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Locally Grown: How Victor Valley Nurtures Talent

Victor Valley College powers workforce development in the region through higher education and partnerships.

By Teree Caruthers on January 26, 2023

victor valley
Eric Reed

Victor Valley College, a constant driver in the region’s workforce development, is hard at work preparing the next generation of talent to meet the needs of employers. The college in Victorville offers more than 100 career education and workforce training programs preparing individuals for skilled jobs in the region’s high-demand industries.

“Attracting business and industry to the High Desert is critical to the economic growth and vibrancy of our community,” says Richard Radcliffe, interim director of noncredit instructional programs for Victor Valley College (VVC).

“One aspect of choosing where to locate a business is available human resources. Availability of a highly skilled workforce adds to the other desirable qualities of the region that include transportation resources, real estate availability and value.”

As the main provider of workforce training in Victorville and the region, VVC is able to offer workforce training at little or no cost, depending on the program. Some training programs offered through its noncredit division are designed to have students working in as little as six to eight weeks, Radcliffe says.

Skills Player

For example, through the Logistics and Distribution Training Pathway, students learn skills related to forklift training, can earn Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety certifications as well as a commercial driver’s license program, which will help prepare students for high-wage, high-skill, in-demand local careers.

“To serve the transportation industry, we have an incredible Automotive Technology Department and hope to be announcing the start date of our commercial driver training program,” Radcliffe says. “We also have a forklift training program and aviation airframe and powerplant (A&P) program.

“Many of the transportation programs support the logistics industry, but I’m happy to say that we offer an industrial maintenance apprenticeship that teaches students skills relevant to automated logistics facilities as well as our strong, local mining manufacturing industry.”

The college is also one of only 32 community colleges across the country selected to participate in the Metallica Scholars Initiative, a program established by the organization All Within My Hands to provide scholarship funds in hopes of preparing the next generation workforce. The college plans to use the $50,000 grant to provide training and certifications for students in industrial maintenance, safety and forklift operations.

Radcliffe says VVC supports the hospitality industry with its restaurant management program. Students run the campus Desert Rock Café – a full-service restaurant with a menu that changes each week.

“The variety of meals they prepare is amazing. I’m a frequent patron of the Desert Rock Café and probably would not get lunch if they were not here,” he says.

Powerful Partnerships

Radcliffe says the Career Education program leaders regularly consult with the region’s economic development organizations as well as local business and industry partners to stay informed of employer needs.

The Mojave Desert Economic Partnership developed a list of essential skills, which will be used by VVC and the public school districts to ensure graduates have the soft skills employers need. These types of partnerships are critical to the region’s workforce development success.

The Alliance for Education, for example, works to connect industry and educators to support training efforts and bolster the talent base.

“Alliance can be one of the best sources for helping all of us deal with changes in the industry and how different businesses are run … where the Alliance can fill this need is how to have this link between the industry and educators to say this is where we are now and this is where we’re going and these are the skills we’re going to need from our students in the future,” says Randall Lewis, senior executive vice president of marketing for the Lewis Group of Cos., a commercial development company that participates in the program.

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