Kern County Is the Most Affordable Urban Area in California

Kern County’s cost of living for the first quarter of 2018 Cost of Living Index was 100.8, making it the least expensive urban area in the state of California!  Approximately 267 urban centers across the U.S. participated in the latest COLI report. The study measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items for which prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and university applied economic centers in each participating urban area. Bakersfield is the largest city and county seat of Kern County. Bakersfield has benefited in many ways by being consistently among the most affordable cities in California.

STEM Literacy Takes on Greater Importance to Bakersfield Women

A recent study by The Brookings Institute reported that 17.9 percent of Kern County’s jobs are linked to STEM literacy. In fact, Bakersfield ranks fourth nationally as a STEM job region. In a 2016 survey of U.S. businesses considering expansion or relocation, the No. 1 concern was the availability of skilled labor, above and beyond the labor costs and other related expenses. Locations with high STEM literacy are attractive to technology companies currently located in areas of the state that are significantly more expensive—like the Silicon Valley—in terms of the cost of doing business and also employee living costs. A skilled STEM job on average pays in excess of $72,000 annually in Kern County while non-STEM jobs average only $37,000. As the fastest-growing segment of the workforce, women with a STEM-focused skillset will be increasingly important in the local job market. A unique challenge is that young women have to embrace STEM training through high school and on to college, but the reality is women’s interest in STEM falters as they progress through high school and into college. Parents need to encourage their daughters to pursue STEM.

Your Drug Store, Inc. Celebrates 40th Anniversary

In an age of industry consolidation, when “big box” pharmacies dominate the landscape, it’s refreshing to see a third generation family owned and operated pharmacy like Your Drug Store, Inc., which still offers a smile and kind words to its longtime customers. The patriarch, William A. Attmiller, though long retired, still drops into the store from time to time. He’ll celebrate his 90th birthday on Aug. 17.

According to Elizabeth Attmiller, current generation operator, William would often say, “I always felt that greeting customers was an important job. They’re like family to us.”

At a time when many independents were selling out to chains, they knew that the community they had supported for so long would continue to support them. The Attmiller family ultimately spawned five licensed pharmacists. Today, Elizabeth and her brother Will run the pharmacy. Their niche in East Bakersfield is enriched by a legion of appreciative and loyal customers.

“Grandpa always liked the pharmacy,” Elizabeth says. “He insisted it was a great way to give back and help the community.”

It’s been such a strong part of her heritage, they have no thoughts of selling out.