In California, Jobs Training Remains a Pressing Concern

Or at least one of them.

At Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s remarks about his “Jobs Initiative” Monday at Ace Clearwater in Torrance, company President Kellie Johnson spoke. Here’s what she had to say:

Thanks to our elected officials and a deep appreciation to Governor Schwarzenegger for being here today and for expanding the jobs training programs. I believe that it sends a message to employers throughout the state that our government is our partner and is working with us.

But more importantly, the expansion of the jobs training program is about the people of this great state, for without them companies like Ace Clearwater wouldn’t be able to innovate, we couldn’t compete and we wouldn’t be able to win. Operating in California requires us to have the most productive workforce in the world. Ace Clearwater is a family-owned business, third generation. We’ve been around for 60 years. We wouldn’t be here today without the talented and skilled people that make up this company.

The Governor mentioned that we have been blessed with tremendous opportunity and, as a result, Ace Clearwater has been experiencing tremendous growth. We’ve hired approximately 100 people but we continue to have openings that we can’t fill because we can’t find the skills that are necessary to compete in today’s very complicated economy. The increasing technical knowledge and multi-skilled natured of today’s advanced manufacturing sector has wiped out the traditional white collar, blue collar and unskilled categories of work. The expanded jobs training program will help employers train people with the skills they need to compete in today’s global economy.

Johnson is a member of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Executive Committee and is set to become chairman of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association. The CMTA’s president and CEO, Jack Stewart, also emphasized the importance of workforce training in remarks at Torrance, citing a study the association worked on with the Milken Institue, “Manufacturing 2.0: A More Prosperous California.” Jack said:

Milken, in looking at what are the detriments to doing business in California, Milken had a number of key findings, one of which was to train the workforce. We absolutely have to have trained workers and we need to do the training at all levels, from introducing young people in K-8 to the opportunities that are out there in the workforce to doing career-technical education in high schools and in our community colleges. Community colleges, I believe, are going to be really the core, the crown jewel of our training program as we go forward in training the 21st century workforce.

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