Above: More than 300 high school students from San Bernardino County attended a Manufacturing Day event at the InTech Center in Fontana on Friday, October 14.

County’s youth a competitive advantage in attracting jobs

San Bernardino County not only is one of the fastest-growing population centers in California, it’s one of the youngest, offering growing businesses a steady pipeline of workers for decades to come. The county’s median age, 33, is the youngest in Southern California, and three years younger than the state average, attributable in large part to a surge in the number of young families.

As the chart on the right shows, more than one in four residents of San Bernardino County is under the age of 18. And with nearly 160,000 students currently enrolled in high school across the county, 66,000 in community colleges and more than 20,000 in four-year universities, the pipeline of next-generation career seekers is extremely attractive to employers looking to relocate or expand here.

Beyond sheer numbers, research shows that next-generation workers offer innovative businesses insight into changes in technology, consumer habits and social norms. According to Forbes magazine, Next-Gen workers “are inquisitive and eager to learn. They’re also extremely keen to put their skills to the test and, if opportunities arise, add new skills to parlay into future opportunities.”

At WDB, we are committed to ensuring that young adults in San Bernardino County have the skills they need to launch their careers, while meeting the often-challenging workforce needs of growing businesses. This includes working with community, education and business partners to prepare future workers for 21st century career opportunities. For more on all that we have to offer, please visit our website.

Youth programs, services available through WDB

San Bernardino County youth and young adults, ages 16 to 24, can access a variety of career and educational services through programs funded by the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act. These services are designed to enhance job skills, develop leadership qualities, offer career options, provide adult and peer mentoring opportunities. For more information, visit our website.

See the link at the bottom of this page, or click here, for federal funding disclosure information for all WDB programs.

Preparing for tomorrow TODAY!

Several hundred Rialto Unified School District high school students participated in the Fifth District Youth Job & College Fair on Wednesday, October 12, at San Bernardino Valley College. Students learned how to prepare for job interviews, received career information from businesses and met with college representatives. The event was hosted by Fifth District Supervisor Supervisor Joe Baca Jr., an RUSD alum.

Labor Market Intelligence

San Bernardino County’s unemployment rate fell below 4% in September, as payrolls climbed to their highest level on record. Job gains in the government, healthcare and logistics sectors led the way. The 3.8% jobless rate for September was the county’s second lowest since before the pandemic. The total labor pool, meanwhile, reached its second highest total ever, exceeding the 1 million mark for the 11th straight month.

For the latest EDD Labor Market Intelligence report for the Inland Empire, please click here.
Message from the Chair

‘Tis the season for hiring

Phil Cothran

WDB Chair

Seasonal hiring has begun across our county, state and region, and all signs point to robust activity once again this year. Not only are major retailers ramping up staff this holiday season, but many of our major logistics operations are expecting their busiest months ever and will need workers to meet that demand. Based on historical trends, in fact, there is a possibility that seasonal hiring could push total employment in San Bernardino County above 1 million for the first time ever.

If you are an employer looking to hire, seasonal or otherwise, WDB’s Business Service Specialists are ready to assist. To contact one of our team members, please check out our website.

In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving! We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you.

My first job was as a stock person at Kinney Shoes at the Fox Hills mall in Culver City. It worked great into my school schedule. I’d work two nights a week at $3.15 an hour and as long as I’d get the shipments off the stockroom floor, I got weekends off, best thing ever. One evening as I was leaving work, my manager, Hank, said they were going to be short staffed over the weekend on the sales floor and asked if I owned a coat and tie. I was hesitant at first, but I’d get $.25 more an hour plus commission, so I gave it a shot. From that point on, I’d run stock a couple of week nights, work the sales floor on weekends and still maintain my studies. 

After graduating, I decided to work full-time and rapidly progressed through their extensive training program, from store management, to training manager, to overseeing multiple locations to eventually a corporate recruiter. Hank never gave up on me when I am certain most others would/should have, for which I was very grateful. 

I still hold the lessons I learned from Kinney Shoes and Hank, such as the importance of recruiting and surrounding yourself with people smarter than you, believing in and supporting your team through thick and thin and always be teaching. Most importantly, Kinney is where I met my wife, and 33 years later we are as happy as we’ve ever been. Sadly the once giant retailer closed in the 90’s; however, there is this little company that they started that still lives on today and which makes me smile every time I see it. That little company is Footlocker. 

How one Workforce Development Specialist reinvented his career

As a drug and alcohol counselor and family therapist, Larry Aragon leaned on WDB to help clients successfully land new careers. He loved the experience so much that he, himself, joined the department as a Workforce Development Specialist. Just like many of the job seekers he now helps, “I discovered that I could take the skills I had built over the years and transfer them over to a new career,” Aragon said, while sharing his story at a recent WDB Board meeting. “I love the fact that I am able to give back.” He also loves the work environment he is now a part of. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been part of a great family, and this family is amazing.”

Larry Aragon, flanked by WDB Director Bradley Gates (left) and Chair Phil Cothran (right)

Stat of the Month
Connecting Employers and Job Seekers

Local employers will participate in several hiring events at the County’s America’s Job Centers of California (AJCCs) in the coming weeks:

Thursday, November 17: West Valley AJCC, 9650 9th St., Suite A, Rancho Cucamonga. 9 a.m.-noon. Register here.

Thursday, December 1: East Valley AJCC, 500 Inland Center Driver, Space 508, San Bernardino. 9 a.m.-noon. Register here.

Coming up

WDB hosts free virtual seminars throughout the week to help job seekers on topics such as interviewing skills, resume building and navigating the employment resources available during the pandemic. If you know of anyone who could use this valuable assistance, a calendar of upcoming sessions is available here.

In the meantime, here are some upcoming events and release dates:

Friday, November 18: California EDD releases its October jobs report.

Friday, December 2: Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its November U.S. jobs report.

Wednesday, December 7: WDB General Board meeting, Noon.-2 p.m., 290 N. D St., Ste. 600, San Bernardino

Visit our YouTube channel to view archived videos of our Business Services webinars, such as this one on participatory leadership.

Stay up to date
Click here to catch up on past editions of Workforce Update, WDB’s monthly e-newsletter and labor market intelligence report.

If you know others who would like to receive this timely and important information, please invite them to join our mailing list at

WIOA Title I-financially assisted programs or activities are an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.  For federal funding disclosure information, visit:

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