City of San Bernardino’s Strategy Helps Business Turnaround
Program focuses on empowering area businesses and putting people back to work
REDLANDS, California — The City of San Bernardino has new ideas on how to create a job market. The San Bernardino Workforce Investment Board (WIB), which runs the San Bernardino Employment Training Agency (SBETA), has traditionally focused on preparing people for employment, and providing employers with screening and placement services. However, the economic recession has not only increased unemployment in San Bernardino, it has greatly impacted businesses—to the point where they just are not able to hire.
SBETA’s new strategy is to assist small businesses to turn the corner, enabling them to keep employees and/or hire new ones. To accomplish this task, RedFusion Business Consulting has been hired to provide business assessments for 24 businesses in the city. From those companies, 12 were selected to receive additional onsite and business-specific planning specific to their market niches. Ron Burgess and Ray Anderson are the lead consultants on the project.
Ron Burgess, CEO of RedFusion Business Consulting, is a veteran business consultant with over 25-years of experience. He specializes in long-term growth initiatives, including strategic planning, marketing evaluation, and marketing planning. Overall, Ron’s long-term clients tend to grow at rates over three-times the growth of the economy.
Ray Anderson focuses on business assessment and executive coaching. He has spend many years supporting business employee evaluation and developing job training programs. Ray is currently involved in bringing small business programming to KVCR, “Small Business School.”
“I think it is a progressive twist to government spending, to assist businesses directly to improve efficiency and marketing skills,” states Burgess. “So many other programs are focused on indirect business benefits; it’s hard to measure how much really helps. However, this program delivers assistance for real business needs, delivered directly to the business, by real experts, not government employees. It’s a really good test on how to spend public money, I give SBETA a lot of credit.”
Unlike most government agencies, the Workforce Investment Board, that oversees SBETA, requires that 51% of the Board include local business people, ensuring that experienced business people watch how the money is spent. The intent is to match trained people with jobs that businesses need in San Bernardino.
The agency is run by Ernet Dowdy, Ph.D., and his consulting program is run by Annette Kelly. Annette completed her MBA in 2008 at the University of Redlands, so she shares a business perspective.
Kelly enthusiastically says, “We have to be innovative, yet responsible, with our funds. San Bernardino is extremely challenged today, as is the rest of the Inland Empire. It is simple: we know business has to grow so companies can hire; we also know we aren’t experts in business consulting, so we have hired the best we could find to do the job for us, RedFusion Business Consulting benefits, but dozens of other businesses are directly benefitted too; it has a multiplying effect.”
The program ends on June 1, 2011. As the final results are not yet known, the program will be carefully evaluated, so that the SBETA can evaluate the success of this strategy. One thing is sure—local government has worked hard to think like business people, and provide direct “feet-on-the -ground” assistance to worthy employers.