Job Training Helps Small Manufacturers Meet Labor Needs


As a small manufacturing firm in a tight labor market, Affordable Plastics Inc. in Ontario knew it had to do something different to acquire the advanced skills and expertise needed to grow its business and stay competitive.

It found its solution through the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB) Incumbent Worker Training Program. This program is designed to help small manufacturing businesses provide advanced technology training for their employees. Working with NTMA Training Centers of California, the WDB offered employers the opportunity to enroll workers in 288 hours of hands-on training in computer-aided manufacturing.


“A company of our size couldn’t do this on our own,” said Aldo Villalpando, vice president at Affordable Plastics, a bottle manufacturer with 10 employees. “We want to grow our business, and in order to do that, we need to bring in injection molding and produce product differently that we have. This program gave us the training to do that.”

Villalpando felt strongly enough about the program that he enrolled himself – along with three other Affordable Plastics employees. They were part of a unit of seven workers from different companies that took part in the four months of training in how to use CNC Machining and Mastercam software.

For Affordable Plastics, the training has given it the technical and mechanical expertise it needs to make its own molds and hard-to-find parts. It also has allowed the company to increase the capacity of its staff without having to hire additional personnel.

Charles Meisner Inc., a commercial products manufacturer in Ontario, was another company that took advantage of the training offered through the WDB program. “Finding qualified workers in the open market can be a formidable challenge during robust economic times,” said Chris Meisner, vice president.

“This kind of training is extremely valuable,” Meisner said. “It’s harder and harder to find qualified people out there to do the work. We need to train our own.”

Affordable Plastics and Charles Meisner Inc. were among four companies that took advantage of the WDB program sending employees to the training.

Tony Myrell, WDB Chairman, said the program is an example of the type of innovation WDB is bringing to meet the labor needs of the region’s growing businesses.

“The irony is that a booming economy can make it even more difficult for companies – especially smaller ones – to find the workers they need. For those same small businesses, the cost of training workers can be prohibitive. Here, we’ve created an opportunity for companies to become part of a collaborative training program, free of charge to them,” Myrell said.

The CNC Mastercam training is funded through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and WDB’s Slingshot program, which engages businesses to identify their specific workforce needs. Information on future sessions is available by contacting the WDB at (800) 451-JOBS.

About the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board

The San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB) is comprised of private business representatives and public partners appointed by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.  The WDB strives to strengthen the skills of the county’s workforce through partnerships with business, education and community-based organizations. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors is committed to providing County resources, which generate jobs and investment in line with theCountywide Vision.

The Workforce Development Board, through the San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency and Workforce Development Department, offers a variety of programs designed to help youth and adults identify career pathways and get the appropriate training and skills. Programs funded through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) provide eligible youth, ages 16 to 24, access to a variety of career and educational services designed to help enhance job skills, develop leadership qualities, explore career options, participate in adult and peer mentoring opportunities, and take advantage of work experiences. In addition, the WDB operates San Bernardino County’s three America’s Job Centers of California (AJCC). The AJCCs provide individuals with job training, placement and the tools to strengthen their skills to achieve a higher quality of life. The AJCCs also support and provide services to the county’s businesses, including employee recruitment and business retention programs.

Employers and job seekers who are interested in the Workforce Development Board programs may call: (800) 451-JOBS or visit Also follow us on: Facebook; Twitter @InlandEmpireJob; LinkedIn; and YouTube


Barb Stanton Honored for Years of Service to MDAQMD Board

By Trina Siverts
Barb Stanton (center) was honored by MDAQMD for her years of service.

Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District’s governing board recognized board member Barb Stanton for her years of service to the agency at the board’s regular meeting on Sept. 24.

Stanton, whose status as an elected Apple Valley Town Councilwoman offered the opportunity to serve on the Air District board, announced in July she would not run for reelection in November. Her retirement from the Town Council also means she’ll vacate the Apple Valley seat on the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District board dais.

Stanton represented Apple Valley on the Air District board from 2011 to 2012 and again from 2015 to 2018.

MDAQMD Executive Director Brad Poiriez presented Stanton with a plaque commemorating her years of service to the Air District, including a stint as Vice Chair in 2012.

“During her time on our board, Barb’s contributions have shaped the policies of our district and helped forge a plan for continued success in the future,” Poiriez said during the plaque presentation. “She has always been thoughtful, attentive and fully engaged. As an executive director, it is rewarding to see a board member show the same compassion for air quality, and the residents throughout our district, as she does for those who elected her to serve in Apple Valley.”

Stanton plans to retire to 16 acres in Tennessee where she’ll transition from councilwoman and governing board member to bee keeper.

“As you step out a new door, or into a new door, it’s difficult and it’s hard to leave this wonderful agency,” Stanton said at Monday’s meeting. “But I’m proud of the work that we’ve done and that this agency will continue to do.”

Stanton called Poiriez a “breath of fresh air” since becoming MDAQMD’s Air Pollution Control Officer in 2016, and verbalized her admiration for several longtime MDAQMD staff members as “the glue” of the agency.

“Sometimes this is a thankless job, we all know that, for employees too,” Stanton said. “I encourage you all to keep up the good work. I’m going to miss everybody and thank you for your generosity toward me.”

MDAQMD is the air pollution control authority and permitting agency for the High Desert portion of San Bernardino County and the Palo Verde Valley in Riverside County. It’s governed by a board of 13 members representing nine incorporated municipalities and two counties within its boundaries. Visit or follow us on social media @MDAQMD.

Post Script to Vietnam War

Postscript To Tour of Duty In Vietnam

I suppose if there is any time to free associate this would be the occasion. How else would one capture the last 50 years of survivor experience?
50 years after the war, the whisper voice says. My God that sounds like our grandfathers speaking. Oh yeah, I am one! And soon to be a great grandfather by way of our corpsman grandson Devin and wife Nydia.

That is the best segway to trying to capture what life has been like since the war. Family and friends and an unconditionally loving good wife have been the ticket to sanity. Yes, miraculously I have only been married once! And blessed with 3 children who all showed compassion for their fathers stint in the Marine Corps and the residual effects of war. They have volunteered for veterans events of all strands, both ceremonial and social since their early teens. My wife, Lydia has also been engaged in veteran advocacy over the years by supporting our involvement in fraternal organizations, eg, Marine Corps League, Vietnam Veterans of America, Point Man Ministries. VFW and American Legion. She also was one of the managers of a website for wives called, “Living With PTSD Vietnam Wives,” that at one time was in the top ten veteran websites. I was trained as a Veteran Service Officer by both the VVA and American Legion, and then course work through the San Bernardino Veterans Affairs. Lots of phone work, lots! And lots of home visits. That is where a supportive spouse is tantamount to peace in the home.

But now let me get real. It has been a long journey home with many speed bumps and psychic pot holes along the trail. I like to quote my Marine pal Pete Bourret the award winning author of Physics of War. “PTSD is shrapnel through time.”

Like many, the search for a vocation that fit did not come easy. The GI Bill helped in the exploratory world. First a major in philosophy and religious studies. Then a formation program with the Franciscan Order. Then Nursing school with work on a mental health unit and suicide prevention team. And then a total career switch to commercial property management—oddly all of them somewhat pastoral at the core. It was in property management where I became a workaholic and the proverbial “wounded healer.” That meant too many happy hours—all to be helpful ya know!
I had a number of office buildings and shopping centers under management and just kept moving all the time. A fellow veteran shared with me one day a rather poignant metaphor, “you were always fine Mike, moving from village to village, office to office like being on patrol and taking care of the, “villagers-tenants.”

Soon thereafter the numbed out amygdala and memories of war stored in the bird brain basement surfaced with constant intrusive thoughts and some crummy nightmares. My wife informed me that I would stab my pillow at night. Fortunately never her.
As a long time soccer coach, both youth and high school, I was always fond the phrase , “feedback is the breakfast of champions.” I was getting a ton of feedback about my mood shifts and unsolicited anger. I took my own medicine and sought help at the Tucson Vet Center and a 19 day PTSD program at the Tucson VA. That was the proverbial paradigm shift that has been the fuel for a life of service to returning veterans for the last 18 years. Addressing the latent and stagnant post traumatic stress that flowed like a river beneath all conscious life has been the catalyst and cord connecting most all my activity and behavior since that day forward. From the first Vietnam Veteran support group at the University of Arizona in 1971 to the current retreat circuit for returning veterans at the Merritt Center in Payson Arizona to the Elder Warrior Program at the Franciscan Center in San Juan Batista. California, I have found purpose and meaning. And ironically all as result of war. There is light at the end of the tunnel, without bullets.

“Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical.” Anonymous