GCC educators prepared to meet workforce demands

Glendale Community College educators said this week they are confident they are meeting the demands for the workforce needs of the region.

Don Nakamoto, executive director of the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board, told college officials that Los Angeles County officials predict a 3% growth in jobs in the area through 2014.

He urged college officials to keep informed on local employers’ needs in order to better train students to meet demand.

“Without the employers there at the table telling us what their needs are…we’re kind of working from the workforce side and education side in a vacuum, pretending to know what employers need,” he said.

Although the Westside sees more job growth compared to the eastern part of the county, Nakamoto said the manufacturing sector is still the sixth largest employer in the Verdugo region, encompassing Glendale, Burbank and La Cañada Flintridge.

Locally, employment levels in the entertainment industry have rebounded to pre-recession levels, though major employers continue to be in the healthcare and retail areas, he said.

Alfred Ramirez, dean of continuing and community education, said the college is meeting the needs of the manufacturing, entertainment and healthcare sectors.

He pointed to the state-of-the-art equipment in its machining and engineering programs, its nursing partnership with Cal State Los Angeles and expanding medical classes offered online, as well as the college’s media arts program that provides instruction in mobile content.

“We probably need a little more marketing to show the public what we have, but we are meeting that need,” he said.

Glendale Community College’s Professional Development Center routinely trains employees already working in various industries, said Kim Holland, the program’s director.

Part of the center’s tasks is to stay on the cutting edge in understanding which skills are most needed by current employers in the Verdugo region and beyond.

Over the past 29 years, the center has trained more than 30,000 workers spanning from 4,300 companies — a lot of it in the manufacturing, entertainment and service industry, Holland said.

“We’re very fortunate that our Verdugo Workforce Investment Board is so on top of what’s going on,” she said. “It gives us a vision as to what we need to do.”


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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