ITLC and Iyai+ Introduce Youth to Infrastructure Careers at San Bernardino Valley College

Posted October 2021

Continuing its partnership with Introducing Youth to American Infrastructure+ (Iyai+), founded and run by Dr. Beverly Scott, on September 23 and October 7, the ITLC coordinated sessions for San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) sessions for high school and SBVC students, and interested community members. These programs, part of a semester-long SBVC course, “Gateway to Opportunity – Introduction to Infrastructure Careers” run by instructor Omar Castro and delivered in a hybrid (virtual and in-person) mode, introduced the audience to a range of career opportunities in California’s Inland Empire. For the September session, ITLC Executive Director Jack Clark and the Amalgamated Transit Union’s (ATU) Workforce Development Coordinator Jamaine Gibson provided an overview of the transit industry and its associated careers, followed by a panel discussing frontline work with Jamaine, ATU Local 1277 President Arturo Aguilar and ATU Local 1704 President Joanne Barnes.


After a Q&A session, ITLC Program Director John Schiavone and LA Metro’s Senior Bus Maintenance Instructor Obed Mejia engaged in an interactive dialogue on the industry’s move toward electrification. The ITLC’s session helped provide a context for presentations throughout the semester from public transportation agencies, including LA Metro, Metrolink, and Omnitrans. 


The October session introduced the class to careers connected to the Inland Empire’s core economic base in transportation, warehousing, logistics, and related work. ITLC Deputy Director Xinge Wang framed the discussion with a national and regional overview of the sectors involved in moving goods into and through the US and the region, noting key career opportunities.

Avin Sharma, Director of Labor Relations and Workforce Development for the Port of LA, followed with a description of how goods move into the country through the Port, the range of Port operations and associated career opportunities, including those connected to green initiatives and jobs and moves toward electrification. 


Tracking the movement of goods and jobs into the Inland Empire, Teamsters Local 1932 Youth Development Director Becky Lepins described warehousing and distribution functions and the local career opportunities created. She also discussed the work the Teamsters were doing to combat environmental pollution and their involvement in green technology. Local members Kenneth Rodriguez, a forklift operator and shop steward at a Kroger distribution center, and Marcos Worrell, a delivery transport driver with 7UP, then discussed their career pathways with their companies and the union, engaging in an active dialogue with class participants. 


The final program segment began with Ira Stern, International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM) Training and Apprenticeship Coordinator, describing the IAM’s CREST Youth Transition to Work Program and apprenticeship opportunities. Sal Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Transportation Communications Union (TCU)/IAM Organizing Department, then spoke to class about his progression through a range of transportation careers, beginning with Amtrak, and opportunities created through various Job Corps programs. The audience engaged in a lively final round of questions, as the session came to an end.


The two Iyai+ sessions were coordinated by ITLC staff - Program Associate Karitsa Holdzkom, Senior Program Associate Kenyon Corbett, and Senior Director for Workforce Education Pat Greenfield. Additional support was provided by Iyai+ staff members Isaiah Chauhan and Citlalli Trujillo.

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