SOURCE: San Bernardino Workforce Investment Board

San Bernardino Workforce Investment Board

October 04, 2010 04:00 ET

San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board Provides Resources for Laid-Off Workers

Last Month 3,762 People Were Served in the County Employment Resource Centers

SAN BERNARDINO, CA--(Marketwire - October 4, 2010) -  In January, Debbie Gazzola of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, found herself unemployed for the first time in 26 years. She'd kept her job through past recessions but this one packed a punch that landed her in a job market for which she didn't have the skills. Immediately she began taking workshops at the Employment Resource Center in Rancho Cucamonga and joined Networking Unlimited, a group of people like herself who meet once a week.

"I would tell anyone who walks through the doors of the Employment Resource Center to first make a plan of job searching," she advised. "If you break everything down into steps, you'll make the most of this time in your life to learn new skills and become a better employee."

When Malena Castillo, 38, of Ontario, CA, was laid off from her non-profit organization, she was in the situation that every parent fears - having come one month short of living on the street. "When I lost my job, I was forced to go apply for public assistance," she said. "I went from making $1,800 a month to $500 a month."

By attending job seeker workshops offered through the Employment Resource Centers, she had her ear to the ground when the county Workforce Investment Board announced it would fund an on-the-job training program. This program would reimburse employers for wages paid to new hires for a specified time period while they train on the job, to help companies hire and grow their business.

She was one of 15 candidates who were interviewed by Jon Novack, co-owner of Patton Sales Corporation in Ontario, CA, an employer and participant in the on-the-job training program. Her determination and perseverance impressed him and she was hired along with seven other trainees. After their training period ended, he hired all eight workers full time.

Although Gazzola is still looking for a job, she has hope and optimism that she'll be ready when the call comes. "Don't sit around and mope," she said. "By isolating yourself, you'll only get depressed and miss opportunities."

Seven Tips to Get Back on Your Feet

  1. Don't stay at home. Face the reality of your situation and get out and network.
  2. Approach job searching as it if were your job. Make the most of this time in your life to improve your capabilities and learn new skills.
  3. Visit the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board website for resources available to you at:
  4. Make a plan. Sit down with a counselor and make a day-to-day plan to improve your skills and find a job.
  5. Take full advantage of the workshops offered at the Employment Resource Center, which include resume preparation, interview techniques, business plans and basic computer skills. Take more than one workshop for additional tips and practice.
  6. Consider a new career or industry. If you have been laid off since January 1, 2008, you may qualify for on-the-job training programs, which will help you develop skills to enter a new career.
  7. Join networking and community groups. You never know when a referral or hot tip will land in your lap.

Last month 3,762 people were served in the Employment Resource Centers, said Sandy Harmsen, Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board and Director of the Workforce Development Department in San Bernardino County. Through last year's on-the-job training programs, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, 489 people received paid training.

"While we are very proud of our accomplishments, we are most proud of the employers who have come forward and worked with us through this economic crisis," Harmsen said. "The bottom line is that we are dedicated to putting people back to work."

About the Workforce Investment Board of San Bernardino County

The Workforce Investment Board of San Bernardino County is comprised of private business representatives and public partners appointed by the County Board of Supervisors. The Board strives to strengthen the skills of the County's workforce through partnerships with business, education and community-based organizations.

The Workforce Investment Board, through the County's Economic Development Agency and Workforce Development Department, operates the county's Employment Resource Centers (ERCs) and Business Resource Centers (BRCs). The ERCs provide individuals with job training, placement and the tools to strengthen their skills to achieve a higher quality of life. The BRCs support and provide services to the County's businesses including employee recruitment.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Sandy Harmsen
    Workforce Investment Board

    Jessica McLeish