WIB expands technical career opportunities in Tulare County

The Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County receives $683,848 in grant funding, creates a new program to train individuals in technical careers

VISALIA – As industrial careers become high-demand in the county, a local organization has planned a project that will allow more individuals to receive career training for manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and construction careers.

The Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County (WIB) was awarded $683,848 as part of a regional grant given by the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB). Out of the grant funding, WIB will begin a project in Tulare County called Skills to Success, which will teach individuals how to work in industrial careers, such as manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and construction, according to communications coordinator Nicola Wissler from WIB.

“The goal is to be able to partner with [local education programs], and also with our industry partners to develop and understand what kind of training individuals would need to get these kinds of jobs,” Wissler said.

Though the project is still in its planning phase, Wissler said that Tulare County’s WIB is hoping to help around 80 individuals seeking industrial career training. The way they will do this is through partnering with places like College of the Sequoias and local adult schools. The Skills to Success project will not be teaching these technical skills, but rather giving individuals the resources and information to sign up for classes, certificate courses or other forms of local training available in the county. 

“[WIB will be] doing some evaluation of the industry, understanding what the employers needs are, and then going to our educational partners and finding what classes [they offer] that can help [individuals] get on a pathway to those careers, and then being able to enroll the individuals into those educational programs,” Wissler said.

WIB is an organization that spans throughout five counties in the Central Valley. Each WIB location was a recipient of grant funding from the CWDB, who distributed roughly $4.9 million in grant funding to the region. Though Tulare County is making industrial careers a priority, other locations are choosing different career paths for their Skills to Success projects, such as healthcare or education. Wissler said that Tulare County is focusing on industrial jobs because it is one of the most in-demand career fields in the county right now.

The grant funding will also go toward a new coordinator at WIB, who will work with industry and education partners and help develop clear pathways for job seekers interested in industrial careers, according to Wissler. This will be an entirely new position that is linked to the Skills to Success project. WIB has until Sept. 30, 2025, to spend the grand funding, but Wissler said that hopefully they can continue to build sustainable opportunities that will last even after it’s gone.

“When we get this type of grant funding at a regional level, our goal is to be able to sustain it beyond the end of the funding period, by building partnerships and building it into the work that we do,” Wissler said.

Construction, manufacturing and transportation careers make up over 108,000 jobs in Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties, according to data from WIB. Wissler said WIB is hoping to provide more individuals with access to industrial training programs to increase opportunities and improve equity for individuals who live in disadvantaged and low-income communities, as well as out-of-school youth.

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