Congratulations to 2016 WDB Award Winners

WDB Awards were presented by the Workforce Development Board (WDB) of Ventura County at its annual meeting on June 16. The annual awards program recognizes individuals, employers, organizations and partnerships for their extraordinary efforts.
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VENTURA, Calif. - June 16, 2016 - PRLog -- The 2016 WDB Awards were presented by the Workforce Development Board (WDB) of Ventura County at its annual meeting on June 16 at the Ventura County Office of Education. The annual awards program recognizes individuals, employers, organizations and partnerships for their extraordinary efforts to advance workforce development in the Ventura County region.

"This year's winners are exceptional examples of how, through dedication and commitment, individuals, businesses and organizations can prepare our local workforce to contribute to Ventura County's economic growth and prosperity," says Cheryl Moore, executive director of the WDB.

WDB Champion for Prosperity Award

         The WDB Champion for Prosperity Award is presented to an individual or organization for supporting workforce development in Ventura County through job creation, job retention and business expansion or attraction.

         This year, there are two winners. The first is Renee Meriaux, a building official at Charles Abbott Associates, Inc. in Camarillo. Meriaux was instrumental in providing on-the-job (OJT) training through with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program. Working with the WIOA American Job Center of California staff, Abbott Associates has hired seven employees through the program. "The training has allowed us to hire staff and give them time to learn their positions prior to an increase in business. It has also allowed us the funds to send them to several training seminars," says Meriaux. "The trainees have been great. They are motivated to learn and have been a great fit for the company. I strongly recommend the program to any company. It is a win/win for everyone involved."

         Ventura County Community Development Corporation (VCCDC) is the second winner. VCCDC assists low and moderate-income families to buy affordable homes. The organization hired four employees after they successfully completed on-the-job training under the WIOA program.

         "As a small private nonprofit organization, we understand the importance of maximizing all of our limited resources, especially our most important resource, our employees," says Bertha Garcia, VCCDC executive director. "Without the on-the-job training program, VCCDC would not have had the resources to hire new staff or to invest in costly industry-specific training. WIOA OJT has allowed VCCDC to develop a top-notch, cross-trained group of employees who contribute to our organization's direction, success and passion for the work that we do."

WDB Leadership Award

The WDB Leadership Award provides special recognition for a role model whose efforts and accomplishments embody the spirit and purpose of workforce development in Ventura County.

The two winners of the 2016 award are Silvia Faulstich, a flight test engineer with the U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at Pt. Mugu, and Dr. Dawn Neuman, a professor in the biology program at California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI).

         Faulstich has been instrumental in promoting STEM careers to students of all ages, and especially to young women. She helped to start monthly STEM tours at NAVAIR. As a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional

         Engineers, she coordinated a STEM event for Hueneme and Santa Paula high school students who had the opportunity to discuss career opportunities with a panel of engineering professionals.

"Expanding the interest of STEM as a career, especially for females and minorities, is essential for the United States to remain at the forefront of 21st century advancements, and to confront global threats," says Faulstich. "As a female Hispanic engineer, I am a living example to girls and minorities of a successful person not usually seen on TV or in magazines."

         Award winner Neuman is a member of WDB Healthcare Committee and professor of biology at Cal State Channel Islands (CSUCI). While developing a Ventura County workforce pipeline for Clinical Laboratory Scientists (CLS), the committee discovered that students needed local in-hospital, one-year clinical internships after graduation from CSUCI. Certification and program coordination among local hospital labs was essential to prepare the local workforce for high-demand jobs in Ventura County.

         "While the demand for qualified lab staff continues to outpace supply, we can only teach as many students as we can place in clinical rotations," says Neuman. "I'm very grateful to Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, Community Memorial Hospital, Ventura County Medical Center and Simi Valley Hospital for working with the university to create clinical placements. We hope to initiate the program in fall 2016. The networks and relationships that have emerged through my work with the WDB Healthcare Committee has not only connected me with the community, but has also been one of the most gratifying experiences of my academic life."

WDB Youth Opportunity Award

         The WDB Youth Opportunity Award goes to an individual or organization that provides internships, work experience or employment opportunities that will grow and strengthen Ventura County's future workforce. This year, Macy's in Ventura was recognized and in particular, Karen Clark, human resources manager and Michelle Morehouse, vice president of sales and marketing. Both coordinate more than a dozen semester-long internships each year for Ventura Unified School District students.

         Members of the WDB are appointed by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors and include leaders from business, economic development, education, labor, government and community-based organizations.

About the Workforce Development Board of Ventura County

The Workforce Development Board administers federal funds that help to support American Job Center locations and other free adult, youth, and employer programs and services in Ventura County. For more information, call 800-500-7705 or visit

Diane Rumbaugh
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