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San Bernardino Workforce Investment Board Opens the Door to Promising New Careers

Workforce Investment Board Assists Over 50,000 Job Seekers in One Year

SAN BERNARDINO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 11/18/10 -- An article in a newspaper changed Kevin Crickenberger's life. He had no problem finding jobs, but keeping them was a challenge. After dropping out of high school, the Victorville resident found himself in a frustrating pattern.

"I'd get a job, work really hard and then they'd lay me off," he said. "When I read about the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board's job training programs through Chaffey College, it changed the course of my life."

Crickenberger got more than he bargained for. He was set up with a career counselor who helped assess his skills, identify skill shortcomings that could be strengthened through education or training, and map out his best career options. Federal funding helped him earn his GED and placed him in a temporary job as a crane operator at California Steel Industries, a leading manufacturing company in Fontana. Crickenberger was soon preparing to apply for CSI's entry-level electrician training program, which is a joint effort between the Manufacturers' Council of the Inland Empire, the Workforce Investment Board and Chaffey College.

"I went for it," he said. "I was never very focused on school, but once I started studying electricity and electronics, I loved it. When I took the test, I scored really high."

Today Crickenberger is a certified Class B electrician and is on the road to becoming a certified Class A electrician and a specialist in instrumentation.

"I don't just go to work and do a job," he said. "I have a solid career now. If the Workforce Investment Board's program hadn't been available to help me find a career direction and help with funding, I wouldn't be here."

With the current County unemployment rate at 14.2 percent, getting people a job isn't enough, according to Sandy Harmsen, Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board and Director of the Workforce Development Department in San Bernardino County.

"We train our County's workforce so they can become skilled to build careers in our top industries locally, and weather the ups and downs of the economy," said Harmsen. "As we develop a more highly skilled workforce, we will increase the standard of living in our region and make it a more attractive place for companies to do business."

Help is available to all County residents, and over the last year nearly 50,000 people have taken advantage of the assistance available through the County's three Employment Resource Centers.

The Employment Resource Centers are funded with federal dollars administered by the Workforce Investment Board and offer free job seeking services to County residents. These services include skills assessment, career path mapping, funding and placement in training courses, support services to help with books or tools, job placement, interview and résumé strengthening, a resource room with phones, faxes and computers for job seekers to use and more. Job seekers who sign up for assistance are paired with a mentor who guides them through the entire process of training and finding a job.

By working with the County's economist and local business leaders and examining labor market data, the Workforce Investment Board has identified the five highest demand industry sectors including healthcare, aviation, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, and environmental technology, and training programs are focused in these industries so people can obtain jobs when they leave training.

"What makes our Workforce Investment Board unique among the 2,000 boards across the nation is that we bring business, education and government together," Harmsen said. "We respond quickly to the underlying causes of unemployment, develop innovative workforce solutions and build a stronger employment foundation for the future."

San Bernardino County residents who would like to learn more about job-training opportunities can call 800.451.JOBS number or visit www.csb-win.org.

About the Workforce Investment Board of San Bernardino County
The Workforce Investment Board of San Bernardino County is comprised of private business representatives and public partners appointed by the County Board of Supervisors. The Board strives to strengthen the skills of the County's workforce through partnerships with business, education and community-based organizations.

The Workforce Investment Board, through the County's Economic Development Agency and Workforce Development Department, operates the County's Employment Resource Centers (ERCs) and Business Resource Centers (BRCs). The ERCs provide individuals with job training, placement and the tools to strengthen their skills to achieve a higher quality of life. The BRCs support and provide services to the County's businesses including employee recruitment.

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Media Contacts:
Sandy Harmsen
Workforce Investment Board
909.387.9862
Jessica McLeish
909.659.6844


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