Kern Economic Development hopes to increase retention

“The key for us is these internships."
Student Interns
Posted at 10:10 PM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-01 00:23:36-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Kern Economic Development Foundation is launching a new talent retention initiative, which will link the region's businesses with students throughout Kern County.

This year's students will be recent graduates of the regional occupational center with disciplines ranging from culinary arts to robotics.

Still KEDF is calling on local business owners in Kern to partner with them.

“The project is only as good as the job listing we have. So, we have the flow of students right now but we need to work to tell the employers about this talent pool that’s available to step in the job since day one,” said Richard Chapman, Executive Director of the Kern Economic Development Foundation.

The Kern Economic Development Foundation’s goal is to link the region's businesses with KHSD students through the Kern Intern Connection Executive Director of the Kern Economic Development Foundation.

Richard Chapman is hoping not only increase retention of workers in Kern but to gain employers from a variety of disciplines.

“The key for us is these internships. The students are going to have to be involved in what that company does, we want to make sure this experience is based on, if you’re a manufacturer, that you're working in the facility, that you are not just filing papers.”

Chapman said these students already have hours of training but what they need is the opportunity to gain soft skills like showing up to work on time and working with a team.

“We know that workforce development, the quality and availability, is by far the number one challenge. I mean, think about it, in our county we have a labor participation of 60% so that means 40% of people that are able to work for various reasons are not looking for a job.”

He said this is where the Kern intern connection comes in.

“It helps students connect the dots. They learn the skills in the classrooms and the labs but then they get to go out in a real world setting and it really turns the light on for them,” said Brian Miller, Principal of the Kern High Regional Occupational Programs.

Miller said he’s seen students start out not knowing what they want to do at all to finding an internship to getting a job and coming back to teach the next generation of students.

“I am a true believer, that this is a very important part of education I see a lot of kids every year that just connect the dot.”

Chapman said they are accepting applications from employers on a rolling basis.