WIB Champion for Prosperity Award
A Champion for Prosperity Award is presented to a public entity or private business for supporting workforce development in Ventura County through job creation and retention.
The 2012 recipient was Travis Mack, president/CEO of Saalex Solutions Inc., in Camarillo. Saalex Solutions is a systems engineering and technical assistance company whose clients include Naval Base Ventura County, NASA and Northrop Grumman. Mack grew his company from a small consulting firm to more than 300 employees, with offices in Ventura County and around the country.
WIB Youth Opportunity Award
The WIB Youth Opportunity Award was given to two recipients for providing internships or employment opportunities that help grow and strengthen Ventura County's future workforce. The City of Port Hueneme and Eric Birns, president and CEO of BIRNS, Inc., were this year's winners.
BIRNS, Inc., based in Oxnard, has provided hands-on marketing internships for college students since 2009. BIRNS designs and manufactures high performance lighting and connector systems for deep ocean, marine, military and nuclear power applications. Interns at the company participate in top-level meetings and work with the company's marketing department on social media outreach, newsletter content and sales and marketing materials.
"We created this internship program to provide hands-on training and education, so that each intern would leave with a portfolio of completed work," says Birns. "I think most successful professionals, myself included, can remember clearly the commitment and effort of those people who took the time to provide coaching and education in our own early career paths, and the impact that had on us."
The company accepts two interns each year for at least a three-month commitment. "We have been fortunate to have chosen excellent interns who not only worked diligently while they were with us, but have gone on to successful careers," says Birns. "I think it’s our responsibility as business owners to invest in the futures of these local, driven young people, and provide the most advanced training possible during their tenure with us."
In their endeavor to strengthen tomorrow’s workforce, the City of Port Hueneme has provided more than 15 paid internships since 2009. With support from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme, city staff train interns to work in human resources, community development, housing and finance departments and also on field assignments involving facilities, maintenance, graffiti removal and landscape maintenance.
"We saw a need to educate our youth about the opportunities in public service and to help build a foundation for a strong work ethic," says Dave Norman, Port Hueneme City Manager. "Many young people today have no idea what a city does or that you can make a living from serving people and building communities. Our goal is to educate them about the many different career opportunities in public service so that we can ensure that we have a workforce for the future."
WIB Leadership Award
The WIB Leadership Award recognizes someone who embodies the spirit and purpose of workforce development in Ventura County--a real role model who takes on and solves workforce challenges.
Alma Ferrel, owner of ABC Kids Preschool & Childcare in Fillmore, worked hard to expand her home-based business to a larger location where she now serves almost 90 preschoolers and infants. She has hired 12 new employees to provide much-needed support for working families. Through her leadership, she is helping to grow the workforce and the economy in the area, while offering a stable educational environment for young children.
WIB Collaborative Action Award
The WIB Collaborative Action Award goes to partnerships that help meet employer needs or improve the relevance and capacity of education and workforce training in Ventura County.
Sharon Dwyer, economic development project manager at the Ventura County Community College District, was a 2012 recipient. Dwyer chairs the Civic Alliance Workforce Education Committee where she partners with EDC-VC, VCEDA and other workplace/workforce groups to promote Ventura County economic vitality.
“So many of Ventura County's private companies, cities and educational institutions are doing great things when it comes to creating jobs--now and in the future,” said Alex Rivera, director of human resources at Clean Diesel Industries, Inc. and WIB Chair. "The winners of this year's WIB Awards are playing an important and active role in helping Ventura County grow economically stronger. The Workforce Investment Board of Ventura County is pleased to acknowledge their good works."