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Monthly Archives: September 2019

Register your school for Lefty’s Reading Challenge

Schools have though Nov. 3 to register for this year’s Lefty’s Reading Challenge, which encourages students to read books and provides schools with opportunities to win money for their libraries, school-wide pizza parties plus free NASCAR race tickets for staff, students and parents.

Lefty’s Reading Challenge supports the Countywide Vision and its regional goal of partnering with all sectors of the community to support the success of every child from cradle-to-career by promoting and incentivizing literacy, especially the academic indicator of reading at grade level by the third grade.

Since 2009, Lefty’s Reading Challenge has been an enormous success with thousands of students participating. The 2016-2017 program had more than 150,000 students participate in 250 schools.

Lefty’s Reading Challenge is seen by educators as a useful tool to stimulate reading and is in compliance with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) requirements. Students must complete 20 books or reading assignments during the month-long Reading Challenge. Students return a signed registration form and receive a free membership to Lefty’s Kids Club. Based on enrollment, schools with 100% participation will earn prize money for their school library.

Schools must register to participate in the challenge. The program is free to all participating schools.

The 2019 Lefty’s Reading Challenge will take place from Nov. 4 through Nov. 29. Schools can register for Lefty’s Reading Challenge at: http://www.leftysreadingchallenge.com/Drop-Down-Pages/Registration.aspx. For more information on Lefty’s Reading Challenge, visit: http://www.leftysreadingchallenge.com/Drop-Down-Pages/About-LRC.aspx

 

High Desert Training Center Targets In-Demand Skills Training

Phillip Cothran

By Phillip Cothran, San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board Chair 

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, 6percent 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 to2017, 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 skillset 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.

County superintendent will “inspire innovation” during State of Education events

San Bernardino County Superintendent Ted Alejandre will deliver his two annual State of Education Addresses this month, where he will

provide updates on the positive developments taking place in our public schools and our Collective Impact efforts as part of the Countywide Vision. The events will also showcase outstanding students and programs from SBCSS and the 33 school districts in our county.

The public is invited to attend both events, which are free. The first will be held on Sept. 19 beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts, which is located at 562 West 4th St. in San Bernardino. Click here for more information.

The second State Of Education Address will take place on Sept. 25 at the High Desert Church, located at 14545 Hook Blvd. in Victorville. It also will begin at 3:30 p.m. Click here for more information.

The theme of Alejandre’s address is “Inspiring Innovation.” For more information about the events, contact the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools’ Communications office at (909) 386-2413.

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