Rep. Torres & U.S. Labor Secretary Acosta Tour InTech Center
Fontana, CA – Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) was joined by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta for a tour of the Chaffey College InTech Center (Industrial and Technical Learning Center) to see how federal grants can jumpstart public-private workforce development programs. Numerous instructors at the InTech Center are full-time CSI employees that train students to industry standards. With programs tailored to the Inland Empire labor market, InTech in Fontana is closing the skills gap for regional businesses, especially manufacturers.
Chaffey College and the Inland Empire Regional Training Consortium (IERTC) received a $15 million grant from the Department of Labor in 2014, which resulted in the 2016 opening of the InTech Center. This successful public-private partnership between Chaffey College and California Steel Industries has increased the number of well-trained manufacturing craft workers to fill the immediate and future needs of manufacturing employers. In addition to encouraging employees to be part-time trainers, California Steel Industries also provided the site for the InTech Center at no charge.
“The Inland Empire is one of the best places to make things in America because of our skilled workforce, and our commitment to linking job training to the workforce needs of today and tomorrow,” said Torres. “It’s important for the Secretary to understand the positive contribution that the Department of Labor has made to the Inland Empire and how the InTech model works to harness the power of cooperation between educators, industry, and local leaders.”
Joining Rep. Torres for the tour were Representative Pete Aguilar and Secretary Acosta, who was in the Inland Empire to see the success stories of Department of Labor grants and the growth this funding has fostered around the country. The InTech Center is able to offer no cost training, thanks to assistance from the Department of Labor. Also attending the tour was President and CEO of California Steel Industries, Marcelo Rodrigues, Executive VP Brett Guge, and Dr. Eric Bishop from Chaffey College.
“I’m honored to be able to show Secretary Acosta the amazing work the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant had in creating this site,” Torres continued. “The Inland Empire is leading Southern California in job growth due to forward thinking ideas like the InTech Learning Center.”
Prior to the tour, the group held a roundtable to discuss effective job training procedures, the impact the center has had on the region, lessons learned from the center, and how the center prepares students for a career, not just a job.
Based on the success of the InTech Learning Center, Rep. Torres introduced H.R.2867, the JOBS Act. The JOBS Act would authorize the Secretary of Labor to initiate pilot projects between local community colleges, state colleges, and workforce investment boards and advanced manufacturers in order to facilitate education and training programs in the field of advanced manufacturing. In August, Torres embarked on her “Made in the 35th Tour,” which included 15 site visits and meetings with manufacturers across 6 cities in the 35th Congressional District. With this tour, Torres drew attention to the thriving manufacturing industry in the Inland Empire. Torres is also a member of the House Manufacturing Caucus.