Employment News

Job training experts talk about matching skills to openings in Stanislaus

The upper arm of the “Armazon” swivels and moves pallets from the lower floor to the upper floor of the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Patterson.
The upper arm of the “Armazon” swivels and moves pallets from the lower floor to the upper floor of the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Patterson. dnoda@modbee.com file

Yes, it helps to know warehouse robotics or some other advanced technology when seeking work in Stanislaus County, experts said Tuesday. It also helps to have reading and math skills, to be punctual and to have other time-honored traits.

About 60 people took part in a meeting at the county Office of Education that explored whether the skills being taught match up with what employers need.

The meeting included long-established campuses such as Modesto Junior College and California State University, Stanislaus, along with private outfits such as the Modesto Institute of Technology. High schools were represented, too, since they have renewed their efforts for students who are not on a college track.

Many employers need people trained in common computer programs such as Microsoft Office, said Diane Putney, owner of Wise Guys PC in Ceres, which teaches these and other skills.

David Shinder, the Riverside County-based consultant who led the meeting, agreed.

“There’s almost no job that you can do where you’re not touched by technology,” he said.

The talk focused in part on sectors with thousands of workers, such as food processing and health care. It also zeroed in on trends such as distribution centers in Patterson that rely on robots as well as people.

Opportunity Stanislaus, an economic development agencyS, soon will open its own training center in the downtown building where The Modesto Bee leases space. This will help meet the demand for technical skills, but CEO David White said he also sees a need for “soft skills” such as communication and teamwork.

Riverbank City Councilman Cal Campbell said young people should plan on further changes, such as the possibility that truck drivers could be replaced by driver-less vehicles. He is a retired educator and serves on a workforce training board.

Other speakers urged an increase in internships, along with programs that quickly train people pressed for time because of their current jobs or family obligations.

John Holland: 209-578-2385

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