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Workforce Development Earns National Achievement Awards

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Inspired by the Board of Supervisors’ commitment to meet the needs of employers and jobseekers and foster a vibrant local economy, the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Department has been honored with eight 2023 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo).

Among the services and initiatives for which WDB was honored were the Rapid Response Community Resource Fair, Economic Recovery Business Outreach Program and, in partnership with the Public Defender’s office, the Record Clearing, Resource and Employment Fairs.

Thanks to strong and stable leadership and policy direction from Board of Supervisors Chair Dawn Rowe and her colleagues on the Board of Supervisors, San Bernardino County received a record-breaking 160 NACo awards this year. The awards reflect the Board’s efforts to cultivate the innovation that leads to the development of outstanding public service programs.

The NACo awards recognize the best of the best among county governments across the U.S. Nationwide, 40,000 county elected officials and 3.6 million county employees provide important services, such as caring for our physical and mental health, maintaining roads, ensuring public safety, strengthening environmental stewardship, administering elections and much more.

“The Workforce Development programs and services recognized by NACo highlight the extraordinary work being done by Workforce Development to enhance career opportunities for our residents and help businesses grow,” Rowe said.

The first Rapid Response Community Resource Fair was developed shortly after United Furniture Industries (UFI) abruptly laid off more 300 employees in the High Desert without advance notice just days before Thanksgiving 2022. When Workforce Development was alerted, staff quickly mobilized businesses and community partners to help connect those laid off to available employment opportunities, as well as various other community resources. Approximately 275 of the affected UFI employees were offered new employment opportunities as a result.

The Economic Recovery Business Outreach Program was a pilot program that tapped into the wide-reaching business network of chambers of commerce. This collaboration between WDB and various chambers of commerce throughout the county was designed to leverage the relationship between chambers and small businesses to build awareness and accessibility to Workforce Development services available to them. Outcomes as a result of this partnership include various successful services including job listings, job fairs, positions filled, and job training assistance, among others.

Perhaps the most impactful program receiving this recognition is the Record Clearing, Resource and Employment Fairs. Workforce Development and the Public Defender’s Office have partnered with businesses and community organizations to increase economic access and equity. The partnership was designed to bring critical resources directly into the community – to churches, community centers, community colleges, and America’s Job Centers – for those looking to remove barriers and increase their access to employment opportunities and other services. The Public Defender helps participants by providing expungement or record clearing services, and Workforce Development brings employers with job opportunities, all within the same location. The events have been well received and proven useful to the community, making this a long-term partnership, not only between Workforce Development and the Public Defender’s office but a long list of other community organizations that have also participated.

“Our team and board feel fortunate to be recognized for these awards,” said William Sterling, chairman of the Workforce Development Board. “The underlying factor of the programs being recognized are partnerships. We feel fortunate for our staff and the relationships developed with other departments and organizations and the impact these services have had within our communities, which is at the core of what public service is supposed to be.”

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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Minority Business Owner & Alumna Receives Regional SBA Award

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Southern California Entrepreneur and Community Champion Anita Ron Recognized for Determination, Contributions

University of La Verne (ULV) alumna Anita Ron ‘88 has received the 2024 U.S. Small Business Administration Los Angeles District Small Business Person of the Year Award, which recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate exceptional leadership and create sustainable, thriving businesses in their communities.

Ron is the owner of BriteWorks, Inc., a boutique cleaning service she started in 1996 and grew from only three vacuums and $700 after being laid off. At the time, she was also raising two young children. Today, the Covina-based business includes about 200 associates, providing commercial and janitorial services throughout the US, including for high-profile events like the Super Bowl (2022-24). It also boasts a community service footprint throughout the region. 

The passionate businesswoman credits her training in journalism at ULV to helping her inquire about and bid for jobs, pivot when needed, handle deadline pressures, and meet client expectations. Instead of finding stories, Ron says she uses her skills to find the next client.   

“It takes a lot of sweat equity. Failure is never an option, and this continues to be a driving factor as I empower my team to become leaders in their communities,” said Anita Ron, who weaves ULV values – diversity, service, lifelong learning, and ethical reasoning – into the workplace. “I am honored and so grateful to be in an organization where we all are truly making an impact.”

Annually, BriteWorks adopts a couple of inner-city schools to donate funds for education. Every employee is also challenged to take on their own service projects to share with the team. Past projects have included food kitchens, fundraising for medical equipment for the needy and volunteering at local churches. They also provide tours and mentorship for students in the ULV international business program. 

The SBA award represents a business that has used at least one SBA program/service and demonstrates a number of characteristics including growth in employees and revenue, resiliency, “staying  power” and contributions to the community.

“She exemplifies business success and is a wonderful role model for aspiring entrepreneurs.  She created a business out of necessity, but her dedication, passion, resiliency and determination made BriteWorks a success,” said Julie Clowes, SBA Los Angeles director. “Anita maximizes opportunities, takes advantage of resources, mentors other business owners and gives back to her community.  We are honored to present her with this award.”


The SBA award is among the latest honors and distinctions Ron has earned for her leadership and contributions in the industry. Last month, she also received the Diversity Professionals Magazine Women of Excellence award. She has received recognitions from elected officials, regional and state Hispanic chambers of commerce, the Latin Business Association, and several publications including the Los Angeles Business Journal and Latina Style Magazine. 

She is currently a member of the ULV College of Business advisory board and vice president of the board of directors for the National Latina Business Women Association Inland Empire Institute, a regional nonprofit organization with the purpose of strengthening the success of Latina entrepreneurs in the Inland Southern California region. She is always looking for opportunities to network and make communities stronger.

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Webb Investments acquires Silver Creek Industries, an industry leader in modular construction for schools

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Webb Investments today announced the launch of a new company, Silver Creek Modular, after acquiring the assets of Silver Creek Industries, a highly respected modular construction company known for bringing innovative, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to the education industry. 

Silver Creek Industries’ existing business, including its employees and its Perris, Calif., manufacturing facility, will remain with the new company, with Webb providing the investment capital, resources and expertise to enhance Silver Creek’s presence in the modular construction marketplace.

The acquisition closed in June of 2023, following Silver Creek Industries’ Chapter 11 filing in the Central Bankruptcy Court of California.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Silver Creek into our family business, and look forward to building on our shared commitment to improving educational opportunities within communities across our region,” said Kiana Webb, CEO of Webb Family Enterprises. “This acquisition aligns with our strategy to invest in established firms that can help us drive community revitalization and inclusive growth, while improving quality of life and increasing economic output.”

Silver Creek Industries was founded in 2004 and has completed more than 1,000 projects in the education, commercial, medical, military, government and multi-family housing markets. More recently, the company’s focus has been on providing high-quality, sustainable modular buildings for schools and educational institutions. Silver Creek Industries is well known for delivering projects on time and on budget, with minimal disruption to school and the community. 

Webb Investments is a privately held, family-owned company focusing on creating a community development ecosystem that drives inclusive, organic growth and transforms the areas they serve. 

For more information on Webb Investments, please visit webbinvestments.com.

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Colton Resident Receives Free College Tuition and Books Through Walmart’s Education Program

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By Saul Martinez, Contributing Writer for IEBJ

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This year marks the five-year anniversary of Walmart’s Live Better U (LBU) education program. Over the past five years, the company has saved associates across the country nearly half a billion in education costs, reflecting the company’s commitment to creating a path for everyone to learn and grow. In California, we’ve seen 5,620 Walmart and Sam’s Club associates participate in Live Better U over the past five years.

One such success story is Robert Gay, who lives in Colton, CA, and earned his college degree – fully paid for by Walmart. Robert was stuck in a stagnant position at his previous company, hindered by the absence of a degree that prevented him from advancing further. However, upon discovering the Live Better U benefits offered by Walmart, he decided to take a leap of faith and join their team with the intention of completing his degree. After successfully graduating with a bachelor’s degree in October 2020, he now takes immense pride in his accomplishment of accepting a promotion to associate general manager. Throughout his journey, Robert received overwhelming support from his local team, who not only empathized with his workload challenges but also aided when needed.

Most individuals typically encounter Walmart through its retail outlets. The Inland Empire Business Journal had the opportunity to explore a consolidation center of Walmart situated in Colton, California. Our visit left us deeply impressed by the remarkable cleanliness and impeccable condition of the facility, almost reminiscent of a high-end showroom.

While on the tour, we observed the diligent measures taken by the leadership to maintain employee motivation and awareness regarding the daily, weekly, and monthly performance Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the facility. These KPIs were prominently displayed on digital monitors throughout the premises. The Colton leadership created a mascot and call their team the Colton Eagles.

We found ourselves deeply impressed by this aspect of Walmart, which is often hidden from public view. Walmart unquestionably stands out as a company that not only offers excellent career opportunities but also boasts a remarkable 100% tuition reimbursement program. If you are seeking a career in the Inland Empire, this proves to be an exceptional workplace choice.

Whether someone is chasing their first job or the opportunity that will define their career, Walmart is committed to creating pathways of opportunity for everyone.  

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