A reception to officially launch a new center designed to provide the San Joaquin Valley with focused economic research and educational resources on economics will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the Smittcamp Alumni House at California State University, Fresno

Among the new center’s emphasis is the publication of a quarterly report detailing economic conditions in the Valley.

Dr. Antonio Avalos, assistant professor of economics, is the center’s research director. During a brief program Tuesday, he will provide introductory information about the center. Also speaking from the Economics Department will be Dr. Don Leet and Dr. Janice Peterson, the center’s education director; Dr. Edward Birdyshaw and Dr. Eric Tymoigne, on measuring economic performance in the Central Valley; and Dr. Va Nee L. Van Vleck, on the center’s current and future work.

Provost Jeri Echeverria, Dr. Luz Gonzalez, Dean of the College of social Sciences, and Dr. Sasan Fayazmanesh, chair of the Economics Department, also will make comments.

The mission of CERECC is to integrate and utilize the expertise of the Department of Economics on a broader regional basis. The center’s goal is to enhance economic development in the region through the promotion of high-quality economic research and economic education. To realize this goal, the center provides economic research in issues relevant to the Central Valley and brings this information to local educators and to the community.

The research activities of the center will help improve the Valley’s economy by providing a means for exploring the root causes of unemployment, pollution, poverty, and a host of other issues. It will provide policymakers with alternatives they can consider and implement to address these issues.

The education activities of the center will advance the level of economic understanding in the community. A three-way university-business-public school partnership allows the center to offer economic education programs for teachers in the Central Valley’s school systems, and for future teachers enrolled at Fresno State.

The ongoing projects of CERECC’s research division include a study of the economic impact of a living wage ordinance in Fresno; assessing the economic impact of a local preference ordinance in Fresno; an Index of Economic Indicators for the Central Valley; a study estimating the willingness-to-pay for open spaces in the Fresno-Clovis metropolitan area; and estimation of gross regional product for the San Joaquin Valley. The last project involves deriving statistics that measure the overall income of each of the eight counties comprising the San Joaquin Valley.

More information on the center is available at http://www.fresnostate.edu/craig/depts-programs/econ/cerecc/ .