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Opinion

High Desert Training Center Targets In-Demand Skills Training

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OPINION

By Phillip Cothran, San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board Chair

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 — San Bernardino, CA — As we continue to enjoy one of the tightest labor markets in recent history, including a situation where the number of open jobs exceeds the number of people looking for work, we find that many industries in the county, especially manufacturing, are still finding it a challenge to fill open jobs.

A shortage of workers is not just a county challenge, but is a recognized national issue.

According to the 2018 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute Skills Gap and Future of Work study, as recently as August 2018, there were 508,000 open jobs in U.S. manufacturing, part of the best annual job sector gain in more than 20 years. While the job gains are positive indications that the industry continues to recover from the Great Recession and reflect strong production levels, it also means that finding talent with the right skills to fill the open jobs could reach crisis proportions.

The study further reveals that most manufacturers believe that the No. 1 cause of the skills shortage is “shifting skill set due to the introduction of new advanced technology and automation,” followed by “negative perception of students/their parents toward the manufacturing industry.” Baby boomer retirements complete the top three causes of today’s skills shortages, according to manufacturing executives.

San Bernardino County’s Workforce Development Board (WDB) released its Labor Market Intelligence Report earlier this year and found some of the same issues as it relates to sector growth in key industries for the region: transportation, logistics and manufacturing.

The study noted that in 2017, the transportation sector accounted for around six percent of San Bernardino County employment. Since 2010, employment in transportation has grown by approximately 27 percent, which is in line with the sector’s growth at the state level. However the report further noted that the transportation sector has created more jobs than the locally available talent pool can accommodate. Based on this data, the transportation industry has pulled in more workers from the county resident pool and it has had to go outside the county to fill vacancies, increasing the percentage of county transportation workers who don’t reside in the county.

This trend is also impacting our local manufacturing industry. In 2017, the manufacturing sector accounted for around nine percent of all jobs in both San Bernardino County and the State of California. Although historically declining, manufacturing employment has grown 22.5 percent since 2010 in the county (CA, 6 percent and U.S., 8 percent). The industry in the county has been growing at three times the pace of the industry’s growth in the rest of the state. To meet that need, the report found that, from 2012 to 2017, the number of manufacturing workers commuting from Los Angeles County to San Bernardino County doubled. In this case, we are importing workers to meet county demand.

The WDB is working proactively to look at ways to both upskill existing talent as well as create a pipeline of workers for our region’s growth industries to ensure they are able to thrive and expand in the county.

A major initiative to help meet this challenge is a new High Desert Training Center at Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) in the city of Victorville set to open in early 2020.

Stirling Capital Investments (SCI) and Prologis, Inc. entered into a 10-year agreement with the Victor Valley Community College (VVCC) to donate an existing building at SCLA for a 10-year term. At the new center, VVCC will facilitate hands-on training programs to better prepare the High Desert region’s workforce in the skills identified as in demand by local businesses.

Victor Valley Community College Superintendent-President Daniel Walden, Ph.D, who will be operating the new High Desert Training Center, notes that this is an opportunity to work with local High Desert industries such as avionics, manufacturing, building materials and mining. For all of these industries there are common skills required when seeking workers. The High Desert Training Center can provide this basic level of training referred to as mechatronics, a multidisciplinary branch of engineering that focuses on the engineering of both electrical and mechanical systems, and also includes a combination of robotics, electronics, computer, telecommunications, systems, control, and product engineering. These skills sets, along with specialized training, are all part of the offerings at the planned High Desert center. Walden says businesses gain a significant advantage by employing workers who already have an important knowledge base that they can build upon.

The creation of the High Desert Training Center underscores an important part of the workforce solution. For our county to have a strong, skilled and abundant workforce requires an ecosystem in which public and private stakeholders work side by side to develop and train a workforce prepared for career opportunities.

The benefits for all involved are numerous.

For Prologis, this type of community-based partnership is an extension of its commitment to deliver superior customer service to its tenants while strengthening local communities, enhancing regional economies and helping tenants located within its buildings to address labor needs and expand their talent pipelines. Moreover, Prologis and SCI recognize that an added benefit of having this training center housed at SCLA helps support current and future tenants by providing an in-place workforce as well as training for additional skills that could be useful in the advancement of their manufacturing procedures. As an educator, VVCC can now expand its impact by forming more relationships with local employers. These partnerships can also help to convince prospective students that they can find jobs at the end of their studies. The county benefits from the growth of a local training institution that provides more career options for residents through high-quality career and technical education.

Looking ahead, the WDB welcomes the opportunity to celebrate the grand opening of this new training center as well as increasing opportunities to partner with education and the private sector to propel our county economy forward.

 

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

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Business

Partners in Action: How CalOSBA is bridging the gap in funding and resources for Inland Empire small businesses

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By Josaline Cuesta, California Program Director, Small Business Majority & IEBJ Content Contributor

For Tara Lynn Gray, Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA), entrepreneurship has always been a core principle of her life. Her journey as an advocate for small businesses wasn’t built on textbooks, but on her family’s roots in small business ownership. As a young girl, she watched her grandmother empower and elevate Black women’s presences by styling their hair and instilling confidence in their personhood. She witnessed the direct impact of small businesses on community members in real time, and that’s always stayed with Tara.

As a key partner of Small Business Majority, she stands as a champion for the dreamers and risk-takers; the pillars of the communities across California and in the Inland Empire. I chatted with her to share more about her work at CalOSBA, what entrepreneurs can expect when they meet with a CalOSBA advisor, and the resources and community support available to help boost entrepreneurship in the Golden State.

Tell us about CalOSBA’s role in the small business community.

“California has the biggest small business community in the country, accounting for 4.1 million small businesses in 2023 alone. The overwhelming majority have no employees at all, except themselves, which means they don’t have a Board of Directors, expensive consultants, and they definitely don’t have lobbyists. I take my role as their advocate seriously, talking with and listening to small business owners from up and down the state. During the pandemic, we were under a very bright spotlight, administering nearly $5 billion in direct relief funding and we’re proud of the grant programs we still oversee. But that’s only a small part of what we do at CalOSBA.

My team connects small business owners to information and resources to help them get started, manage their business and, most importantly, to grow. If they’re looking for help, we want to be the first door they knock on. In addition, we offer Outsmart Disaster training, which focuses on how to mitigate risks associated with natural disasters and recovery avenues available to them. I always say the flagship of our office is our support for the statewide network of Small Business Centers, providing 1:1 business assistance and training for small business owners of all industries and in dozens of languages. In addition, supporting partners that deliver these services–all the federally funded centers like the Small Business Development Centers and the Women’s Business Centers but also Chambers of Commerce and other nonprofits—is a core function of my office. And a big source of pride because we know what a difference they make for their clients.”

What can small business owners expect from meeting with a California Small Business Center advisor?

“Small business owners can expect to meet someone who is fully invested in them. Our Centers cover the full spectrum of business needs, from writing a business plan and obtaining the right permits and licenses, to finding capital, planning a succession strategy and marketing to e-commerce. Our business advisors provide the experience and the objective perspective to help business owners optimize their best assets: ideas, energy, and ability to keep adapting and learning. And they do it because they love helping other people succeed. What’s more, business ownership can become isolating and it may be challenging for entrepreneurs to find assistance. But they don’t have to go at it alone–and they shouldn’t, when these no-cost and low-cost services are available to them.”

What’s the most rewarding part of your role at CalOSBA?

“I always say I have the best job in the state. And it’s because I frequently have the honor to watch someone’s dream come true. I love a ribbon-cutting ceremony–Every time, big or small. It means someone dreamed of accomplishing something and worked hard for it: They opened the doors to their business, they made a sale, and hopefully they will hire their first employee and then it’s off to the races. But no matter what happens to that business, that ribbon-cutting is a milestone they made happen for themselves. There are many other events I get invited to, where you can just see the hope and pride, and even fear in their faces. I’m often overwhelmed by the sheer emotion of it, and I’m always humbled that I get to participate in that person’s big milestone.”

What are some new programs that can benefit small business owners in the Inland Empire?

“The number one question my office gets asked is how to access small business financing. To help address this key need, we’re launching the Technical Assistance for Capital Readiness program this February. The program is part of a bigger effort to fill well-known funding gaps in the state to benefit very small businesses and Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individuals (SEDI). Through investments from the U.S. Treasury, the State Treasurer’s Office and IBank, the program is going to support lenders to facilitate “high risk” loans that they normally would not approve.

In addition to supporting lenders, my office also received $25.3 million in U.S. Treasury funding to start the new Capital Readiness network. The Capital Readiness Coaches in this network will help business owners get ready for the lending marketplace, help them make the best choices in a high interest-rate environment, and optimize the use of the capital once they receive it. The network is also designed to help spread the word about this opportunity to these SEDI-owned businesses, and some of those partners will be focused on supporting the Inland Empire small business ecosystem.”

How can business owners get in touch with CalOSBA?

“That’s simple! Check out calosba.ca.gov and sign up for our monthly newsletter, where I write a column and showcase success stories from our network, along with deadlines and updates on grant and workforce support programs. We’re also on social media, so I would encourage business owners to check out all of our channels.”

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Opinion

BNBuilders’ Scott Augustine Leads the Company’s Expansion into the Inland Empire

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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Residing in the Inland Empire for nearly a decade, Scott seamlessly integrates his professional expertise with a personal dedication to regional progress. With an extensive 20+ year career in construction, he has played a vital role in shaping BNBuilders’ presence in the Inland Empire’s landscape. Notably, his impactful contributions to UC Riverside and his current involvement in the development of the Chámmakilawish Pechanga School for the Pechanga Band of Indians. This endeavor reflects his commitment to projects that not only enhance the built environment but also contribute to local education and well-being.

Since joining BNBuilders in 2020, Scott has brought valuable knowledge and leadership to the team. His impressive professional qualifications underscore his dedication to safety, sustainability, and maintaining the highest standards in construction practices.

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Career & Workplace

California’s Population Decline Continues to Hammer Labor Supply

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State’s Workforce Contracts Again In Latest Numbers; Unemployment Rate Ticks Up 

California’s labor market grew modestly in the latest numbers. Total nonfarm employment in the state expanded by 8,700 positions in September, according to an analysis released today by Beacon Economics. August’s gains were also revised down to 8,900, a 19,000 decrease from the preliminary estimate of 27,900.

As of September 2023, California has recovered all of the jobs that were lost in March and April 2020 (the beginning of the pandemic), and there are now 436,400 more people employed in the state compared to pre-pandemic February 2020. Since that time, total nonfarm employment in California has grown 2.5% compared to a 3.0% increase nationally. On an annual basis, California increased payrolls by 1.7% from September 2022 to September 2023, trailing the 2.1% increase at the national level over the same period.

California’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.7% in the latest numbers, up 0.1 percentage points from the previous month. The state’s unemployment rate remains elevated relative to the 3.8% rate in the United States overall. Moreover, California continues to struggle with its labor supply, which fell by 17,700 in September, a decrease of 0.1% on a month-over-month basis. Since February 2020, the state’s labor force has contracted by 216,300 workers, a 1.1% decline.

“Census figures released this week reveal the extent to which households continue to leave California,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics. “The state’s population has fallen by half a million people over the past three years and this is filtering through to the economy, where the labor force has shrunk and employers are struggling to find workers.”

Industry Profile  

  • At the industry level, job gains were mixed in the latest numbers. The Health Care sector led the way with payrolls expanding by 18,200, an increase of 0.7% on a month-over-month basis. With these gains, Health Care payrolls are now 9.6% above their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Leisure and Hospitality was the next best-performing sector, adding 11,300 jobs, a month-over-month increase of 0.5%. With these gains Leisure and Hospitality payrolls are now 0.4%, or 8,500 jobs, above their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Other sectors posting strong gains during the month were Retail Trade (3,100 or 0.2%), Construction (2,200 or 0.2%), Real Estate (600 or 0.2%), and Management (500 or 0.2%).
  • Payrolls decreased in a handful of sectors in September. Information experienced the largest declines, with payrolls falling by 7,300, a contraction of 1.3% on a month-over-month basis. However, this decline was driven by the strikes in the Motion Picture and Sound Recording sub-sector, which has shed 30,800 positions over the last year, a 18.2% decline.
  • Other sectors posting declines during the month were Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (-5,900 or -0.4%), Administrative Support (-5,500 or -0.5%), Manufacturing (-4,600 or -0.3%), Finance and Insurance (-2,200 or -0.4%), Other Services (-1,100 or -0.2%), and Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (-500 or -0.1%).

Regional Profile

  • Regionally, job gains were led by Southern California in September. Los Angeles (MD) experienced the largest increase, with payrolls growing by 8,700 (0.2%) during the month. The Inland Empire (5,900 or 0.4%), Orange County (5,400 or 0.3%), San Diego (1,400 or 0.1%), and Ventura (800 or 0.3%) also enjoyed job gains. Over the past year, Orange County (2.1%) has seen the fastest job growth in the region, followed by Los Angeles (MD) (2.0%), El Centro (1.8%), Ventura (1.7%), San Diego (1.5%), and the Inland Empire (0.7%).
  • In the San Francisco Bay Area, growth was mixed. San Rafael (MD) (1,000 or 0.9%) and Santa Rosa (1,00 or 0.5%) enjoyed the largest increase during the month. Vallejo (600 or 0.4%) also saw payrolls expand. On the other hand, San Francisco (MD) (-4,100 or -0.3%), San Jose (-1,800 or -0.2%), the East Bay (-1,600 or -0.1%), and Napa (-300 or -0.4%) all experienced payroll declines during the month. Over the past 12 months, Santa Rosa (3.4%) has had the fastest job growth in the region, followed by San Rafael (MD) (3.0%), the East Bay (2.0%), Vallejo (1.9%), San Francisco (MD) (1.4%), San Jose (1.3%), and Napa (0.5%).
  • In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly job gains with payrolls expanding by 2,200 (0.2%) positions in September. Payrolls in Bakersfield (700 or 0.2%), Modesto (700 or 0.4%), Redding (500 or 0.7%), Visalia (400 or 0.3%), Stockton (200 or 0.1%), and Chico (100 or 0.1%) also jumped during the month. On the other hand, Madera (-300 or -0.7%) and Merced (-100 or -0.1%) had payrolls decline. Over the past year, Yuba (2.6%) has enjoyed the fastest growth, followed by Hanford (2.4%), Fresno (2.3%), Sacramento (2.1%), Visalia (1.4%), Chico (1.3%), Bakersfield (1.0%), Madera (0.7%), Stockton (0.7%), Modesto (0.2%), Redding (0.0%), and Merced (-3.6%).
  • On California’s Central Coast, Santa Barbara (400 or 0.2%) added the largest number of jobs in September. Salinas (300 or 0.2%) and Santa Cruz (100 or 0.1%) also saw payrolls increase during the month. On the other hand, payrolls in San Luis Obispo declined (-300 or -0.2%). From September 2022 to September 2023, Salinas (4.2%) added jobs at the fastest rate, followed by San Luis Obispo (3.1%), Santa Barbara (2.9%), and Santa Cruz (1.7%).
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