Technical careers are on the rise in California’s Central Valley, as is the need for specially trained employees to fill them. In September 2023, the Wonderful Career Center (WCC), located at the Wonderful Industrial Park in Shafter, California, partnered with Bakersfield College to launch the Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) program.
This customizable certificate program helps address the industry’s demand for skilled workers while also providing a unique opportunity for individuals of all backgrounds and experience levels to venture into the industrial sector with the tools and knowledge to succeed. PIT joins existing WCC offerings such as the yearlong Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship (MTA) and Technical Operator Program (TOP).
At no cost to participants, the PIT program covers an array of topics essential for safe and efficient forklift operations, ranging from the mechanics of forklift machinery to mastering safety protocols – all of which meet the highest industry standards. By blending in-person lectures with hands-on demonstrations, this comprehensive approach enables participants to not only grasp theoretical concepts, but also gain practical experience in operating forklifts.
Upon completion, participants receive a program certificate through Bakersfield College. Over half of the participants in this year’s inaugural cohort were placed in full-time roles at Wonderful Citrus across various departments, including shipping, receiving, and packaging.
The training changed my life in so many ways. I learned a lot through the hands-on activities, which helped me gain confidence when operating a forklift. Not only was I able to obtain my certificate and land a job at Wonderful, but I am also surrounded by amazing people at work who are incredibly helpful.
Stories like Marina’s are a testament to the power of strategic community partnerships. The WCC’s mission to address generational poverty in the Central Valley by providing pathways to growing careers in the industrial sector would not be possible without the support of dedicated partners like Bakersfield College.
As we look ahead, initiatives like these are poised to play a crucial role in bridging the skills gap, creating employment opportunities, and developing a workforce that meets the evolving needs of the industrial sector.
If you are an employer looking to partner with the WCC, please contact Kenny Spratt at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit wonderfulcareercenter.com.