Napa County Office of Education and Mendocino Private Industry Council Among Recipients 

NAPA, Calif. — Two organizations were recently awarded grants for projects addressing education and workforce needs in Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties. Selected through a competitive application and review process, the North Bay Employment Connection Regional Planning Unit (NBEC) awarded the Industry Innovation Grant to the Napa County Office of Education (NCOE) and Mendocino Private Industry Council (MPIC). This fund was created to support system-wide solutions which will lead to greater economic vitality for the residents and businesses of the North Bay.

The first program, Attention: Napa – Workforce Matters, identifies and promotes achievable employment opportunities within the manufacturing, construction and hospitality industries. The project aims to help Napa employers attract workers by creating videos to show job seekers what career paths look like in these industries. NCOE will identify 12 to 15 high school students to create the videos. The project itself will provide real-world workplace experience as the students fill the role of writers, producers, technicians, and related positions for the creation and distribution of the videos.

“These aspirational videos will show students which industries have a growing number of jobs in our region,” said Superintendent Barbara Nemko, “and what the pathway to a career in these areas require. Whether it’s postsecondary education, training or work experience, they will learn what the pathway to employment looks like in Napa.”

The second Industry Innovation Grant recipient plans to host a series of informational forums with local contractors, employers, and educators in all trades to identify industry occupations and workforce needs in Lake and Mendocino counties. MPIC, the lead agency, has partnered with the Lake County Office of Education, Mendocino-Lake ACE, Mendocino College Lake Center and Woodland Community. The events will focus on jobs, the skills needed, and assist the partners in creating appropriate training programs. These forums will address the shortfalls in training and workforce, so they can be addressed and resolved.

 “Lake and Mendocino counties are facing a shortfall of workers in the construction and trades industry and our counties currently do not have apprenticeship opportunities,” said MPIC Executive Director Candy De Los Santos. “With this grant we are able to gather information specific to identifying skills gaps and opportunities for education and training. Not only will this benefit the workers and businesses, but our communities will move closer to full recovery following a series of natural disasters.”

Workforce Alliance of the North Bay is a part of the NBEC, a partnership including the County of Sonoma Human Services Department, Employment and Training Division and Workforce Development Board. These three Workforce Boards envision a sustainable balance between the employment needs of job seekers and the business needs of employers, to ensure a self-sufficient, skilled and diverse workforce in the region. Economic vitality is characterized by an abundance of well-paying jobs and a skilled workforce that helps to assure the economic success of businesses and workers.