(Photo by Bill Husa)
Overview: After years of cutbacks, downsizing and closures in the local economy, the news about Milestone is something to celebrate.
It’s been a long time since Chico or Butte County got the kind of news it received this fall about new jobs. It wasn’t about a big-box store or a national clothing company coming in, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
But they’re not like a tech company, and that’s what Milestone Technologies is. The company answers questions and finds solutions for tech product owners in distress and expects to have 340 employees working around the clock at the business headquarters near Chico Municipal Airport.
While Milestone has settled in Chico, those jobs are great for residents of anywhere in the tri-county region. Chico is a short drive wherever home is, and at nearly twice the minimum wage, the pay is hefty enough to tackle the commute costs.
Even better, these jobs also come with benefits.
The jobs require some specialization and understanding tech products, but also just being friendly and helpful to those stuck with a problem.
Milestone’s airport industrial park location was formerly occupied by another Chico tech success, Build.com, which moved to south Chico.
We shake our heads in amazement. After years of belt tightening, downsizing and closures, for Chico to welcome several hundred new jobs to town is huge news.
What do we have here to deserve that kind of return?
We have a good workforce. We have two excellent educational facilities in Butte College and Chico State University. This area is close to the Bay Area, mountains and ocean fun, and the price of homes and other items are relatively inexpensive.
This is a small corner of the state, where quality of life is key and it’s not all about the money. Those are important values to many, especially those wanting to start or add to their families.
Long before Milestone even had a second thought about Chico, local economic development and city officials had targeted technology jobs as a good match for the workforce.
Economic development professionals have welcomed and courted businesses, partnering with city officials who know the value of a job to the community. At this point, we wonder about the economic development process in Chico, with the lead city official for economic development among those getting pink slips.
As has been pointed out before, maybe the treasure can be found in those who grew up here, perhaps attended Chico State University, and left for better job opportunities.
Now they want to come back to a place like Chico, or Oroville, or Orland or Paradise, places that offer a more sane way of life.
That’s the course that Milestone founder Prem Chand took. Raised in Biggs and schooled here, he headed down to the Bay Area for further education. Creating a company down there, he found the area and the workforce somewhat lacking in what he thought was important.
But he remembered this area, and now we have 340 more jobs than we had before.
That’s a good formula for success.
The original story can be found on the ChicoER website at http://www.chicoer.com/editorials/ci_24443949/editorial-huge-employer-great-county
Milestone Technologies, headquartered in Fremont, Calif, was founded by Prem Chand in 1997. The company provides customized IT solutions to some of the world’s most well-known companies, such as eBay, Facebook, Google and many others. Milestone is a global company with more than 1,000 employees serving clients in Europe, Asia, and Canada.