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Manufacturers Give Feedback on Workforce Needs

More than 80 manufacturing employers and community and workforce partners from across the Sacramento region attended the Let’s Talk Manufacturing Luncheon on March 1, 2017 at McClellan Park. The event, co-hosted by Valley Vision, McClellan Park, and American River College, was an opportunity for those gathered to discuss their pressing workforce issues, especially looming skills gaps, and provide input on where new community college funding should be invested, including for a possible manufacturing innovation center at McClellan Park.

Ken Giannotti, Senior Vice President of McClellan Park, welcomed everyone, showcasing the successful transition of McClellan from a military base to a vibrant center of manufacturing and innovation. Jerome Countee, Associate Vice President Economic and Workforce of American River College, described the Strong Workforce Program, a $200 million state-wide initiative to improve and create new Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, with several million dollars to be invested in our region. John Dunn, Project Director of the American Apprenticeship Initiative, spoke about US Department of Labor’s $5 million grant to encourage and increase manufacturing apprenticeships that will provide hands-on-learning for students and help create a pipeline of skilled workers for employers. Trish Kelly, Managing Director of Valley Vision, gave a brief overview of the region’s Manufacturing workforce cluster data, including in-demand occupations where skills gaps exist. Valley Vision is facilitating employer and stakeholder input for Los Rios Community College District on Strong Workforce Programs proposals.

Participants rotated around four stations to 1) discuss current and future employer’s workforce needs; 2) provide input on American River College’s proposed innovation center at McClellan, including facility, equipment, design, etc.; 3) identify employers’ acceptance of and/or challenges in participating in the Apprenticeship Collaboration Initiative; and 4) brainstorm education and training programs that American River College can generate through the Strong Workforce Program to tackle important workforce gaps.

The session was very interactive. Employers and partners were able to network, engage in conversation, and post their comments and feedback, as well as share creative ideas on education and training programs that would create a competitively skilled future workforce for this sector. Through this engagement we have built additional relationships with local manufacturers, workforce development partners, education systems, and many more. If you are interested in being a part of the conversation and/or attending future workforce discussion in manufacturing or any of the other regional business clusters, please contact Trish Kelly or Samantha Minor.

A summary of participants’ input and feedback will be available on the Valley Vision website soon. This effort is part of the Capital Region Workforce Action Plan, which is being implemented by Valley Vision and other partners, and supported by Los Rios Community College District, SETA, Golden Sierra, Northern Central Counties Consortium, Yolo County Workforce Investment Board, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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Samantha Minor is a Valley Vision Project Associate working in the workforce development and innovation portfolios.

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