By Steve Lambert
Employers throughout San Bernardino County are finding solutions to their workforce needs through the Workforce Development Board’s (WDB) Business Services team.
“The WDB Business Services team is making a real difference in helping local employers find the people they need to become successful,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “This is another reason why San Bernardino County is a great place to do business.”
Like many companies, Tube Bending Technology, LLC in Apple Valley had struggled to find qualified job candidates during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company used multiple online recruiting services before connecting with WDB Business Services Representative Salvatore Monica.
Through WDB’s On-The-Job Training (OJT) incentives, Tube Bending was able to fill two position and soon will be posting two more.
“With the help of Sal and the vast amount of information he gave, we have been successful with – and are grateful for – this program,” said Lisa Hatch, Human Resources Manager at Tube Bending Technology.
Titus MRF Services in Fontana faced similar challenges in filling open positions. The company builds optical sorting units for the commercial recycling industry, and requires specialized skillsets for its team of AutoCad specialists, structural and electrical engineers, certified welders and maintenance mechanics.
WDB Business Services Representative Eric Rivas introduced Titus to the Industrial Technical Learning Center (InTech), managed by Chaffey College in partnership with WDB and others. So far, the company has hired three certified welders through the program and has two more coming through the training pipeline.
“When Eric found us, a number of our employees were retiring and we desperately needed to fill those vacancies,” said Case Atchison, VP of Sales and Design for Titus Manufacturing Services. The InTech recruits, Atchison said, are “all passing with flying colors and very eager to get to work.”
Helping businesses such as Tube Bending and Titus meet their staffing needs is a critical element of WDB’s mission of supporting economic growth and helping job seekers reach their full potential, said Phil Cothran, WDB Chairman and himself a Fontana business owner.
“Our team of Business Services professionals is committed to helping companies and employers meet their workforce needs, and providing the tools necessary to ensure that their businesses have the opportunity to grow and succeed,” Cothran said. “San Bernardino County presents some of the most dynamic economic and business-growth opportunities in the country, and at the core of that is our ability to build a steady pipeline of qualified and trained workers.”
That pipeline doesn’t simply happen, and during the pandemic especially, companies have found that many prospective employees have chosen to take a step back.
At Tube Bending Technology, “We tried going with a temp agency, but they’re going through the same thing. The candidate pool is very low,” Hatch said. For the past 50 years, the company has manufactured parts for the aerospace industry, including the military and the Apollo program. Tube Bending is growing at a fast pace, and the skillsets it is recruiting for include welding, CNC machining, tube bending, quality inspection, receiving, shipping administrative and planning.
When a new employee is found and hired, training costs can be daunting. WDB’s OJT program provides eligible companies reimbursement for up to 50% of a new hire’s wage while they are in training.
“When Sal (Monica) sent me the information on that program, it was such a great opportunity,” she said.
For Titus MRF, InTech has proved to be a similarly great opportunity. The program provides in-demand technical training and professional development at no cost to individuals. Titus plans to hire a total of 14 welders certified through InTech, and eventually train-up any welders that might be interested into service technician positions, which involves operating high-grade and complicated machinery.
“We make trash safer, because instead of people hand sorting to separate trash from recyclables, we engineer and build optical sorters to help them automatically sort. We also value partnerships, because sometimes our competitors become our clients. While other companies may fall apart during hard times, we grow because of these partnerships we build,” Case said.
Other services provided by the Business Services team include up-to-date labor market information, layoff aversion resources and a Rapid Response program to help companies that are considering closures or job reductions improve productivity or operate more efficiently, and free business workshops on a variety of topics.