On January 9th, advanced manufacturing professionals, community leaders, and educational partners gathered at Crafton Hills College for a workforce development conference. The intent of this gathering was for the group to determine how educational partners can meet the needs of these local employers by training and preparing a qualified workforce.

Following a welcome from Crafton Hills College President Kevin Horan, Ray Casey the manager from the City of Yucaipa provided an overview of the day’s agenda, and stressed the importance of employers, educators, and local government working together to build our economy. In closing, Casey thanked the group for their concerted effort and expressed his belief that the city’s incubation center facility can provide an important training space for future collaborative efforts.

Industry leaders voiced concerns when currently looking to fill new and vacant positions with competent candidates. An exploration of current programs included presentations from educational partners representing K-12, adult school, community colleges, and other regional training programs. Educational representatives expressed the importance of local employers agreeing to provide sufficient job opportunities for students. The group discussed employment bridge training programs, mentorships, and internships as possible solutions and discussed the requirements for industry to provide input in developing and expanding and improving existing ones.

Employers provided their thoughts on opportunities as well as what they view as the issues with our current training gaps during a roundtable discussion led by Angie Nett, Human Resources Director at Sorenson Engineering. Industry partners agreed to meet and determine next steps and specifically what training programs they would like for the educational partners to explore. Educators were eager to determine the skills employers are looking for in candidates and expressed their desire to work with industry advisors. The group of employers, educators, and local government representatives are motivated to continue working together to strengthen our regional economy in a collaborative workforce development effort.