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State of the North County meeting addresses workforce development

Posted at 7:05 PM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-29 00:32:25-04

The fourth State of the North County meeting was held Wednesday, with presentations from the mayors of Paso Robles and Atascadero, keynote speakers, and group discussions.

A major focus was on finding solutions for workforce development and helping businesses hire and keep workers in northern San Luis Obispo County.

During the state of the North County presentation, housing problems, new developments, and education were all discussed, but the main reason for the meeting was to talk about the challenges facing businesses and residents.

"Workforce development is the number one issue that we know our business community is facing, so the three of us came together and looked at this challenge and decided that solutions are absolutely needed sooner rather than later," said Gina Fitzpatrick, Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.

In the North County, there are a lack of Tier One jobs, or high-skill, high-wage careers, which makes finding, recruiting, and retaining local talent difficult for North County businesses.

A majority of workers commute or work in other areas to afford the cost of living in cities like Atascadero and Paso Robles.

Wednesday's meeting aimed to solve that.

"Traditionally, we had a job/housing imbalance, so what we're really trying to do in Atascadero is increase those jobs, like we talked about this morning, those Tier One or head of household types of jobs, so we've had some progress in that area and we see more on the horizon," said Heather Moreno, Atascadero Mayor.

With business consultants on hand as keynote speakers to provide advice, and group discussions between local business leaders sharing ideas, North County is aiming for a bright future.

"Our entire North County is working together to become known as a place that has a high quality of life. It's a high quality location in the State of California, we have high quality jobs being developed, and we have a sense of purpose," said Steve Martin, Paso Robles Mayor.

Mayor Moreno says that North County is stronger when they work together and says there is a lot to look forward to in the future for businesses and residents as they hope to make North County a cool place to be, where you can live, work, and play.