Workforce training programs take the prize in the Summit’s annual PIE Contest for 2018

580 200 Ed Coghlan

Workforce partnerships in the health care and construction sectors were the winners of the 2018 PIE Contest (Photo: Pixabay & USAF)

Four workforce-training programs will be honored as winners of the California Economic Summit’s Partnerships for Industry and Education (PIE) awards in Santa Rosa November 15-16.

The winning programs, which address worker shortages in the construction and the health care sectors, were selected by a panel of judges from a strong list of 37 entries up for consideration.

Each workforce partnership was judged on how connected program goals and the problems addressed were, how well progress was tracked and results were demonstrated, how students and workers were involved in planning, and how scalable the program is.

First place went to the Green Energy Training Services Core Apprenticeship Readiness Programs (GETS) in Alameda and Contra Costa counties of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Rising Sun Energy Center partners with the Build and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County and Tradeswomen Inc. in preparing low-income individuals for employment opportunities in the construction industry. 

This year, 60 persons are preparing for apprenticeships, two-thirds of them African American or Latino, and 50 percent are women. Since the program started nearly a decade ago, 767 have completed the program and, in 2017, 89 percent of those enrolled finished the program.

“Rising Sun Energy Center’s GETS Training provides a great source for CESC for job applicants. CESC has hired GETS graduates before, and in our experience this program provides practical and helpful pre-employment training that directly benefits us as an employer,” said Martin Bond, executive director of the Community Energy Services Corporation.  

Second place went to the North Bay Construction Corps Program that was formed in 2017 to address the overwhelming need for a skilled workforce in the area—and that was before last year’s fire disaster in Sonoma County.

This training program—which lasts five months—is aimed at training high school seniors for careers in construction and the trades while they earn college credit.

The Career Technical Education Foundation Sonoma County and the North Coast Builders Exchange are working together in the program, which will expand to six cohorts in Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties with the goal of graduating 300 students by June 2020.

It’s estimated that there is a need for 6,000 new construction and trade workers annually in the area.

“It’s so important to provide engaging opportunities that inspire the next generation of tradespeople. Construction Corps encourages high school students to explore in a hands-on environment how their interests can be leveraged to create a successful career in this industry,” said Barbie Richardson, owner of Simpson Sheet Metal.

Two Northern California health care programs tied for third place.

A partnership between Monterey Peninsula College and Montage Health that addresses the cyclical nursing shortages in Monterey County was established in 1982 earned one of the awards.

The Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing has graduated 1,400 persons—and estimated that 75 percent of them are working in Monterey County. 

The completion rates are outstanding—94 percent of those in the 2017-2018 program graduated.

“It would be hard to overstate the importance of this partnership in relation to Montage Health being able to fulfill its mission,” said Terri Lowe, chief nursing officer of the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

There was similar praise for the other winning program—the Job Train Health Career Pathways Partnership between Stanford Health Care and Job Train, Inc. in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

This program targets low income youth who tackle a 16-week 480-hour coursework and then spend four weeks in an externship in the Stanford Health Center.

Their goal is to become an accredited medical assistant. Seventy-five percent of those who enter the program obtain employment and more than 85 percent are still working one year later.

“The quality of staff has been phenomenal. They’re willing to learn and excited to be part of our team,” said Teresa Wei of the Stanford Health Center.

The final round of judging for the 2018 PIE Contest was completed by Julian Canete of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, Timothy Litton of the Carpenters Local Union, Sheila A. Thomas, of CSU Extended Ed, Cathy Martin of the California Hospital Association, and Brett Barley of Wonderful College Prep.

The California Economic Summit identified workforce preparation as a key goal to improving California’s economy in its first year and has been working civic, business and public leaders in a cross-sector approach to meeting the challenge of training one million new workers for the state’s economy.

“Identifying and honoring successful public-private partnerships that are helping meet that goal are what the PIE Contest is designed to do,” said Leah Grassini-Moehle, program manager for California Forward, which organizes the California Economic Summit.

Help us celebrate the winners at the 2018 California Economic Summit where an award ceremony and networking hour will take place starting at 11:00 a.m. on November 16.

Register for the Summit today!

Read more about the 2018 PIE Contest Winners


Ed Coghlan

All stories by: Ed Coghlan