FONTANA HERALD NEWS
Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, the Industrial Technical Training Center (InTech) in Fontana was incredibly busy training and upskilling a workforce pipeline for business and industry in the Inland Empire.
At 33,000 square feet, the Intech facility (located on the campus of California Steel Industries) encompasses six classrooms, plus computer, mechatronics, electrical mechanical and machining labs.
However, with the required shutdown, the team almost immediately transitioned to remote learning.
But despite the adjustment, InTech’s Director of Economic Development Sandra Sisco said that the center is getting busy again. While almost all training is still remote, the craft/trade training is a hybrid format and by July, InTech will return to live, in-person labs for industrial electrical and mechanical technicians, pre-apprenticeship, pre-engineering/additive manufacturing, and welding.
“A slowdown is a great time to upskill your workforce so that a company is ready as the economy ramps back up. Then your whole system is cleaner and more efficient,” Sisco said. “This is especially true for industries such as logistics that are experiencing a boom from the increased demand for e-commerce.
“We founded InTech to help fill the need for a skilled manufacturing workforce. While there is still a skilled worker shortage, we see even more demand for training due to the increasing integration of robotics, automation and artificial intelligence in areas such as logistics and warehousing. As lower skilled workers are potentially displaced by this new wave of automation, there is a greater demand for training of under-employed workers and upskilling incumbent workers to move them into higher skilled, higher wage positions.”
To that end, InTech is constantly looking at how it can best support employers within the county at little to no cost for training. One is a paid-internship program funded through the James Irvine Foundation. This is a “try before you buy” for employers, valued at more than $4,200 per craft/trades intern. The Foundation for the California Community Colleges is the employer of record and takes on all liability. The data reflects a 92 percent permanent placement rate because when employers try out interns, they ultimately hire them.