Training a Workforce

Options Presented by College of the Desert

A well-trained workforce. That is the goal for most of our local businesses, isn’t it? I should add, “looking for reasonable renumeration”.

Prior to Covid-19, we would hear in the news talk about the “Baby Boomers” who will be retiring soon, and who will make up the loss in the workforce? Well, we were locked down with physical restrictions, and repeatedly threatened with more lock downs.

Upon return to “normal” there became a huge gap where employees used to be in our brick-and-mortar businesses. A predominant majority of those that could work from home wished that option to continue. Depending upon the skill set and business management style, the practice may be extended, or retirement may have become the option of choice. Now, it isn’t as simple as that. My feeling is many “Baby Boomers” just didn’t wish to deal with jobs and bosses anymore. The government was providing some nice temporary handouts, so it was a good time to retire.

The panic of “we need bodies”, and “we will train” is something I have been hearing going on for 2-years now.

Recently, the College of the Desert held a public brainstorming meeting to focus on the needs of local industry. What many don’t know is the College of the Desert has your typical undergraduate studies for students preparing for an A.A./A.S. or who plan on attending a 4-year university, but they have a targeted vocational aspect as well.

Not everyone is geared for academia. A college/university degree has no guarantees for success. But vocational training can give our students a direct path to self-sufficiency. The College of the Desert offers certificates and licensed fields of training in Law Enforcement, nursing, hospitality, construction management and other construction mechanical skills.

College of the Desert is asking business owners and managers, what skills are needed to prepare our young people for interesting and sustainable, and fulfilling careers. At one-time we (under a different name) teamed up with College of the Desert to promote hands-on vocational training in home construction. Building Horizons was geared towards older high school students and community college students. Over the course of 2 semesters students would get both book learning and hands-on skills training. These students got a taste of the construction industry and the experience to see if just maybe they have the aptitude for construction.

What is lacking is skilled and knowledgeable instructors. Students of Building Horizons could point out homes they helped build. That is satisfying. College of the Desert needs skilled and knowledgeable contractors willing to put some hands-on time with our young people. We need skilled labor for our construction industry.

Working in the construction industry doesn’t always mean coming home dirty. College of the Desert offers courses in design and architecture, electrical engineering (low volt, and high), accounting, banking, legal, etc. 35% of the population has a job contributing to new construction, whether that be a home or a new business.

How to get involved? Contact the DVBA at 760-776-7001 for additional information and referral info to COD to assist in meeting this need. Together we can work together to Build Our Labor Market Strong!

By: James Brownyard, VP Legislative & Government Affairs/DVBA