San Bernardino County benefits from a variety of growing industries, all in need of qualified workers. These industries include logistics and supply chain management, healthcare, alternative energy development, transportation, and hospitality. There is also a growing demand for professional services jobs to support many of these same industries.
The role of San Bernardino County’s Workforce Development Department (WDD) and Workforce Development Board (WDB) is to ensure these industries can grow and thrive.
Both William Sterling, San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board Chair, and Brad Gates,
San Bernardino County Workforce Development Director, share that San Bernardino County’s WDD offers a variety of programs and resources for both employers and job seekers.
Here’s how. Through WDD, job seekers can identify potential career opportunities and get the appropriate training and skills needed. It also works closely with employers to identify the skills they’re looking for in employees. A major benefit is that these programs are funded through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. In addition, the WDB operates San Bernardino County’s three America's Job Centers of California (AJCCs), which provide individuals with job training, placement, and the tools to strengthen their skills to achieve a higher quality of life.
To effectively train and create job opportunities for County residents, it starts by understanding the needs of employers. The County’s Business Services team is in constant contact with businesses to ensure it’s developing a skilled workforce that meets their growth needs. One of WDB’s more popular programs – On-The-Job Training (OJT) – will pay up to half an employee’s salary while he or she is training for a new position. Other programs, available through its AJCCs, help job seekers with skills assessment, identifying career paths, creating, and updating resumes, and preparing for job interviews. There is also virtual training, available online through WDB’s website.
“We also produce up-to-date labor market intelligence, and services that help businesses identify strategies for success, including on-site assessments of needed employment and training and resources that might be available to them,” adds Sterling.
“We’re in a unique position here in San Bernardino County. We’re one of the fastest-growing population centers in the state, which has helped elevate our workforce to more than one million. We’re also one of the youngest population centers in the U.S., with a median age nearly five years younger than the national average. So not only is our current labor pool one of the most dynamic in California, but our pipeline of future workers is growing at a record pace. Businesses see this, and want to come to San Bernardino County,” says Gates.
Looking ahead, the County and WDB recognize that many high-growth industries need workers trained and skilled in trade occupations – jobs that don’t necessarily require a four-year college education but do demand additional training above and beyond traditional high school coursework. As a result, WDB sees a return to vocational training at the high school level, as well as career pathways specifically tied to some of the County’s key industries. Local colleges – community and four-year – also offer students the opportunity to identify and pursue careers in high-growth industries, often in partnership with businesses.
“Our workforce team is actively involved in helping promote these partnerships – the InTech Center in Fontana serving as one notable example. Continuing to nurture and create workable partnerships between education and the business community will continue to be one of our biggest challenges and opportunities moving forward as we build a 21st-century workforce,” says Gates.
Both Gates and Sterling are bullish on the County’s future thanks to its position as one of the fastest-growing population centers in the country, a quality of life that is attracting more and more residents (and workers) from Los Angeles and Orange counties, a local leadership that supports business and job growth, and a mobility infrastructure that brings workers and their jobs closer together than ever.
As Sterling adds, “We’ve got youth, great schools, and a commitment to preparing the next generation of workers for high-demand career opportunities, which, in turn, is attracting more businesses to our region.”
The County’s future looks bright, and the WDD and WDB are there to ensure it remains that way.