Inland Empire: A National Model For Apprenticeship

An advanced manufacturing apprenticeship program is being expanded in California's Inland Empire and desert regions with a $700,000 grant.

By the BF Staff
From the September/October 2019 Issue

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office has awarded Chaffey College’s Industrial Technical Learning Center (InTech) a $700,000 grant to expand its advanced manufacturing apprenticeship program in the Inland Empire and desert regions.

InTech, hosted at California Steel Industries in Fontana, provides industry-driven technical training for the region’s growing manufacturing and logistics industry. The site includes state-of-the-art classrooms, labs and equipment.

InTech will work more closely with the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board, the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire, the Inland Empire/Desert Region College Consortium, Growing Inland Achievement, the James Irvine Foundation and many manufacturers in the region through the 3 ½-year grant.

InTech launched the apprenticeship program in July with five employers and 32 apprentices seeking careers as industrial maintenance electricians or industrial mechanics. Apprentices achieve journey-level status in two to four years, becoming an expert in their craft.

“The industrial maintenance electrician and industrial mechanic apprenticeship not only give individuals a career pathway to family-sustaining wages, but also provide manufacturers with access to an untapped talent pool,” said Sandra Sisco, Chaffey College Director of Economic Development and the InTech Center.

The Industrial Technical Learning Center (InTech) is a regional training center designed to train and upskill a workforce pipeline for business and industry in the Inland Empire region and provides training at no cost to all individuals.

InTech is the first public-private partnership in the California Community College System and possibly in the U.S. and has attracted national and international attention. In a recent visit to the InTech Center, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris called it a “national model.” InTech provides in-demand technical training and professional development programs that include nationally recognized stackable certifications and lead to good paying careers.

Chaffey College and California Steel Industries, Inc. (CSI) have had a long-standing, successful partnership for almost 20 years. In 2014, a grant opportunity allowed them to formalize the partnership and used Department of Labor TAACCCT funds to renovate CSI’s old administration building and create a regional training center. The InTech Center is located on CSI’s property and is a 33,000-square-foot facility with six classrooms, a computer lab, mechatronics lab, electrical lab and mechanical lab. Chaffey College Economic Development operates the InTech Center and is 100% self-funded.

Chaffey College has a reputation for collaborating and building partnerships. In the past three years, Chaffey College has leveraged an additional $7 million from various funding partners: James Irvine Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Arconic Foundation, CA Community College Chancellor’s Office, the Employment Training Panel and the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Division.


When luxury electric auto manufacturer Karma Automotive decided to locate a new site for its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant, executives knew there was only one choice: the City of Moreno Valley, California.

Supported by Moreno Valley’s second-to-none pro-business environment, skilled and motivated workforce, strategic location and affordable lease rates, the U.S. automaker shipped the first units of its $130,000 luxury vehicle, Karma Revero, in 2017.

Inland Empire
ShipBob recently opened a 185,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Moreno Valley, CA. The facility is the company’s largest U.S. fulfillment center to date. (Photo: City of Moreno Valley)

In 2019, Karma invested $100 million to rebrand its Moreno Valley facility to the Karma Innovation and Customization Center (KICC), which will house production of the new 2020 Revero.

Karma Automotive and other Fortune 500 and international companies are thriving in Moreno Valley. Among the 4,500 businesses with facilities in Moreno Valley are ALDI Foods, Amazon, Cardinal Glass, Deckers Outdoor (UGG boots), Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Floor & Décor, Harbor Freight Tools, Keeco, LeGrand, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Masonite Doors, Medline, Minka Lighting, O’Reilly Automotive, Philips Electronics, RedMed, Ross Dress For Less, Serta Mattress, ShipBob, Sherwin Williams, Skechers USA, Solaris Paper, United Natural Foods and Walgreens.

Situated in the fastest-growing region of the United States, Moreno Valley in the Inland Empire is only an hour away from Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties and less than three hours to Nevada, Arizona and Mexico. It is accessible by highway and rail with five international airports and two international ports within an hour’s drive.

At an annual growth rate of five percent, Moreno Valley’s population of 212,000 is booming. 2.3+ million people live within a 20-mile trade radius. This solid growth has propelled the City to become the second largest population in Riverside County and the twenty-first largest in California.

Moreno Valley led the region in absorption of more than 8.4 million square feet of new industrial corporate facilities in the past two years. The newly-approved World Logistics Center offers an additional 40.6 million square feet—the largest industrial corporate business campus in California.

Major retail tenants include Costco, SuperTarget, Home Depot, Macy’s, Floor & Décor, Lowe’s, Burlington, TJ Maxx/HomeGoods, Ulta, BevMo and more. And restaurant chains outperform their national average by as much as 25.6 percent.

Riverside County’s hospital headquarters (Riverside University Health System) is located in Moreno Valley, along with Kaiser Permanente. Both campuses are expanding their facilities to meet strong regional demand.

“We’re growing in Moreno Valley,” says Corey Seale, Chief Operating Officer of Kaiser. “The concierge approach has been really positive. We encourage any other company who is looking for a great city to join us here.”

The housing market is booming, too. Residential construction is adding new housing opportunities with more than 7,000 single and multi-family units under construction.

Moreno Valley offers some of the most affordable corporate lease and land values, as well as the best housing value and cost of living, in all of Southern California. The average home cost is in the mid $300,000s.

Three colleges—the University of California, Riverside, California Baptist University and Moreno Valley College—attract more than 40,000 students each year. In total, there are 44 universities and community colleges within 50 miles of the City.

The City has a strong workforce of more than 88,000, with more than 1.1 million in a 20-mile radius. March Air Reserve Base is the City’s largest employer with 9,600 employees. The second largest is Amazon, with 7,500. Many of the largest employers work closely with the City for their hiring needs, including Waste Management. Says District Director Ken Maxey, “Moreno Valley has a readily available workforce that will add to the value of any business.”

In Moreno Valley, time is money. They’ve formed a special concierge service and a quick-response strike team to assist developers and businesses with needs as they happen. And the City’s plan check turnaround times are unparalleled—they consistently beat other agencies in the region.

With its city-owned electric utility company, Moreno Valley offers attractive electric rate discounts that range from 7 percent to 26.5 percent. Businesses may receive additional discounts for hiring Moreno Valley residents. Additional rebates exist for solar power and energy efficiency upgrades.

The City also developed the “Hire MoVal” program, which offers incentives for local hire, including recent graduates and veterans. Together, the City of Moreno Valley and the County of Riverside run the popular Employment Resource Center, offering free workforce recruitments, employee training, business consulting, workshops and job postings.

For businesses operating in imports and exports, Moreno Valley is a designated foreign trade zone. And under the Time and Materials program, businesses may be eligible for cost savings on post-entitlement Planning, Building & Safety, Land Development and Fire Prevention plan check, permit and inspection fees.

Moreno Valley’s ideal location, business friendly atmosphere and motivated workforce are why Karma Automotive and so many Fortune 500 companies have made it their home. For more information on what Moreno Valley can do for you, visit or email


Crowned by its majestic mountains and highlighted by scenic views, tree-lined neighborhoods and a comfortable climate, Rancho Cucamonga is one of Southern California’s most prestigious communities. Throughout the City’s history, community leaders have consistently emphasized quality in their decisions affecting housing, open space, education, recreation and economic development. The results of these decisions are visible. Rancho Cucamonga’s pro-business environment, competitive commercial and industrial lease rates, abundant skilled work force and corporate environment make it the perfect location for beginning, relocating and expanding your business.

The City of Rancho Cucamonga, in conjunction with the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center (IESBDC), provides Rancho Cucamonga business owners and entrepreneurs with technical assistance designed to improve their competitive standing in the marketplace. This service is free of charge.

The Rancho Cucamonga Municipal Utility (RCMU) provides economic and reliable electricity to over 1,200 metered businesses and residents in a selected area within the Southeastern proximity of the City of Rancho Cucamonga. Since 2004, RCMU has continued to serve customers with reliable electricity while maintaining lower rates than those charged by the local investor-owned utility, along with excellent customer service.

RCMU is committed to increased use of renewable energy resources and sustainable practices that help reduce environmental impacts within the City of Rancho Cucamonga. RCMU also is committed to helping its customers conserve energy through a variety of rebates and incentive programs. Saving energy not only helps the environment, but it can also help the bottom line of Rancho Cucamonga businesses and residents. RCMU shall continue to serve the needs of its customers, while striving to grow strategically and with innovation.

Arlon EMD, a privately held, veteran owned, specialty laminate manufacturer has completed Phase I of their 2019 facility expansion and factory upgrades. Arlon has now more than doubled the manufacturing floor space at its Rancho Cucamonga facility used for shrink-wrapping, packaging and labeling materials in preparation for shipping.

Arlon’s provides a wide range of unique, specialty materials for the OEMs and fabricators, with a strong focus on reliability, quality, accuracy and short lead times. “Expansion of our facility is the first of several phases of capital investment for 2019. We are targeting improving our speed in manufacturing, product cleanliness and enhancements in facility performance. We are fortunate to have shareholders who believe in our business model and understand that our growth plans warrant such investment,” stated Brad Foster, Arlon’s president.

The Phase I expansion also entailed removing two clerical offices and opening up space for increased manufacturing output. In addition, Arlon built two new work stations, one office, added 75 feet of transport conveyor track and purchased a new ink marking machine, tunnel oven and shrink-wrapping equipment. All this upgrade activity is designed to improve material flow through the operation. Arlon EMD is veteran owned and privately held by CriticalPoint Capital.

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