(Apple Valley)– – At the request of San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, the Board of Supervisors today approved a $95,000 allocation for Apple Valley High School’s Precision Machining Academy to purchase tools and equipment to help train the next generation of highly skilled fabricators, machinists and designers.
“Manufacturing is one of the bright spots in the local economy, and that industry needs highly trained workers to continue growing,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. “This is an example of county government working in partnership with industry and education to develop a home-grown supply of skilled employees, which will make the region even more attractive to manufacturers seeking to locate here.”
The Inland Empire manufacturing sector added more than 3,000 jobs in the past year. Even with the unemployment rate in San Bernardino County at 12.7 percent, local manufacturers report that they have difficulty filling openings for skilled blue collar positions, including machinists and welders.
Apple Valley High School offers courses on fabrication that include design, welding, CNC plasma cutting and 3D modeling. The funding provided from Supervisor Mitzelfelt’s First District discretionary funds will be used to purchase equipment that meets industry standards, including precision measuring tools and manual and CNC milling machines. That equipment will allow the program to take training to a higher level.
“The expansion of our industrial engineering program to include precision machining will help prepare students for jobs in our community or further training,” said Apple Valley High School Principal Pat Schlosser. “It is our goal to connect every student to rigorous and relevant courses that will prepare them for life after high school. We are extremely grateful for this equipment which will provide increased opportunity for Apple Valley students.”
While the facilities will be located on campus, they will be open to students throughout the High Desert after hours, similar to Regional Occupation Programs. The need to develop skilled workers is being advocated by the High Desert Chapter of the Alliance for Education’s STEAM 2020 initiative. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.
Supervisor Mitzelfelt has long supported training geared to growing local industries. In another example of a public-private partnership, his office provided funding to help establish the School of Aviation Technology, now operated by Victor Valley College, which trains aircraft mechanics. He also provided funding to expand the nursing program at Victor Valley College.