The Mojave High School Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Program owes its decade of success to a variety of factors, including strong partnerships with the City of Hesperia, the Hesperia Unified School District, private businesses and its dedicated leadership.
The program, under the direction and oversight of the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB) Youth Committee, helps eligible youth develop job skills, explore career options, learn leadership qualities, participate in adult and peer mentoring and counseling, and take advantage of On-the-Job Training.
Eighty percent of program participants either go on to a job, return to school or obtain a certificate that can earn them a higher wage down the road.
“Honestly I wasn’t expecting it to help me that much,” said Jonaiya Sansone-Rogers, who is pursuing a career in nursing thanks to the program. “But it turned out to be the most exciting thing ever. I wasn’t expecting to be working toward a career, but that’s what this program has really helped me to do.”
Jonaiya’s story is indicative of how individuals and the region’s economy benefit from job training initiatives such as the Mojave Youth Program.
The Mojave Youth Program requires a two-year commitment from each of its 95 participants. If a youth cannot attend work or class because of transportation issues, WIOA will arrange for bus passes or gas cards. Similarly, if books or tuition are too expensive WIOA will find a way to defray those costs.
“My books were taken care of — everything school related — they have provided for me,” Jonaiya said.
Director Werner Von der Heide said those who complete the two-year WIOA program enter the job market well prepared. At its core, the Mojave Valley program works to bolster the confidence of students and help them achieve their goals.
“There is a lot we can do to get these students through school and into the workforce,” he said. “We offer tutoring, study skills training, leadership development and personal counseling. And, there are other offerings like job placement assistance, resume preparation, interviewing skills, job shadowing, internships and career guidance. We are a one-stop shop.”
About the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board
The San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB) is comprised of private business representatives and public partners appointed by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. The WDB strives to strengthen the skills of the County’s workforce through partnerships with business, education and community-based organizations. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors is committed to providing county resources, which generate jobs and investment in line with the Countywide Vision.
The Workforce Development Board, through the San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency and Workforce Development Department, operates the San Bernardino County’s three America’s Job Centers of California (AJCC). The AJCCs provide individuals with job training, placement and the tools to strengthen their skills to achieve a higher quality of life. The AJCCs also support and provide services to the County’s businesses, including employee recruitment and business retention programs.
Employers and job seekers who are interested in the Workforce Development Board programs may call: (800) 451-JOBS or visit www.csb-win.org.