Young Visionaries Offers Free Training and Job Placement
By Dianne Anderson
Extra money is here just in time for the holidays – even for the untrained, or late sleepers.
For those not wanting to punch the clock for 7:00 a.m., there are plenty of opportunities for second or third shifts. Warehouses run every day of the year, and forklift operators can choose a flexible schedule.
Vacant lots have filled up fast in recent years with warehouses popping up throughout San Bernardino. All politics aside, supply chain logistics workers are in big demand, and all three shifts are usually available.
Irania Jimenez, 23, a proud graduate of the Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy free forklift training program, received her certificate last week. After only two weeks of training, she has learned job skills that can carry her wherever she goes.
“They taught us about different personality types, how to be on time for work. They also taught how to find a job, and keep one, how to build resumes and cover letters,” she said.
She said the work is not hard, and she appreciated the opportunity because there are so few women forklift drivers in the field. She feels more women should apply.
“It may be intimidating because the field is male-dominated,” she said. “But the men here are very respectful, and they don’t treat you any different. It’s like a gender-neutral zone.”
Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy is now accepting applications to get workers into free forklift training with a certificate, job placement, follow-up support, and hands-on experience. Workers can start entry level from $13-15 an hour.
Even as the industry expands into automation, Terrance Stone said that it’s important to get workers trained and in the door. From there, they can decide if they want to take automation training to the next level.
“This is the low hanging fruit,” said Stone, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Young Visionaries Youth Academy in San Bernardino. “We tell people to look at this as a starter job. We’re not trying to make you have a career in supply chain logistics — unless you want that.”
There are hundreds of warehouse jobs up for grabs going into the holiday season. His program now has 20 slots open for fast-tracked training. Classes run two weeks, and includes workforce development, courses on how to survive in the workplace, and how to hold down a regular job.
Down the line, Stone said opportunities can lead to something bigger. He recalls working a job he absolutely hated at a machine shop in his late 20’s, but even that experience panned out in a good way.
With his background as a former gang member, it was important that he first get off the streets. He knew machine shop work wasn’t his life’s calling, but the job taught him how to get to work on time, and get the job done.
“It gave me workforce development skills to know within myself that I can hold down a job,” he said.
For those coming with a felony, he said the program partners with “felon friendly” employers willing to work with those seeking a second chance. So far, Stone has trained about 150 workers.
Stone is state certified in gang intervention, and a gang expert for San Bernardino Superior Court. Recently, among other sizable grant funding dollars, his organization received a $1 million CalVIP grant, focused on violence reduction, employment readiness, youth mentoring and counseling services.
Ana Valdez, Young Visionaries job placement specialist, is always seeking employers to match with the students. She also connects with outside staffing agencies if needed, whatever it takes to get graduates working.
As a recruiter in the industry for at least seven years, she said the job training experience is attractive to employers. Students train at their partner San Bernardino Food Bank, which is a 32,000 square foot facility.
Other training agencies usually offer written or video instruction, with little or no forklift experience. She feels that their program gives students the best.
“They’re in the warehouse, going between the rails, picking up pallets, loading them into the trailers and coming out. It assures me of their safety, that they’re okay to go,” she said.
She is now taking sign-ups for the incoming class with a November 2 deadline. Classes start November 5.
“They can even walk in. If we have room, we’ll keep them on,” she said.
New classes start every month, but they want to get workers ready for the holiday hires.
“It’s peak season right now, they’re going to need a lot of people,” she said.
For more information on the free forklift training program, contact Ava Valdez (909) 723-1695