Fresno Business Council
By Ami Davis
May 7, 2017
Many regional manufacturing companies are faced with tough attrition issues right now. With high turnover, an aging workforce or any of the other myriad challenges causing a skills gap, the need for employees with advanced skills is tremendous. Regionally, we have many programs focused on bringing in the next generation of the manufacturing workforce, but what do we do in the meantime to fill the void of advanced-skill workers?
In 2016, the Chancellor’s Office of California Community Colleges announced a workforce development grant program to bolster regional apprenticeship programs in specific industries, including manufacturing. State Center Community College District applied for the grant with the support of local manufacturers, and our region was awarded a $1 million grant early this year. The grant, managed at Madera Community College Center-Reedley College, is headed by Dan Sousa, coordinator of apprenticeship training and Katherine Medina-Gross, apprenticeship counselor, and is supported by the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Apprenticeship Standards for guidance and official state approval of the programs developed under the grant. Dan and Katherine wasted no time in pulling employers together to design the maintenance mechanic program under the grant.