Broadband access and the Digital Divide, Pacific Rim opportunities, Innovation at MST, and more.
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 A Weekly Newsletter Promoting Monterey County:
Open for Business

Business Council Members identified as (BCM)

Friday, Feb. 19, 2016

Edition 631

Broadband access to be topic at member luncheon

Broadband access will be the focus of our next member luncheon on Friday, March 11, where we will get an update on the ongoing work of the Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC).  MCBC provides administrative and logistical support to the CCBC, which is dedicated to improving broadband availability, access and adoption in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties. 

The top priority of the CCBC is providing resources and incentives to telecommunications service providers, including local government agencies, to build broadband infrastructure and extend it throughout our tri-county region. Rural and urban regional consortia such as CCBC work to promote ubiquitous broadband deployment and to advance broadband adoption in unserved and underserved areas throughout the state.  A dozen communities in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties have been identified by the California Public Utilities Commission as high-priority areas for broadband infrastructure development due to the CCBC’s efforts. 

The Monterey County Business Council continues to work with each jurisdiction in our tri-county region to adopt and/or endorse the Dig Once policy as part of a broadband master plan. Come learn about these efforts from, among others, CCBC Executive Committee members Joel Staker, information services manager for the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Steve Blum, president of Tellus Venture Associates, a management and business development consultancy specializing in developing new community broadband systems, and serving the digital media and telecommunications industries. 

This is sure to be a very informative and interesting meeting so please don't delay in registering now! 

Our February member lunch will take place on Friday, March 11 at the Bayonet & Black Horse Grill, 11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.  Register now!

Study shows Digital Divide hurts job seekers

Internet job searching now tops networking, and those who lack access to broadband are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to finding a job, according to a new report.

More Americans turn to the Internet than tap personal and professional connections when it comes to hunting for a job, reports the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

Key findings from the report, Home Broadband 2015, include:

  • Home broadband adoption has plateaued at 67% of Americans, down slightly from 70% in 2013.
  • This downtick in home high-speed adoption coincides with an increase in “smartphone-only” adults – those who own a smartphone that they can use to access the internet, but do not have traditional broadband service at home.
  • Smartphone adoption has reached parity with home broadband adoption: 68% of Americans own a smartphone, and 13% of Americans are “smartphone-only” – up from 8% in 2013. 
  •  â€œSmartphone-dependent” users encounter distinct challenges: They are more likely than other users to run up against data-cap limits that often accompany smartphone service plans and more frequently have to cancel or suspend service due to financial constraints. 
  • A recent Pew Research Center survey found that those who use digital tools for job searches face challenges when it comes to key tasks such as filling out job applications and writing cover letters.
  • Among non-broadband adopters, 33% cite the monthly cost of service as the main reason they lack broadband at home, with an additional 10% citing the cost of a computer as their main reason for not having broadband service.

Read the full story onlineSource: Central Valley Business Times

Marina restaurant project to proceed

The Dunes On Monterey Bay restaurant project appears poised for construction after earning approval by Marina's Planning Commission and the Fort Ord Reuse Authority.

The project is headed by Scott Negri, owner and general partner of SKN Properties, which owns the restaurant pads at the Dunes shopping center development. The FORA approval essentially paves the way for Negri’s project to finally begin construction after about a year of approvals, rejections, appeals and revisions.

Construction could start on two of the four buildings almost immediately. Those two buildings (A and B) will house eight tenants, six of which are food oriented, with an opening date projected to be in time for this winter holiday season, said Negri.

By adding Negri’s restaurant/retail area to the shopping center, the city will see an increase of $150,000 in retail sales at the mall and about $350,000 in retail sales within the footprint of the newly approved project, said Marina Councilmember Nancy Amadeo. 

Read the full story online. Source: Monterey County Herald

Grant to help vets with workforce preparedness

A $50,000 grant to the Veterans Transition Center will give veterans looking for jobs in Monterey County additional assistance.

The Community Foundation for Monterey County grant will support expansion of the center’s Job Development Center at Martinez Hall on the former Fort Ord. The program is titled VET-PREP – Veteran Preparation, Reintegration, and Employment Program.

The center's new program, "Operation: Job Search 2016," instructs veterans with employment skills such as resume building, interview skills, application advice and education opportunities. The next Veterans Job Fair is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 29 at Martinez Hall. Employers interested in participating can call 831-883-8387 x 226, or email to

Read the full story online. Source: Salinas Californian

Audience up 40 percent at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

It doesn't get much better than this: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am attendance was up nearly 40 percent from last year, according to organizers, thanks to great weather and a strong lineup of golfers and celebrities.

Tournament director Steve John estimated 195,000 people attended this year's tournament, up from 140,000 in 2015. For the first time ever, the event even sold out on Saturday.

Proceeds from the tournament go to charity through the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, which stages the Pro-Am. While the numbers are still being calculated, John said he expects the foundation will grant more than $10.3 million to charities thanks to the tourney.

“The combination of professionals, celebrities, athletes and then the weather, it was just a perfect storm for us,” John said. “El Niño ran out of town.”

Tammy Blount, CEO of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said a confluence of circumstances helped boost tourism to the area.

“Certainly the impact of the golf tournament, the extraordinary weather, Valentine’s Day and a long weekend had an enormous impact on visitation to Monterey County,” she said.

Blount said TV coverage of the tourney was great media exposure.

Read the full story online.  
Source: Monterey County Herald

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images: Actor Bill Murray waits to hit on the 8th hole during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 2011.


Monterey-Salinas Transit moves to handle growth 

A savings of more than $300,000 in fuel and labor costs, a dozen new full-time mechanic jobs, and federal funding to improve transit services in south Monterey County: What's not to love?

That's just the tip of the iceberg of a new plan that will help Monterey-Salinas Transit (BCM) accommodate its fleet of buses throughout Monterey County. Without a centralized site to park its fleet, MST is looking to three smaller-scale projects: Enlarging its Ryan Ranch headquarters, eventual expansion of an existing Salinas facility, and a new garage in King City. 

With the help of Monterey Business Council President Mary Ann Leffel, MST secured a low-interest, no-fee loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund the King City project, which will create 12 full-time jobs for fleet mechanics.

MST is already a supporter of the Monterey County Business Council's efforts to expand broadband service in rural Monterey County, since broadband would be cheaper than the satellite the transit provider currently uses on its long-range routes.

Read the full story online. Source: Monterey County Weekly 

MST 2015 Community Stakeholder Survey

Speaking of MST: If you haven't yet done so, take Monterey-Salinas Transit's 2015 Community Stakeholder Survey, which aims to determine how familiar the community is with MST (BCM) services, service satisfaction levels and most important alternative transportation options.  Deadline for the survey is Monday, Feb. 29. Take the survey here.

Global California Conference looks to the Pacific Rim

The 12th annual Global California conference, March 24 at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (BCM), will focus on trade and investment opportunities between California and the 21 countries of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

The 12th Global California conference will also feature:

  • Discussions on the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement which is comprised of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal involving these 12 economies is said to be worth about $28 trillion in trade and investment.
  • An innovative panel on California's "blue economy" and how it can dovetail on the growth of an exploding "green economy" in the APEC countries. 
  • The Monterey County Business Council will convene a panel on Monterey's 'language capital of the world' and the unique translation, interpretation, cultural and localization services it offers to the global marketplace.
  • A panel discussion of the new "Cyber-Silk Road" initiative that is now being paved between China and the U.S. 

The event is organized by the Monterey Bay International Trade Association (MBITA),, and Brand Monterey Bay, with MCBC as a sponsor. Click here for details.


Thursday, Feb. 25  â€“ "2016 Government Procurement Conference: Learn How to Sell To the Government," 7:30 a.m., Finley Community Center, Santa Rosa, sponsored by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. Monterey Bay PTAC Program Manager Teri Williams will discuss government contracting opportunities, and Wayne Gross of the California Department of General Services will discuss Small Business Certification. Meet and network with buyers from local and state agencies and other large organizations. Workshop cost is $40, or $60 for workshop plus a half-hour, one-on-one consultation with Williams. Advance reservations required; RSVP online, or call (707) 565-7589 or email for questions. 

Friday, March 11 â€“ MCBC Monthly Membership Luncheon (second Friday of the month), 11:45 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Bayonet & Black Horse Grill, Seaside. Steve Blum, president of Tellus Venture Associates, and CCBC Executive Committee members Joel Staker, Information Services Manager for the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, will be among those providing an update on the ongoing work of the Central Coast Broadband Consortium.  Bayonet & Black Horse Grill, 1 McClure Way, Seaside, 11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.  Register now. Tickets: $30 at the door. (BIO)

SAVE THE DATE â€“ Friday, May 6: Celebration of Small Businesses in Monterey County. Details to be announced.

SAVE THE DATE â€“ Thursday, Oct. 27: Monterey County Business Council Annual Higher Education & Research Leadership Summit. Details to be announced.

SAVE THE DATE  â€“ Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017: Mark your calendar for next year's MCBC 22nd Anniversary Gala & Annual Economic Vitality Awards at the Hyatt Regency Monterey.

Copyright © 2016 Monterey County Business Council, All rights reserved.

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