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The ‘Strong Workforce Program’ Launched Three Years Ago; How is it doing today?

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OPINION: By Vanessa Thomas, associate dean of the program at Chaffey College, explains.

The Ways of Work

California launched the Strong Workforce Program in 2016, investing $248 million per year to lift low-wage workers into living-wage jobs by creating workforce development programs at 113 California community colleges.

How is it doing three years later and how is it helping students and employers in the Inland Empire?

Vanessa Thomas, associate dean of the program at Chaffey College, explains.

Q: What is a Strong Workforce?

A: Strong Workforce satisfies the emerging needs of the industry by giving the students the skillsets they need to qualify for living-wage jobs. Students get hands-on training with state-of-the-art equipment currently being used in the field so they can transition seamlessly from the classroom into entry-level jobs. This ultimately bridges the skills gap between labor and industry. This program has seen great success throughout the state, including where I serve at Chaffey College. We awarded more than 2,000 career and technical education degrees and certificates – programs under Strong Workforce – in May. This represents a nearly 40 percent increase from five years ago. And the success rates for our students taking these courses is about 10 percent higher than students taking other courses.

Q: What are the top six job areas in the Inland Empire?

A: Students interested in pursuing in-demand careers in this region should consider college majors that encompass:

  • Advanced manufacturing – including industrial maintenance and robotics technicians, machinists, and welders
  • Advanced transportation and logistics
  • Business and entrepreneurship
  • Energy, construction, and utilities
  • Healthcare
  • Information communication technology and digital media – including cybersecurity

Q: How are Strong Workforce programs different than other programs at community colleges?

A: Strong Workforce programs are intended to make students qualified for a job right after earning an associate’s degree or certificate. But they don’t have to stop there. These students have the option to continue on to earn bachelor’s and other advanced degrees for even better jobs.

Q: What lies in the future for the industry in the Inland Empire?

A: Our No. 1 industry here in the Inland Empire is logistics. The future of the logistics industry is automation, which is kind of scary because that means that some lower-skilled workers could lose their jobs. But we have alternatives for them to be retrained in a skillset that will allow them to feed their families. We can train them in mechatronics and industrial automation because that’s where it’s going. Then students can design, build and maintain that equipment.

Q: Can students actually get good jobs on associate’s degrees alone?

A: Yes. We’ve had students earn management positions in the auto industry, journalism internships with the Walt Disney Company, industrial electrical technician positions with California Steel Industries and more. And that’s just with an associate’s degree. Some of these students who have gone on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees have been hired or promoted to even higher-paying jobs in their chosen fields.

 

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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By Press Release

Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions™ Opens in Redlands 

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Asurion® Repair Experts Provide Fast Fixes on Phones, Tablets, Laptops, and More

A new electronics repair shop, Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions™, has opened in Redlands at 9980 Alabama St. The store offers professional fixes for most consumer electronics, from smartphones, tablets, and computers to game consoles, smart speakers, drones, and more.

While common repairs include cracked screens, battery issues, and water damage, the company’s repair experts have fixed millions of devices and can help with most any tech mishap, and many basic repairs can be completed in 45 minutes or less.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to introduce Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions to Redlands as we continue to serve this region,” said Damon Madison, Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions District Manager. “Our team prioritizes customer satisfaction above all else. By offering free diagnostics on all device issues, matching competitors’ prices, and guaranteeing fast-turnarounds on device repairs, we’re dedicated to making our customers’ experience affordable and convenient.”

The store’s expert repair technicians fix all kinds of technology, regardless of make or model, and the store is an authorized repair provider for Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel smartphones. Customers can book a repair appointment online or stop by the store for walk-in service. The store offers free, no-obligation diagnostics on all gadgets, as well as a 1-year limited warranty on all repairs. It even offers a price match guarantee on any local competitor’s regularly published price for the same repair.

The new Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions store brings the company’s retail footprint to more than 750 locations across the U.S. Formerly known as uBreakiFix®, all U.S. locations will rebrand as Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions throughout 2022.

“We are excited to serve people in Redlands with fast and affordable tech repair,” said Dave Barbuto, CEO of Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions. “We all rely on our phones and laptops more than ever before, and our mission is bigger than repairing shattered screens and broken charge ports. We fix tech because people depend on it to stay connected to things that are important to them. I look forward to serving this community through our new location.”

The new store is located at:

Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions

9980 Alabama St Suite C, Redlands, CA 92374

(909) 801-3008

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By Press Release

New Partnership Announced; Stater Bros. Markets joins Entertainment Giant

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Toyota Arena has announced a new partnership with Stater Bros. Markets effective July 1, 2022.

Guests of the arena will soon be able to experience the new branding of the North Patio, which will include live concerts featuring local bands and up-and-coming professional talent. “We are thrilled to welcome Stater Bros. Markets as a partner to Toyota Arena,” said Michael K. Krouse, President & CEO. “It’s a natural fit – this is our community’s grocery store of choice and the amazing Stater Bros. Charities provides non-profit organizations in our local region with support. We are on board to help as well.”

The marketing amenities this partnership will provide Stater Bros. will include a presence on several assets including the arena’s Interstate 10 marquee, overhead LED scoreboard, television monitors throughout the facility, website, and more. The relationship created through this agreement will also provide benefits for Toyota Arena guests, including new Stater Bros.-inspired food and beverage options.

The benefits to the community will go beyond lifestyle and entertainment, however. Stater Bros. and Toyota Arena recognize the important role they play in the overall development of the City of Ontario. The city’s vigorous commercial and residential growth, and its status as a destination location will result in economic growth, jobs, and a thriving community. The partnership will also open up new opportunities to support the giving efforts of the market’s non-profit charitable arm, Stater Bros. Charities.

“This really is an exciting day for the entire Stater Bros. team. As a company, we work hard to establish great business relationships, and with Toyota Arena, we’ve found an excellent partner,” said Stater Bros. CEO Pete Van Helden. “I look forward to the new opportunities our partnership will bring and its benefits for the City of Ontario and the Inland Empire as a whole.”

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Business

IECE Presents its Inaugural State of Entrepreneur Report on Dec. 9

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The first-ever State of Entrepreneurship Address for the Inland Empire is being held by the Cal State San Bernardino Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship on Thursday, Dec. 9, from 5-8 p.m. at 4th Sector Innovations in Ontario. 

IECE’s goal in producing the State of Entrepreneurship research study is to bring the voice of local entrepreneurs to those who need to hear it most – local and state policymakers, community organizations, lenders, and other resource providers. 

The Voice of the Entrepreneur survey, on which the address is based, sends powerful feedback on the challenges that entrepreneurs and business owners of the Inland Southern California region face. 

Survey results were drawn out earlier this year by reaching out to IECE’s extensive network, consisting of more than 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners representing a diverse group of industries. The IECE will continue to distribute the Voice of the Entrepreneur survey in the spring of each calendar year to find out what Inland Empire entrepreneurs and business owners are going through. 

The report is a potent tool for policymakers, economic impact drivers, and business owners and entrepreneurs to analyze growth potential within the region. Using measurable data, the goal is to identify the challenges and opportunities facing local business owners and obstacles that may be impeding business growth. 

The result is a concise report that gives insight into how we can effectively learn and evolve together with a regional focus. 

The evening will start and end with networking and food; in between, the SOER report will be presented, which includes examining the indicators of entrepreneurial activity and how the IE measures up as a region; learning of the Voice of the Entrepreneur direct survey results and the common themes, as well as an IE Ecosystem assessment; and regional perspectives from influencers that include: 

  • Rod Vandenbos, founder and CEO, buzzbox beverages, Indio; 
  • Mike Napoli, Tech Coast Angels, Palm Springs; 
  • Edward Ornelas, Jr. President, Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Ana Karina Suchánek, president, Cask Restaurant Group, Inc., Rancho Cucamonga; and 
  • Pepi Jackson, president and CEO, Riverside Black Chamber of Commerce 

Click the following link – Secure Your Spot for the 2021 State of Entrepreneurship Address – to attend, network and learn more about entrepreneurship in the region. Whether you are a seasoned or soon-to-be entrepreneur, there is a perspective for everyone who wants to know more about how to strengthen the Inland Empire economy.

The presentation will unveil breakthrough metrics and perspectives on the State of Entrepreneurship throughout the Inland Empire, including: 

  • Why a report like this is essential for the collective growth of our region; 
  • What the report consists of: indicators for entrepreneurship and what real entrepreneurs in our communities are telling us through our Voice of the Entrepreneur survey results; and
  • Regional perspectives from influencers and officials that are active in our ecosystem. 

The event will also include food and cocktails while networking within an inspirational setting at 4th Sector Innovations Ontario. 

To learn more, visit the IECE State of Entrepreneurship Report website

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