The Leader Magazine

SEP-OCT 2015

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Growing Labor Pool San Bernardino County is a blue-collar community and proud of it, as that workforce has proved to be a tremendous asset to the county's economic development. "This has always been a blue-collar community, and as a result the small manufacturers and entrepreneurs fi nd success here along with the large manufacturers," says Olhasso. A key ingredient to that workforce is the affordable housing stock. San Bernardino County's ample supply of land has allowed developers to build a base of newer, more modern and lower-cost housing stock that has been important in drawing new families to the area. "One of the things that the Inland Empire offers here in Southern California is an affordable place to call home relative to the economies farther west," says Thornberg. The median home price in San Bernardino County is $246,251 compared to $502,176 in L.A. County. That affordability draws people, both for those who want to live and work in the area, and for those who commute to jobs along the coast. Currently, the county is home to a population of about two million people and a workforce that exceeds some 900,000 people. The county places strong emphasis on education and training for its current and future workforce. The region has an "innovation corridor" that encompasses nearly two dozen colleges and universities, and San Bernardino County partners with many of those schools to provide skilled workers at all levels, especially advanced manufacturing. For example, Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga received a $15 million grant to provide manufacturing training. The grant will be used to train more than 3,000 workers over the next three years. The county also is able to leverage its positive demographic trends that have created a young and growing workforce and an increasingly attractive consumer market. According to 2014 data, 15.3 percent of the population in the Inland Empire, which includes San Bernardino and Riverside counties, is between the ages of 5 and 14, which is among the highest levels in the nation. San Bernardino County also has a "cradle to career" road map to prepare students and their parents for 20th century work, says Olhasso. It is important to focus on education and collaborate so that the universities, community colleges, high schools and elementary schools are all talking to each other, she says. To that point, the county has a very successful county- wide partnership with education stakeholders under its Alliance for Education. Businesses benefi t from a variety of workforce resources such as customized recruiting services and on-the-job-training programs. The County's Workforce Development Department is committed to meeting the on-going hiring and training needs of businesses. Companies have access to on-the-job training reimbursement, tax credits, applicant outreach and screening, free human resource consulting, layoff aversion services, and customized training programs. A network of America's Job Centers of California (AJCC) provides career services and training to residents in the County as well. Dr Pepper Snapple Group discovered a pro-business environment and available skilled labor when they located in the County. 3 | Special Advertising Section | San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

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