San Bernardino Workforce Investment Board Sponsors Technical Employment Training Inc.

School Trains Students to Receive Two National Industry Metal Skill NIMS Certifications in Machining

Michael Verrett, an ROP instructor at Technical Employment Training, Inc. (TET), always tells his students that while their six-month training program is free, the real payback comes from their time and focus.

"I tell them they'll pay back the taxpayer when they start working," Verrett said.

With an investment of $190,000 from the San Bernardino Workforce Investment Board, TET is not an ordinary machining school. To drive by the plain, brick building at the San Bernardino International Airport, you'd never guess that inside, 30 students are being given training that will lead them to new careers in high technology manufacturing.

A 501(c)3 business-education cooperative, TET provides everything from text books to tools to bus passes and gas cards as students receive on-the-job training to earn two National Institute for Metalworking Skills Machining Level 1 certifications. All students have to bring is their lunch and a solid commitment to a 630-hour program where they work six hours a day, five days a week.  Already, 10 students have jobs waiting for them when they complete the program in February 2011.

Gerald Valencia, a laid-off trucker and father and a student in the program now has hope and optimism for his future.

"When I was first looking for a job, I realized I needed to get retrained if I wanted to get hired," Valencia said.

What made this program stand out and enabled it to receive federal funding administered by the County's Workforce Investment Board were the multiple benefits provided to the dislocated worker and local business, and the stated need of local employers for trained and skilled machinists. Basically, jobs were readily available to highly skilled machinists.

"Not only are we opening the door to a new career for dislocated workers, companies receive incentives if they bring jobs to the school which in turn allows students to receive hands-on training and the school to become financially self-sufficient," said Sandy Harmsen, Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board and Director of the Workforce Development Department in San Bernardino County.

Presently, students are fabricating tools that will create metal clips to be used on solar panels for the lighting systems in the airport parking lot.

Pascal Walsh, an instructor with 38 years of experience in machining, is like a mother, father and counselor to his students. "When I die, I'll take my skills with me," he said. "This is the perfect opportunity to pass along my experience to people who will use it."

The last training block of the program will be resumé writing and interviewing with the goal that every student will have a job come February 2011. Overseen by the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board, TET maintains detailed records of student attendance and progress.

"This is the perfect environment to prepare our students for the real-world workplace," said Verrett. "They have to clock in and do the work and in doing so, we're strengthening their confidence and self-esteem."

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.