U.S. Senator Kamala Harris toured the California Steel Industries Campus in Fontana last Thursday. She met with college administrators, local officials, business executives and students at the campus’ Industrial Technical Learning Center. During the visit, she stressed the importance of developing skills in adult learners to meet the demand in technical fields.
Harris took advantage of her time on campus to get hands-on experience with the center’s forklift simulator. She toured classrooms and met with several students who are learning the necessary skills to qualify for jobs in a variety of high tech fields.
The Industrial Technical Learning Center is a collaboration between California Steel, Chaffey College, and others. Its primary funding is provided by federal grant. The Center’s primary focus is to build capability in workers necessary to compete in fields that range from robotics to welding to industrial maintenance and a host of other tech-related opportunities.
In speaking with students, Harris stressed, “What makes this program successful and what makes me have the ability to talk about it is that hopefully, it can be done in other places. People whose names you will never know are going to have opportunities because of your success.”
During her visit, Harris did not shy away from her criticisms of the Trump Administration, particularly with regard to Trump’s proposed cuts to the federal budget that target workforce training. “The idea that we’re going to cut funding to train people just doesn’t make any sense,” she told reporters.
The inland region’s Chief Economist, John Husing, also participated in the event. He talked about the region’s continued population growth, its strengthening economy, blue-collar and technical jobs in the area, and the important role education plays in enabling residents to meet the growing technical demands in the workplace.