WORKFORCE BOARD: San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board
LOCATION: San Bernardino, CA
Exquadrum operates in a highly specialized, highly-technical field. When job openings occur, the defense and aerospace contractor often will search far and wide for trained and qualified employees.
The San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board is changing that dynamic through job-training programs and screening processes that help companies – especially those with hard-to-fill positions – hire locally.
“Providing a pipeline of highly qualified employees benefits everyone – employers, job seekers and the county as a whole,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Lovingood. “The work being done by our Workforce Development Board and Economic Development Agency is creating tremendous growth opportunities for current businesses and those looking to locate here.”
For Exquadrum, that’s a savings of time and money.
“I tell people that if you haven’t used a workforce development specialist to hire your next employee, you’re throwing your money away,” says Eric Schmidt, President of Exquadrum. “I’m a huge cheerleader for the work being done by the Workforce Development Board.”
Recently, the Adelanto-based company hired a 45-year-old Navy veteran at the second annual Made in the High Desert Job Fair, hosted by Chairman Lovingood and supported by the Workforce Development Board.
William Walker, who had been a munitions technician working on fighter aircraft, went through a pre-screening process before the job fair – a process Exquadrum found to be quite valuable.
“William was our third visitor that day,” Schmidt said. “The pre-screening process made it that much more efficient to match our needs with the skillsets of job seekers.”
It hasn’t always been that easy. The highly-specialized nature of Exquadrum’s business requires the company itself to be extremely resourceful when it comes to filling positions. Networking through social media has become an almost automatic first step, particularly when it comes to finding experienced technicians and engineers.
“There just aren’t a lot of rocket engineers or technicians available,” Schmidt says.
Even so, companies such as Exquadrum are increasingly tapping into San Bernardino County’s growing reputation as a professional services hub to find qualified employees. According to research by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the professional, management and scientific sector is emerging as an economic force in the Inland Empire, prompted by rising educational attainment and a growing need for professional service providers.
The SCAG report goes on to forecast more than 1,000 new jobs in this sector in the next 12 months.
“Companies share a need for degreed staff – account management, supervisors, legal services,” Schmidt says. “Having access to a database of qualified candidates is extremely important for businesses such as ours.”
He adds that by hiring locally, companies save on relocation costs, which can run as high as $10,000 to $20,000 per employee.
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