The following article authored by Mary Jane Olhasso, Economic Development Agency Administrator for SB County, appeared in the February 2012 San Bernardino Sun
It has been reported that our nation’s manufacturers are experiencing skill deficiencies significantly impacting their ability to expand operations. The key to success in a fast-paced regional, national and global economy relies on the skills and abilities of our people. It is why the creation of a skilled workforce is part of our county- wide vision. We must seize opportunities to enhance our competitiveness.
San Bernardino County has an opportunity to lead California in job creation in the manufacturing industry sector. But it will take collaboration, innovation and commitment. To be successful we must all work together. Chaffey College Workforce Training Institute best illustrates an example of successful collaboration.
Chaffey College has earned a reputation for being innovative, collaborative and responsive to the county’s manufacturer workforce training needs.
The college utilizes a variety of training funds from the state of California’s Employment Training Panel (ETP), County of San Bernardino Workforce Development Department, and County of San Bernardino Workforce Investment Board to develop customized training programs for employers in the Inland Empire. This program specializes in manufacturing, logistics and health care; also providing continuous improvement training in warehousing, industrial electrical, lean training and more.
Ontario-based Ventura Foods learned of Chaffey’s program from the Inland Empire Manufacturing Council. They were seeking high-quality training that could potentially be subsidized by grant funding.
Ventura now utilizes Chaffey for several different types of training for about 160 of its employees. Training includes on-site manager training, supervisor training, and lean manufacturing training, as well as sending individuals to Excel training classes or supervisor skill training. Ventura executives are committed to leveraging the relationship with Chaffey to its maximum benefit because they gain both a skilled workforce and significant cost savings through available grant funding.
An even greater benefit to Ventura is evident in the lean training.
The company now has a large group of key individuals working to eliminate waste, improve safety, quality, service and cost. This lowers Ventura’s internal costs and allows the manufacturer to be more competitive in growing its business.
Chaffey College’s team adds that studies had proven that companies with a well-trained workforce will continually outperform companies that don’t invest in training. Now more than ever, companies need to work harder and smarter and be more innovative in finding ways to meet and exceed goals without increasing costs. Training programs such as this increase the skills of a workforce and improves effectiveness, efficiency and the ability to think strategically.
Moreover, many well-compensated jobs in manufacturing do not require a college degree, but they do require significant and specific job-related skills.
I believe that the advantage of programs such as these extends well beyond Ventura Foods and Chaffey College because it raises the bar for our workforce and communicates to other industries looking to grow or expand in the county that we are committed to their long-term success.
We must all seek ways to continue to develop a highly skilled workforce in San Bernardino County. At a time when U.S.-based manufacturers are considering expanding their operations, we cannot afford to lag behind other regions or countries.
For information regarding the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire or Chaffey College’s Workforce Training Institute, contact Kathy Dutton, director of economic and workforce development, or Sandra Sisco, business liaison, at 909-652-7642 or Sandra.Sisco@Chaffey.edu.