Business Success Stories

‘This agency plays a very important role’

Lina Montes might be one of the newest members of the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB), but she understands the critical role it plays in creating economic opportunity as well as anyone.

Montes is President and Owner of G.O. Pallets Inc. in Fontana, a business her father started in 1984. Over the years, she has leaned on WDB for support in identifying and landing employees.

“I’ve known about Workforce for years,” she says. “Instead of going through an employment agency, I’ve been able to find good workers through the county. They’ve got a lot of resources, and can provide the job training that’s so important to small businesses such as mine.”

It’s her understanding of the challenges small business face that led Montes to a position on the board. “This agency plays a very important role,” Montes says.

Especially now, with the labor as tight as it has been, and with business booming.

“We’ve not slowed down one bit,” Montes says of the pallet business. The Inland Empire’s role as a distribution and supply chain hub has always created strong demand for pallets; a surge in e-commerce since the start of the pandemic has pushed demand even higher.

“Right now, we thank God we have not had a significant loss of personnel,” Montes says. “These are good jobs. No one really talks about it, but you can make $1,200 a week making pallets.”

Moving forward, finding the next generation of workers is going to be extremely important. Today, G.O. Pallets employs 27.

“It will be challenging, but I think if people knew they could make a living wage, we can overcome that,” she says.

Lina Montes
Workforce Development Board Member, San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board

Bounce Back!  How U.S. Rubber Provides Second Chances in Life

U.S. Rubber Recycling Inc. in Colton embodies the spirit of second chances through its Bounce Back program, a model for providing formerly incarcerated individuals the opportunity to rebuild their lives.

Of the company’s 65+ employees, approximately two thirds have spent time in prison.

“We don’t look at the past. We look at the present and the future,” says Leslie Morales, Vice President of Operations.

The company, which uses recycled tire crumb to produce rubber fitness flooring and acoustical underlayment, established its second chance hiring philosophy more than 20 years ago.  At its core, the Bounce Back program recognizes the importance employment plays in the rehabilitation of marginalized workers.

This past year, the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB) partnered with its counterpart in Riverside County to support these kinds of re-entry initiatives as part of Prison 2 Employment (P2E) – a state-led initiative to help formerly incarcerated individuals find jobs and live independent lives.

For Thomas Urioste, the opportunity has been life-changing. After serving 11 years in prison, Urioste was hired at U.S. Rubber, and today has a steady income and a sense of security he’d been missing most of his life.

“For a guy like me to get a job at a great company, it’s unbelievable. I’ve got no words to describe it,” he says. “It’s been a long, hard road, but I’m here now.”

Urioste landed the job after visiting WDB’s East Valley America’s Job Center of California. As a committed partner in P2E – designed to operationalize the integration of workforce and re-entry services across the state – WDB was able to connect Urioste with U.S. Rubber and provide additional support through the board’s On-The-Job Training program.

“Everybody I’ve connected with in there has a background like mine. They’re trying to get their lives together and not go back to prison. The opportunity is indescribable,” Urioste says.

For the company, being a second chance employer is a source of great pride and the cornerstone of its culture – featured prominently on its website and discussed openly.

“We believe it’s important to provide a second chance for folks who have strayed and who, for whatever reason, have made a bad decision and been incarcerated,” she says.  “We see their potential and we work hard to create an environment that brings out the best in them.”

At a time when many companies are struggling to recruit and retain employees, U.S. Rubber’s Bounce Back program has provided a relatively stable labor pool. Most of its employees have been there for at least a year or two, with more than a dozen having worked at the company for a decade or more.

“In today’s job market, people are transient. To be able to retain a factory worker for 18 months or two years is really unusual, but we’re able to do that,” Morales says.

U.S. Rubber’s Bounce Back program

“Trinity Construction is located in the San Bernardino Mountains, in the city of Cedar Glen. Our company caters to Industrial, Residential/Commercial, Public Works and Lake & Dock construction projects. Trinity Construction had no consistent branding in the marketplace. While we work across 5 different major areas of operations we have done so for years without a clear, concise and consistent brand. Our website was very out of date, as well as not being responsive or mobile optimized which was affecting our SEO rankings. 

We would like to thank Ron Stark and his team at Voice Marketing for guiding us through the process of improving our logo, selecting a color palette, defining our typography and creating a new and fresh branded stationary set, including letterhead, envelopes, business cards and Email signature. Delivered in print but more importantly on a DVD so we have access to fully editable files.

Once our branding was complete they then dove into the arduous task of creating a whole new modern website for us.
Our site is now Google friendly, SEO optimized, intuitive and compelling. The best part is, we can easily access the backend
of the site and make any changes or improvements ourselves without having to hire or pay someone else to do it. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank San Bernardino County and for making programs like this available to companies like ours. I would also like to thank Ron Stark and his team at Voice Marketing for taking the time to deliver the
quality work that we received. It is good to know that there are resources and programs like these to help save jobs in San Bernardino County. We will save 10 jobs and hope to add 5 more at an average rate of $52,000 per year.”

Adam Spofford
Director, Advanced Custom Manufacturing (ACMFG)

“The management and staff at Adventure Cabins are very appreciative-of the support from the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board in assisting us with the services provided by California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC).

Our small family owned and operated manufacturing facility produces towable cabins, studios, and backyard cottages, established in San Bernardino in 1999. Growth at Adventure Cabins was stagnant prior to the WDB investment. A forced relocation in May, 2016 has additionally impacted our business growth. We operated with high lead-times, poor on-time delivery ratings, and poor marketing tactics to the “tiny home” community.

CMTC has allowed us to implement Lean Manufacturing tools to improve our lead-times and our ability to improve our planning process. In addition, the CMTC has given our company the digital marketing requirements to be seen and viewed digitally. In addition, we were able to accomplish the following:

Jobs Retained – 7
Jobs Created – 2 to 10*
Sales Retained – $70K
Sales Increased – $130K
Cost Savings – $45K

Travis Saenz
Manager, Adventure Cabins, Inc.

For small business owners, the expense of hiring and training new employees can make the difference between turning a profit or not. One such business owner is Tim Young of Tim Young Underground, a family-run construction company. After acquiring a great new housing project, the company needed to hire additional staff.

Tim maximized the business benefits of the San Bernardino County Workforce Development On-the-Job Training Program which provides partial wage reimbursement to employers during a new hire’s designated training period, up to 90 days. “When I heard the program would pay half of the new hire’s wages, it was very appealing to me because it would save me money,” Tim said. the Workforce Development Board’s Business Services Team made all the necessary arrangements. This included interviewing and hiring a new employee, finalizing the contract and bank paperwork for the company to receive the reimbursement via direct deposit.

Tim was so impressed with the program that he signed up for it a second time. “This was tremendously helpful to our business. I was able to obtain highly motivated employees to join my team,” Tim recounted. The program serves as a benefit to job seekers as much as it does employers by providing them the opportunity to earn money while being trained in a new profession or skill.

Tim Young
Owner, Tim Young Underground

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