San Bernardino County

San Bernardino County is experiencing strong economic growth, leaders said.

As businesses and residents continue to be priced out of Southern California's coastal communities, San Bernardino County is experiencing growth across a number of economic indicators.

This and other information about the county's positive attributes was delivered to more than 1,000 business, community and government leaders at the 2018 San Bernardino County Regional Business Summit and State of the County event recently.

"If you are between the ages of 15 and 50, the opportunities in this County are incredible," Robert Lovingood, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. "We continue to be the only region in the state that is attracting millennials, and that is a factor that is allowing us to grow and add jobs. Businesses can attract talent here."

Along with an opening message by Lovingood, the event shared data about the region's growth supported by business executive commentary, including the fact that San Bernardino County is leading job growth in Southern California, ahead of Orange and Los Angeles counties.

"Milken Institute, in its 2017 rankings, showed the Riverside-San Bernardino Metro surged forward. Out of 200 national metros, it is now top 25. This is not just driven by housing and construction, it is being driven by a greater variety of jobs," said Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute's Center for Regional Economics and California Center.

One of the county's local success stories, Kids that Code, is an example of that growth. Pat Person, executive director of Kids That Code, started the company with colleagues at the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at Cal State San Bernardino, a top 35 global program for fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.

"Students that go through our computer training programs will be instrumental as building blocks for a tech community in our County," said Person.

Career pathways are also in place at Apple Valley High School. The school's award-winning Medical and Health Science Technology (MAHST) Academy is an example of how the county is building a sustainable workforce. The MAHST program was recognized as a 2017 California Partnership Academies' Distinguished Academy. MASHT is a four-year program that provides high school students with training and classes to achieve industry certifications and internships, further preparing them for college and a career.

Additional county attributes include the growth of Ontario International Airport.

"LAX needs a stronger Ontario Airport because LAX is running out of capacity. Ontario could be positioned as the key long-haul airport for Southern California," added Klowden. The airport, now under local county control, has added new service with Frontier Airlines and China Airlines.

New ideas are also being incubated in the county on the campus of world-class health sciences center Loma Linda University Health at N3eight. This new center is working with 10 start-ups seeking to launch medical innovations ranging from equipment used in surgery to wellness diagnostic tools to treating cancer.

"This is a great environment for biotech companies to start, grow and develop deep roots," said Michael R. Samardzija, PhD, JD, associate vice president of research development, Loma Linda University Health.

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