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2nd Year of Promise Scholarship Provides Fee-Free Two-Years at Cuesta

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Cuesta College is further expanding access to higher education with the expansion of the Cuesta College Promise Scholarship to include a second year of fee-free education. San Luis Obispo County high school seniors graduating this year will be the first class eligible to obtain two full years of fee-free education at Cuesta College.

“We are very pleased to be able to welcome the class of 2018 and beyond to two years of fee-free college,” said Cuesta College Superintendent/President Dr. Gil Stork.

Launched in 2013, the Cuesta Promise has provided financial aid to nearly 3,000 San Luis Obispo County students. Initially, the purpose was to provide access to Cuesta College and included no restrictions. “Five years ago, the goal was to support those who never dreamed of being able to attend college because of the cost,” said Dr. Stork. “We wanted to make college accessible to everyone.”

Year two of the Cuesta Promise will include academic performance measures. To earn a second fee-free year, students must complete more than 50 percent of the units attempted, and earn a grade point average of 2.00 or higher during their first year on the Promise.

“Our goal is to both remove financial barriers and increase the number of local high school graduates attending and staying at Cuesta College,” said Dr. Stork.

The second year of the Promise is made possible by various funding sources. First, by the California College Promise Grant, formerly known as the Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOG). The California College Promise Grant provides eligible students enrolled at CA community college campuses with free tuition.

A second source of funding has been made possible by local donors. “Year two of the Cuesta College Promise is largely in part due to the members of our local community, who have stepped forward with private donations,” said Cuesta College Executive Director of Foundation and Advancement Shannon Hill. “In 2016, the effort to fundraise for a second year of the Promise was announced by Dr. Stork. Funding a second-year costs almost $10 million. The bar was set very high, but with Dr. Stork’s leadership, donations of almost $3 million have been received by the Foundation to date.”

Major campaign donors include the Harold J. Miossi Charitable Trust, the Estate of Mary Schwartz, the Estate of Laura Coats, Rick and Jill Stollmeyer, PG&E, and Dr. Grace Crittenden.

The third funding component is the recent passage of Assembly Bill 19, which has full funding included in CA Governor Jerry Brown’s 2018-2019 proposed budget. AB 19 pays for the tuition of first-time, full-time students. “AB 19 provides enough funding to allow the Foundation’s fundraising efforts to support year two,” said Hill.

Since 2013, Cuesta’s local high school graduate attendance rate went from 25 percent to more than 36 percent. Today, 90 percent of local graduates who attend Cuesta College immediately after graduating, come as Promise students. The class of 2017 saw 876 students attend Cuesta on the Promise, including 180 from Paso Robles High School, 130 from Atascadero High School, 123 from Arroyo Grande High School, 101 from San Luis Obispo High School, 80 from Morro Bay High School, 74 from Templeton High School, and 25 from Coast Union High School.

“Since the college launched the Cuesta Promise Scholarship, we have been monitoring the success of our Promise students in several categories, including units attempted, units completed, GPA, persistence from Fall to Spring, and persistence from Spring to the following Fall,” said Dr. Stork. “In almost all categories, Promise students outperform first time students who are not on the Promise Scholarship. The one area that remains unchanged is persistence from Spring to the following Fall. This is when the Promise Scholarship is no longer supporting a student’s education.”

Due to a private donation of $20,000, the Cambria Promise Scholarship was launched in the fall of 2016, allowing all graduates of Coast Union High School and Leffingwell High School to receive a fee-free second year at Cuesta College.

“What we have learned from the Cambria Promise is that students’ persistence from Spring to the following Fall is much higher than that of our Cuesta Promise students,” said Dr. Stork. “We find that many students on the Cuesta Promise can’t continue on without gaining employment or reducing their unit load, thus putting greater strain on their academic performance. Being able to support all local high school graduates with the opportunity to attend Cuesta College for two fee-free years – without financial burden – is our gift to the community.”

In order to obtain the Cuesta Promise Scholarship, students graduating this year must enroll in courses for the Fall 2018 semester and complete the steps for the Promise Scholarship by August 1st. Upon completion of the application process, fees will be waived for Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. If a student meets the academic expectations in year one, their fees will be waived again for year two.

The Cuesta Promise is the result of a donation of more than $8 million to the Cuesta College Foundation from the Charles and Leeta Dovica Family Trust, who requested the funds be used for scholarships. The scholarship endowment, created in the fall of 2013, currently saves students an average of $1,400 each year by paying for the per-unit cost of classes, health fees, Associated Students of Cuesta College fees, materials fees, Student Center fees, and the Student Rep fee. For questions about the Cuesta Promise Scholarship, call (805) 546-3153 or email promise@cuesta.edu or visit www.cuesta.edu/admissionsaid/cuestapromise/.

Founded in 1973, the Cuesta College Foundation connects private and corporate philanthropy with opportunities to support Cuesta College and its students. By doing so, Cuesta College can fulfill its promise to educate the community’s future business leaders, health care workers, teachers, engineers, scientists and first responders. For questions about the Foundation, call (805) 546-3279.

 

June 15, 2018 |

Chamber Trip to Spain & the Sunny Costa del Sol – March 2019

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CI Destinations along with Los Osos/Baywood Park Chamber of Commerce will be offering a fully escorted tour of Spain & the Sunny Costa del Sol March 20, 2019.

$2899 based on double occupancy

BROCHURE

Spain’s Costa del Sol stretches along just over 90 miles of the Malaga province and is one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations. The Costa del Sol is known for its beautiful landscapes, delicious food, all while experiencing the warmth of its people Here you will also discover a rich cultural heritage, fabulous beaches, coastal sites, and charming villages. On your tour you will travel to the nearby towns of Seville and Ronda to take in such sights as the Alcazar Palace and Plaza de Toros, the oldest bull ring in Spain. Your tour includes the #1 attraction in all of Spain, Granada and the Alhambra Palace. Visiting the Costa del Sol would not be complete without a tour to Gibraltar to view the infamous Rock of Gibraltar.

 

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 7 Nights at a 4 star hotel
  • Granada
  • Alhambra Palace
  • Generalife
  • Mijas
  • Seville
  • Plaza de Espana
  • Maria Luisa Park
  • Seville Cathedral
  • La Giralda
  • Ronda

INCLUSIONS:

  • Round Trip Airfare and Airport Transportation
  • Airline Fuel Surcharges, Taxes and Fees
  • 7 Nights First Class Hotel
  • 14 Meals (7B, 2L, 4D)
  • Sightseeing Per Itinerary
  • Admissions Per Itinerary
  • Professional Tour Manager
  • Baggage Handling
  • Hotel Transfers

$599 – Optional 2 night Madrid Extension – This tour includes transportation to Madrid, breakfast daily, Madrid city tour, and transportation to the airport. Sure to be a highlight will be the ancient buildings of the Barrio de la Moreria, the old Moorish quarter.

May 30, 2018 |

WDB Business Resource Guide

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This guide is a compilation of key resources and agencies throughout San Luis Obispo County that have services available for most of your business needs. The Business Resource Guide is intended to be an ever evolving tool and we encourage your feedback and input to ensure the data and contacts remain current and updated.

Download pdf or visit www.slocounty.ca.gov

May 25, 2018 |

What’s New at the County Assessor’s Office

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The Assessor, in collaboration with County IT, initiated the “Open Text Upgrade and Assessor Records Transformation” project. The project will continue throughout FY 2018-19. The project includes the scanning of over 2,200,000 paper documents in over 168,000 parcel files, the creation of a digital parcel file library within the OpenText document management environment, and developing many workflows combined with business process re-engineering to handle most of the Department’s work activities. Packing files in preparation for Shipment HAS BEGUN!!!

Packing files in preparation for Shipment HAS BEGUN!!!

How might this affect you?

  • May be a short delay in retrieving your file if it is off site being digitized.

How will it benefit you?

  • Access to all files for staff and property owners from either office location.
  • Better efficiencies for Staff.
  • Better service for you!
Note: Digital parcel file documents will not be available to property owners or the general public on the website.
When will the project be complete? June – July 2019
County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., Ste. D360, SLO, CA 93408 (805) 781-5643 Fax: (805) 781-5641 Web Site: slocounty.ca.gov/assessor
April 13, 2018 |

Tips for Cash-Strapped Small Businesses on How to Grow

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Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

As a small business owner, you may find yourself in a bit of a pickle in today’s competitive market: you feel like you need to grow in order to increase profits, but you don’t feel like you currently have the funds to do so. The good news is that there are ways to grow your business even if you are working on a limited budget. Here are some tips.

Look for alternative sources of funding

There’s no rule that says the only way to increase your cash reserves is through your business’ profits. If you’re looking for capital to grow, you should consider other options. Forbes suggests looking to friends and family, small business loans, and angel investors. The former must be treated with caution. There’s always a risk to personal relationships when you throw business and money into the mix. You might also consider approaching your local Small Business Development Center or similar organizations to help you plan and pay for growth. Another option to consider is crowdfunding. Sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe present a new funding opportunity for small businesses. If you have a good business idea, people will want to support it.

Be smart about hiring

If you’re going to hire employees, make sure you hire ones to manage your current workload and tasks first, before hiring employees for tasks and strategies you want to implement in the future. Employees are a major drain on your bottom line, so be shrewd. For example, you wouldn’t want to hire a marketing specialist if you’re already drowning in active projects.

Look to lower-cost labor. Interns are a great option for some growing businesses. You don’t have to pay interns as much (either in salary or in benefits) and by using interns you’re building your employee pool for when you do want to hire full-time.

Of course, there’s always the concept of sweat equity. You can take on much of the work yourself, boosting the value of your company by the sheer effort you put into it, saving money on employee costs.

Let your existing customers do the heavy lifting

Leveraging your loyal clientele is a low-cost way to help your business grow. Many business owners only focus on new customer acquisition when they think about growth, but this is a mistake. Your current customers are the best marketing resource that you have. Ask your customers to refer your business to others. If you go above and beyond for them, they will gladly do this for you. The more you impress your customers, the more likely they are to sing your praises on social media. Keep them engaged through email newsletters, Facebook, digital blog content, and more. Offer special offers, services, or financial incentives for drumming up business for you.

Try low-cost marketing techniques

Social media is only one low-cost marketing technique – and there are plenty more to consider. Try teaming up with other local businesses for cross-promotional events. Join local business advocacy groups. Sponsor a local event. Hold contests to give away excess inventory. Offer your services to a local charity group. When it comes to getting your business name out there, you have to think outside the box.

It’s tempting to go the traditional route when it comes to growing your business – high-cost TV and print advertising, inventory expansion, hiring a bigger team, etc. – even if it puts you into debt. But if you’re truly cash-strapped, you should first consider these low-cost ways to promote and grow your business: look for alternative funding, be conservative in your hiring practices, explore all sorts of marketing pathways, and lean on your loyal customers for promotion, partnerships, and referrals.

April 10, 2018 |

County Reports Good Financial Status in Second Quarter

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SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – The County of San Luis Obispo was in good financial shape at the end of the second quarter of this fiscal year, according to a recent report.

The County Administrative Office presented the Fiscal Year 2017-18 Second Quarter Financial Report to the Board of Supervisors at yesterday’s public meeting. The report provides an overview of the County’s financial position in the second quarter of the current fiscal year, which took place between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2017.

According to the report, the County’s spending levels and revenue streams were on par, for the most part, with last year. By the end of the second quarter, the County had received
$226.4 million or 37 percent of estimated revenue, which includes property and sales tax, collected license and permit fees, fines, forfeitures, penalties, and other financing sources. The County had only spent about 40 percent of the amount budgeted for expenses for the year at the end of the second quarter.

The County also received more than $75,000 in donations, which were designated to appropriate programs and services. Most County departments reported that their budgets were on track at the end of the second quarter. However, there were some areas of concern reported.

Some items of note for the second quarter included:

  • The County Behavioral Health Department expects a revenue shortfall at year-end.
  • The County’s actions to implement the State’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) has had a minimal impact on this year’s finances.
  • Airports reported a 30 percent increase in passenger boarding numbers.
  • Dairy Creek Golf Course’s lack of sufficient revenue will require a large subsidy from the General Fund, as authorized by the Board of Supervisors.
  • The County’s Department of Social Services reported more than $285,000 in unbudgeted expenses related to In-Home Support Services, due to shifts at the State level. But these will be offset by unexpected growth in various revenue sources.

The County is continuing to closely monitor expenses of the current fiscal year, as it expects a budget deficit next fiscal year. For more information, visit www.slocounty.ca.gov.

March 7, 2018 |

January 2018 Business of the Month – Los Osos Fitness

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Los Osos Fitness has been providing the community with exercise opportunities since 1994. Originally located at the old 10th Street Gym location, owner Terry Brown remodeled the old Miner’s Ace Hardware space and moved the gym to it’s current location in 2000.
Los Osos Fitness employs 36 fitness experts including manager Laura Watson, has almost 10% of the population as members, and over the years has provided the space, equipment and instruction for over 1.4 million workouts.

 

January 30, 2018 |

December 2017 Business of the Month – Jingle Bell Shoppe

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Jingle Bell Shoppe (owner Dee Corcoran) celebrates ALL the holidays – from the ones you would normally consider to all the others such as birthdays, anniversaries, new births, special events and accomplishments, or just plain having a good day.

Looking for a Los Osos Bear? Jingle Bell Shoppe is where you will find a unique teddy bear that provides special memories associated with Los Osos. Stop by for a visit Tuesday through Saturday at 1230-C Los Osos Valley Road!

January 15, 2018 |

New Hires: How Employers Can Find The Right Person For The Job

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The hiring process can be a long, tedious one for both employers and potential hires, and for many, it can be a frustrating one as well. Finding the right person for the job who also has a great work ethic and availability sometimes seems impossible, but for most companies, it’s imperative in order to keep standards high and turnover low.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do during the onboarding process to help things go smoothly and narrow down the field a bit. You’ll want to place an emphasis on the long-term goals of the job rather than focusing on the day-to-day tasks, in part so you can ascertain which applicants are willing to go the extra mile, but also to see what sort of ideas they have in regards to the future of the company and their role in it.

Whether you work with a large corporation or own a small business, here are some of the best tips on how to do just that.

Find out their long-term goals

Talk to your applicant about their long-term goals; where do they see themselves in five or ten years? Opening up the conversation about where they want to be in the foreseeable future will allow you to suss out whether they’re right for the job.

It’s also important to talk about the long-term goals of the position itself. While you’ll want to take into consideration which specific skills the applicant has, you need to also look into the future a bit to see the big picture. Don’t focus solely on the day-to-day tasks; rather, take into consideration whether the individual has what it takes to lead the position to success.

“Achieving goals is often about making tradeoffs when things don’t go as planned. Employees need to understand the bigger picture to make those tradeoffs when things go wrong,” says Professor Linda Hill of Harvard Business School.

A great example would be if you were to hire a contractor; of course you want assurance that he or she can do all the individual tasks the job requires, but the long-term goals are of concern, as well. What sort of milestones can he or she set within the job, and what is the timeline for those? How will any problems be handled should they arise? Will they be able and willing to work with others to achieve their goal? There are many questions involved during the hiring process; you can find out more in regards to finding the right contractor for the job here.

In short, you can train just about anyone to perform most tasks, but it takes a special person to fit all the requirements of a position with long-term goals.

Be specific

One of the best ways you can make the hiring process go smoothly is to ensure you’re as specific as possible when it’s time to write out the job description, especially if you’re posting it online for candidates to read before applying. Studies have shown that when companies give a specific job listing and include what they can do for the employee–rather than the other way around–they attract a higher number of positively-rated applicants than the companies that list their needs and demands.

Consider the applicant’s other skills

While it’s certainly attractive to potential employers when an applicant has all the necessary skills for the job at hand, it’s important not to forget about the other skillsets: social, emotional, and the ability to communicate. After all, a person with experience in the field may be terrible with clients because he can’t put them at ease, while an individual without much training but great interpersonal skills can be taught how to perform day-to-day tasks easily.

Remember that the hiring process can be overwhelming at times and can lead to stress, so try not to take too much onto yourself. Ask for help when you need it to avoid becoming burnt out, and when all else fails, try a new tactic during the hiring process.

 

January 10, 2018 |
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