At a time when college and quality employment are out of reach for many people, America's Job Center of Kern County provides an alternative for those looking for a career in a high-demand industry and helps employers find the best of the best employees.
Aaron Ellis is the chief workforce development officer for the county and has been with the organization since 1992.
"I get to help our community find employment and gain skills offering free training in a myriad of industries, including trucking, nursing, dental, barber, auto, welding, bookkeeping, energy, solar, health care, agriculture, construction, oil, gas and many more."
"We will pay for the training, so it is free to the participant and work with individuals ages 18 and older."
The organization is based in Bakersfield with satellite resource centers in Shafter, Delano, Lake Isabella, Lamont, Taft, Mojave and Ridgecrest. One can use computers and receive job-seeking guidance and career counseling from advisors.
The Job Center provides support services such as case management and job placement. There is transportation and tools and equipment to get a job. "We also offer uniforms and anything employers need for that employee. We can cover those costs."
It provides workshops like resume building, typing and interview training. "So they can be ready for that job, be it their first-time job or transitioning job. We prepare them to get that dream job."
Ellis said of the Center's mission, "We want to be the best workforce development department in the United States, and we want to make sure we provide all community members the opportunity to find employment and to reach their employment and career goals."
The center partners with a variety of employers. "We work with smaller companies all the way up to larger ones like Amazon and only work with ones that pay a living wage. That is very important to us."
"We have control to direct them to the right employers that offer competitive wages, benefits and health care."
The organization's history is rich, and for more than 40 years, it has also assisted seasonal and migrant farmworkers. "We find them other employment outside of farm working, or we can assist them with learning new skills, find work in a warehouse, or do job training so they can earn a higher wage."
Its reach is extensive and aims to serve a wide demographic. "We help folks that are justice-involved [have criminal backgrounds] and have grants to help them with paid work experience and job placement."
The center also provides services to local homeless veterans, with a grant to assist them with job training and employment.
There is a strong social media presence, and the center has a "Job Squad" that regularly posts available jobs and job leads on Facebook [America's Job Center of Kern]. One can visit the page to learn about the latest workshops and community events like job fairs, he said.
"Our services are one of the best-kept secrets in Kern County, and we encourage Kern County to reach out to us so that we can help them meet their employment goals."
Call 661-325 HIRE or americasjobcenterofkern.com for more information.