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The keynote speaker had good news for the approximately 200 people who attended the 24th annual Placer County Economic Development Summit: this year’s outlook is favorable for the Sacramento region and Placer County is well-positioned to benefit.

“Placer County is uniquely situated within the larger Sacramento region in many ways,” Sanjay Varshney told the crowd, noting that the county has a business-friendly reputation, a relatively small population base, a great natural environment and higher-than-average per-capital income.
A finance professor at Sacramento State University, Varshney emphasized that the university’s interest in developing a satellite campus in West Placer and the recent decision of the University of Warwick to move forward with plans to establish a campus on 600 acres west of Roseville is great news for the county.

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“Clearly, that’s a huge, a huge testament to Placer County,” he said.  

Varshney offered a detailed assessment of the regional economy, providing a good-news, bad-news assessment of job growth: the region has nearly as many nonfarm jobs as it had before the recession, but many of the new jobs are at the low-end of the wage scale. He said the Sacramento region needs to attract more large companies that offer high-end jobs.

Barry Broome, the first president and chief executive officer of the new Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council also spoke during the summit breakfast, emphasizing that regional cooperation is critical to economic growth in California.

“California is the nation’s most important economy,” he said. “And, we’re going to build our economic future one region at a time.”
This year’s economic summit breakfast was held at the Blue Goose Event Center in Loomis. The theme was “Experience Placer Life.”

The summit was hosted by the Placer County Economic Development Board (EDB) and organized by the county Office of Economic Development. Sponsors included Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Wells Fargo Private Bank, Blue Line Arts and the Auburn Symphony. 

During the day’s meeting, the EDB presented awards to recognize two career-training programs, four businesses and a Roseville public-private partnership for their contributions to the county’s economic well-being during 2014.

The Agriculture Department at Lincoln High School won one of the two public sector awards for career-training programs. County Agricultural Commissioner Josh Huntsinger nominated the program, noting that its four teachers and a small army of volunteers are dedicated to helping students gain all of the skills they need to be successful in their careers.

The other public sector award went to an innovative job-training program designed to transition young adults from low-wage, low-skill occupations to in-demand construction trade jobs. The program’s sponsors are the Sierra College Construction and Energy Technology Program, Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies, Golden Sierra Job Training Agency and the Placer Center of the California Conservation Corps (CCC).

The other award winners are:

* Energy Saving Pros of Loomis, a growing solar installations and clean energy technology company noted for its community involvement ;
* Quest Data Center of Roseville, a 120,000-square-foot facility recognized for adding more than 100 jobs and making a private investment of more than $5 million in the local economy;
* Riskalyze Inc. of Auburn, a company that has developed a simple test that allows advisors to quantify the risk tolerance of investors;
* Kim’s Country Kitchen in Lincoln, a restaurant credited with helping revitalize the city’s historic downtown business district; and
* Advantage Roseville, a public-private initiative that has been instrumental in bringing new jobs and capital investment to the city.

The EDB is an advisory board that assists the county with its business attraction and retention efforts. It promotes the creation of new jobs and tax revenue and supports tourism, agribusiness, film production and workforce development initiatives.

The EDB includes representatives from the Placer County Board of Supervisors; the town of Loomis; and the cities of Auburn, Colfax, Lincoln, Rocklin and Roseville. It also has members who represent agriculture, public and private education, healthcare, utilities, manufacturing, tourism, communications and nonprofit organizations.

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