Business Beat: Modesto Junior College training program offers warehousing skills

February 1, 2014 

Patterson Amazon employees mill through the parking lot during a shift change Thursday evening (12-19-13).


    alternate text Patty Guerra
    Title: Breaking news editor
    Coverage areas: Breaking news, business
    Bio: Patty Guerra has been an editor and reporter at The Modesto Bee for 13 years. She has a journalism degree from Fresno State and previously worked at the Turlock Journal and Merced Sun-Star.
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    On Twitter: @pattyguerra

— Our region is becoming a warehouse powerhouse.

As my colleague J.N. Sbranti reported in Friday’s Modesto Bee, warehousing jobs are the fastest-growing area of employment in the region. In the story on Page B1, Jeff Michael of the University of the Pacific’s Business Forecasting Center in Stockton predicts Stanislaus County jobs will increase 2.7 percent this year.

If that prediction comes true, many of those jobs will be in distribution centers and warehouses coming on the heels of Internet giant’s massive distribution center in Patterson, where Grainger, CVS and other companies already have found success.

People who would like to land one of those jobs can get trained through a new program at Modesto Junior College aimed at preparing students for entry-level positions in warehousing.

Students can pick from several course offerings, including logistics, inventory control and forklift operation. Logistics training will be held Wednesdays. Students can earn a certificate for certified logistics associate or the higher-level certified logistics technician. Both are nationally recognized certificates from the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, MJC said in a news release. Those are four-week courses that start this month.

Next month, MJC also is offering training in scan guns and inventory control systems, and in forklift operation.

Costs for these course offerings range from $150 to $460.

For more information, contact Norma Gallardo at MJC Workforce Development, at (209) 575-6595 or You can also get more information at

Elsewhere around the Business Beat

Tuolumne County remains “Vacationland,” but the information center that opened in downtown Sonora to showcase that claim is closing up shop.

We received a news release from the Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau last week, announcing the relocation of the Vacation Station back to the bureau’s offices on Stockton Road.

The Vacation Station opened last spring on a trial basis to welcome visitors and show off the new “Vacationland” brand the bureau promoted. The closure was predicated by a series of financial hits, including the Rim fire, the federal government shutdown and now the drought.

“The financially responsible thing to do was to close the Vacation Station and relocate it, complete with the Vacationland branding, back to our bureau business offices,” bureau Executive Director Nanci Sikes said in the news release. “It was a decision that our executive board had to make and one that they feel is in the bureau’s best interest in the long run.”

There’s brighter news to the west of us. Patterson City Manager Rod Butler said retail development around the Walmart Supercenter complex on Sperry Avenue is perking right along, with Panda Express and GameStop now open, and following soon: Verizon Wireless, MetroPCS, Unlimited R Us (a wireless communications store), General Nutrition Centers, Togo’s, Little Caesars Pizza, Great Clips and a new urgent care center.

And finally, Bella Vagos salon on McHenry Avenue has a new owner and a new attraction. Michelle Rau took over the salon in January and is already expanding, adding a cafe and patio where she and her husband will be serving up food to go with your new look. Starting Feb. 13, they are planning Thursday night pizza on the patio. Pizza and a new do – sounds like the way to many a woman’s heart.

Bella Vagos is at 521 McHenry Ave., Modesto. Call (209) 573-8605.

Have an item for Business Beat? Contact Patty Guerra at The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; (209) 578-2343; or

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