Congratulations to 2017 Workforce Development Board (WDB) Award Winners

The 2017 WDB Awards were presented by the Workforce Development Board (WDB) of Ventura County at its annual meeting June 8 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 all excellent examples of how business, government, and education successfully come together to prepare young people for well-paying careers and to strengthen the overall workforce,” says Brian Gabler, Director of Economic Development/Assistant City Manager of the City of Simi Valley and Workforce Development Board member and Outreach Committee chair. “The community and our economy reap the benefits of these collaborations.”

Each of the four winners were recipients of the WDB Collaborative Action Award, which highlights partnerships that help to meet employer workforce needs, improves education/workforce training or supports business expansion or retention in Ventura County.

The first winner is JR Bookkeeping, Inc. in Ventura. During 2016 and 2017, the company actively recruited, educated, trained and retained three job-training candidates under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). “I was unemployed myself before starting JR Bookkeeping” says Juliana Ramirez, President and CEO. “Being able to create jobs for others and taking them through the training journey whom in return provide outstanding service to our clients, has been greatly satisfying.”

The second winner is the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce. The chamber’s “Direct Path to Success” program was funded under a WDB Accelerator 3.0 grant. It provides expanded opportunities for businesses to interact with youth. The program created much-needed career education experiences including a Young Entrepreneurs Academy, an Intern Bootcamp for 11th and 12th graders and a Girls in STEM day for middle schoolers.

The third winner is the Ventura County Civic Alliance. This collaboration of business, education, and government leaders came together to develop and construct the TECH (Test and Evaluation Collaboration Hub) center in Camarillo that helps prepare middle and high school students for a range of private industry, government, civilian and military careers aligned with engineering and aviation. “I want to acknowledge the important role the TECH center has played throughout Ventura County and the impact it is having on students who are pursuing careers in technical education,” said California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and Alliance member in a video message. “Future generations will be well equipped with the necessary skills they will need to advance future technologies to move our country forward.”

The final winner is Biodico, which specializes in clean alternative energy solutions. Its corporate offices are in Ventura with a research and development center at Naval Base Ventura County. Biodico works with WDB to create multiple on-the-job WIOA training opportunities for job seekers. “Renewable energy is a new and growing industry. There aren’t training programs in academia for the type of jobs we’re looking to fill including resource collection and renewable energy production and manufacturing,” says Trey Teall, Biodico vice president of operations. “It’s essential that we have programs such as those with the WDB so we can train individuals to meet the increasing labor demand in the sector.”

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

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