SB County Job Training, Now Taking Applications
Aug 8, 2013 | Precinct Reporter | By Dianne Anderson
Teens and youth 17 to 21 that act fast can get a summer job, maybe pick up a few bucks for some new clothes before the next school year starts. Or, for those out of school, pick up a new career.
Miguel McQueen, deputy director of the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Department, said that locally, construction and related industries are still strong areas of job growth, as well as manufacturing, transportation and logistics.
Openings for 503 job training positions will be administered through this year’s youth readiness providers, which include Apple Valley Unified School District, Career Institute, Chino Valley Unified School District, Colton Redlands Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program, Family Service Association, First Institute, Gang Reduction Intervention Team, Goodwill Industries Southern California, Hesperia Unified School District, Mojave River Academy, Needles Center for Change, Operation New Hope, and the Provisional Accelerated Learning Center.
In nearly every sector, Mr. McQueen said the Workforce Investment Board feels that job experience with the changing technology is important to the future of decent wages. Coming out of high school, many students, both male and female, do not realize that they can earn up to $70,000 as a machinist. But the work is not anything like their grandfather’s blue collar job.
“Everything is computerized now, you still have to have a guy or girl to run the machine, but they have to have a medium skill level to program it in the machine to do the cutting,” he said. “You still need precision machinery, depending on the type of industry within manufacturing.”
The WIB job training program started July 1, runs until June 30, 2014, and will help students train within a variety of industries and fields. It is followed by a year of monitoring services to make sure youth stay on track toward their career.
For the most part, the Workforce Development Board tries to point students into the strongest industries with the most potential. The service sector is one area that always seems strong for hires, but it does not provide a sustainable and livable wage.
“No disrespect to fast food or convenience store jobs because people need those too, but we need to get people better paying jobs and on path to a career,” he said.
Overall, healthcare is also not growing at a fast rate despite upcoming healthcare reform, even as millions more underinsured enter the system. With the exception of high skilled positions, like nurses, high medical technology fields, and doctors, he said he doesn’t expect much by way jobs growth in the medical field at the entry level.
While the industry is not laying off, the question is whether programs can ramp up the Affordable Care Act in time without increased funding to handle the increase in medical need.
“The healthcare industry is struggling with how to serve everyone , how to pay for it, with more bodies in the system. Do they have it in their budgets? That’s the trick,” he said.
McQueen said the Workforce Development Board works with youths to connect them with work programs like the Westside PAL Center, where they are encouraged finish school, or receive certification to get a real job.
By the time the program is over, he expects about 450 participants, maybe more, to be certificated. The rest will have returned to finish up their high school diploma or equivalent, and on to higher education, which is also a priority for the program.
He commended program providers, who go out knocking on business doors to find the jobs, and also their business partners that sometimes go out on a limb to hire the youths. Some teens are not quite familiar with the workforce environment. Others aren’t aware that they should wear a belt.
But there are success stories, he said. There are young people that have had their lives turned around from the street mentality.
“The strength of the youth program — it’s sort of mushy — is that once businesses have invested in the young person, they keep them because they see the power of change they’ve made in a young person’s life,” he said. For information on job training positions, contact 1 (800) 451-JOBS or see, www.csb-win.org