for students and the community alike. Combining creative exploration with in-demand career skills, the space includes equipment for sewing, knitting, crocheting, photography, music, and more. For those with a passion for performing arts, there is even a historical clothing collection, added in collaboration with the Woodland Community College History Department.

“We’ve had students from all different sciences coming in to make little objects and things like that with [the 3D printers],” says Jennifer Morrissey, adjunct librarian at WCC. “We also have musical instruments [and] music classes here.”

August 2023


Drive to Succeed: Mendocino’s ‘Flexible’ Hybrid PTA Program Serves District and Beyond

Mendocino College PTA Program Expands for Long-Distance Commuters

Sharon Hammond had been stuck in a “dead-end job” in home health care for 20+ years and wanted a more stimulating career for her brain and her bank account. So, she set her sights on Mendocino College’s hybrid Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program and didn’t let the weekly 158-mile commute or her learning disability get in the way of accelerating her career.

“I can finally say that I’m a professional at something in my life at 42 years old,” beams the Mendocino alum.

The intrepid student says she had to work hard for her degree and climb some “mental mountains,” but in the end, she graduated, passed her state boards, and earned her license: “I wasn’t the star student, but I did it!” Shortly afterward, Hammond landed her dream job at her student clinical placement site, a nursing home near her Eureka residence. Now, instead of a two-and-a-half to three-hour drive to class? She commutes just a few minutes to work each day … and earns more than double her old salary.

It’s “a Goliath step up” on the career ladder. Hammond says her success is thanks to PTA Program Director Sara Bogner, who “would literally Zoom with me every week to go over the topics I was struggling with. I would not be working at my nursing home today if it wasn’t for Sara.”

According to the program director, Hammond is a testament to the tenacity of Mendocino’s PTA students. And she’s one of many commuters who make the long trip and overnight stay for the two-day, in-person labs on campus every week.

August 2023



Making Gains - Question is Whether the Pay at Your Job is Keeping up with Inflation

A Labor Department report on Friday revealed that the US job market is looking healthier than many had predicted, with the economy adding 216,000 jobs, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at a near-record low of 3.7%.

But, of course, the number of workers is only one side of the equation; the other — arguably more important — question is whether the pay at your job is keeping up with inflation. For much of the last 2 and a half years, the answer for many was no.

Indeed, overall inflation outstripped pay rises in every month from April 2021 to early 2023. That started to change in earnest last summer, as employees’ pay packets began to outgrow inflation, resulting in “real” wage gains for the first time in 2 years. Annual wage growth hit its 2023 peak in July at 5.1%, and it hasn’t fallen below the inflation rate since, with the latest reading showing average hourly wages up 4.1% year-over-year.

The solid jobs report suggests that the US economy perhaps doesn’t need more stimulus. In the final months of last year, a consensus emerged that the Federal Reserve might embark on a series of rate cuts, following years of hikes.However, the strong economic data has tempered those expectations, with traders revising the likelihood of cuts in March from 100% to ~70% last week.

Portal Aims to Improve Workforce Training Pathways

The Project on Workforce at Harvard University on Monday launched the Workforce Almanac, an open-source directory and interactive portal that captures nearly 17,000 workforce training providers across the United States – including community colleges.

The Workforce Almanac

Mapping the workforce development sector across the US

The United States workforce development sector has historically been treated in silos. As a result, practitioners and researchers alike have struggled to understand it as a system that includes higher education institutions, registered apprenticeships, organizations eligible to receive WIOA funds, and non-profit providers. To understand how well the workforce development sector really serves American workers and communities, we need to identify where providers are located, to measure key provider characteristics and to consider the entirety of a worker’s life cycle, aspirations, and needs.


Ask An Economist

Please join us as Dr. Robert Eyler look sat the national and California economy, with a lean toward California's northern, rural and smaller suburban areas. He will discuss the latest forecasts, inflation, housing and labor markets, and some of the opportunities and concerns ahead in 2024.


Ask an Economist is hosted by Chabin Concepts and Dr. Eyler to assist you in gaining clarity on the economy, the consequences of disruptions, and potential recovery timelines through these quickly changing times.

Robert Eyler, Ph.D. is a much sought-after speaker who brings economics "down to earth" and connects the impact ofglobal events on our neighborhoods. He has discussed the economic impact and recovery from devastating business interruptions, such as COVID-19 and the destructive wildfires in northern California. Dr.Eyler is the Dean of the School of Extended and International Education, Professor of Economics, Director of the Center for Regiona lAnalysis at Sonoma State University and President of Economic Forensics and Analytics, Inc.

Chabin Concepts is an economic development and marketing firm that has worked with hundreds of rural and urban communities, agencies, and organizations over the past 36 years. Chabin is dedicated to bringing resources to help communities improve their economic development programs and help businesses succeed.

ChicoSTART Embarks on 6th iHub2 Accelerated By Partnership with Glenn Grows

January16 , 2024 - Chico, CA: ChicoSTART is renowned for its commitment to nurturing startups, providing entrepreneurial resources, and fostering innovation to rural communities through the CalOSBA Accelerate CA Inclusive InnovationHub2 (iHub2), representing 20+ counties in Northern California.

ChicoSTART announces the embarking ofits 6th Accelerated by Partnership with Glenn County based Business and Employment Center Glenn Grows. Glenn Grows “believes in creating opportunities, providing mentorship and delivering resources forthe Glenn County workforce by connecting business communities and suitable working and economic spaces''. The center is physically positioned in Orland, CA. This new Accelerated by partnership will allow Glenn County to not only service budding entrepreneurs, but also provideestablished businesses opportunities to scale and grow their business. As an Accelerated by partner,

ChicoSTART will facilitate easy access to business services and resources for Glenn Counties' entrepreneurial community.

Eva Shepherd-Nicoll, Executive Director, ChicoSTART says, “We have been working with Glenn County on their plans for the reopening of Glenn Grows for almost 2 years now. ChicoSTART is thrilled that Glenn is taking the initiative to make the investment in their community for inclusive access and increased capacity to support entrepreneurs and businesses. We will be supporting them with our existing programs, resources and upcoming workshop, both virtually and in person.”

"Embracingthe synergy between Glenn Grows and ChicoSTART, we're thrilled to announce a pivotal partnership. As we chart the course for Glenn Grows' reopening, ChicoSTART's services will be a cornerstone, amplifying our ability to empower entrepreneurs and businesses. Together, we're poised to unlock new opportunities, blending virtual and in-person engagements for a dynamic collaboration." Scott De Moss, County Administrative Supervisor, Glenn Grows

Glenn Grows will host a special event on Monday, January 22, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. The public and business community are welcome to attend.

Interested in learning how to connect with Glenn Grows? Contact Eva Shepherd-Nicoll at or Scott De Moss at and visit


Chancellor’s Office

Notice of Intent to Award – English Language Learner Healthcare Pathways Funding

This memorandum is a formal notification of the intent to award for the English Language Learner (ELL) Healthcare Pathways funding by the Chancellor’s Office Workforce and Economic Development Division.

The Chancellor’s Office, in partnership with the California Department of Education, invited eligible California Adult Education Program (CAEP) consortia to apply for the ELL Healthcare Pathways funding solicitation. Under the Governor’s Care Economy Workforce Development Package, the Budget Act of 2022-2023 included a one-time appropriation of Proposition 98 funds to support healthcare-focused vocational pathways for English language learners (ELLs) across all levels of English proficiency as part of the Adult Education Program while addressing regional economic healthcare needs. The intent for this three-year-investment is to support Adult Education programs in developing healthcare-focused vocational pathways, including bridge programs, across all levels of English proficiency.