Workforce Investment Board gives out awards

June 26, 2013
Santa Paula News

State Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, who established the Gold Team California initiative to retain and attract employers to Ventura County and the state, earned this year’s Workforce Investment Board (WIB) Champion for Prosperity Award.

Gorell will be among five 2013 WIB Award recipients who will be recognized at the WIB’s annual meeting on June 20 at the Ventura County Office of Education. The annual awards in four categories, are given to individuals, employers and organizations in the community who have played an important role in building a strong workforce in Ventura County.

 WIB Champion for Prosperity Award

 The WIB Champion for Prosperity Award is presented to an individual or organization for supporting workforce development in Ventura County through job creation, job retention and business expansion or attraction. In addition to creating the Gold Team, Gorell has advocated for approval of a federal permit to test unmanned aerial vehicles at Navy Base Ventura County (NBVC). If the permit process is successful, it will result in thousands of jobs to the region.

“California has advantages that most states can only dream about, including our highly educated workforce, a gateway to Asian markets through our West Coast ports, abundant natural resources and a healthy infrastructure,” says Gorell.” However, we continue to lose jobs to less appealing states because we are not fighting hard enough to keep those jobs in California. The California Gold Team brings elected officials together with business and labor leaders, working to find common sense solutions to our regulatory burdens and to highlight our state’s competitive advantages.”

 WIB Leadership Award

 For his work on behalf of Ventura County’s youth and overall workforce development, Captain David Sasek at Naval Base Ventura County received the WIB Leadership Award. The award recognizes someone who embodies the spirit and purpose of workforce development in Ventura County--a role model who takes on and solves workforce challenges.

 Sasek helped form and is currently chairperson of the NBVC Education Outreach Working Group of 80 tenant Commands on the Base. The group’s goals are to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines by minority students in local schools. Under Sasek’s leadership, the Base offers six-to-nine-week internships and has established programs and partnerships  with local elementary, middle and high schools.

  “I believe STEM education outreach is critical to the future of our nation’s economy,” says Sasek. “Encouraging our children to pursue higher education studies in these rapidly-growing, currently underserved areas will help us reduce or eliminate our nation’s deficit in STEM related fields. Equally important, doing so will create career opportunities for these youth in growing fields for life-long productive employment.”

 WIB Youth Opportunity Award

 The WIB Youth Opportunity Award is presented to an organization for providing internships or employment opportunities that help grow and strengthen Ventura County’s future workforce. This year, there were two winners.

  The Port of Hueneme is one of the award recipients. In April 2012, The port proposed a Global Trade and Logistics class for junior and senior students in the Oxnard Union High School District. The class just completed its second semester with an enrollment of 16 students. The program provides an overview of global trade and logistics supply chains and a relevant curriculum so students understand the job skills necessary for the industry.

    “Most people don’t consider the economics of international trade or the numerous job and career opportunities created by shipping fresh produce or cars from overseas,” says Kristin Decas, Port of Hueneme CEO and port director. “The Global Trade & Logistics class combines real-world Port of Hueneme situations with content from the Oxnard Union High School District curriculum. The result is an engaging and interactive experience that promises to get students excited about our county’s global seaport and the career opportunities represented through global trade.”

 The second award winner is the Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Hospital’s Auxiliary. Under the direction of Debbie Hill, the director of volunteer services for both hospitals, more than 80 youths participate in internships at the hospitals.

“Our student volunteers develop a sense of confidence while working in our healthcare setting,” says Hill. “They bring with them enthusiasm and an eagerness to expand their knowledge. We all take pride in the fact that we have made a difference in the lives of these young people.”  

 WIB Collaborative Action Award

 The WIB Collaborative Action Award goes to Tavi Udrea, global training and development director for Haas Automation, Inc. in Oxnard. The award is for partnerships that help meet employer needs, improve the relevance and capacity of education and workforce training or supports business expansion in Ventura County.

 Udrea has played a key role in organizing the Manufacturing Roundtable of Ventura County, created by the WIB in 2012 to strengthen the manufacturing base in Ventura County. He also works with the K-12 school system and community colleges to host student visits to Haas Automation and actively encourages other businesses to help raise the visibility of manufacturing careers in the county.

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