By Steven Piper
The mayors of Long Beach, Signal Hill and Lomita and prominent community members met Wednesday at the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network (PGWIN) Career Transition Center in Long Beach for a press conference regarding the implementation of $6.3 million to help stimulate job creation. Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto was unable to attend the conference.
The funds, which were received as part of President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, have been granted to the PGWIN and will be spent by 2010 to help the following: dislocated workers ($1,861,230), unemployed/under-employed adults ($1,158,051), youth ($2,726,003) and rapid response/business downsizing ($628,309).
According to the national Workforce Investment System, the most immediate effects will be the creation of more than 1,200 jobs for youths this summer.
Worker retraining, skills development, support services, on-the-job training opportunities and temporary financial assistance to trainees remain other key strategies that the Workforce Investment Network plans to implement.
Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster focused on the role of small businesses and the effects of the additional funds. “Most small businesses do not know about the resources out there to help them… this is part of putting people back to work,” he said.
Regarding her city’s workforce, Signal Hill Mayor Ellen Ward said, “We have a lot of unemployed people…and they need retraining.”
Lomita Mayor Don Suminaga said that, among the four cities of Long Beach, Signal Hill, Torrance and Lomita, there are more than 30,000 people out of work. Suminaga said that, with a population of about 21,000, “Lomita would work with any organization that is willing to help.”
The PGWIN serves those four cities, and it consists of a chief elected official (CEO) and a workforce investment board.
The PGWIN, which is a local network, operates under the national Workforce Investment System, which establishes statewide networks to “develop, in coordination with the Governor, the strategic workforce plan for the state,” according to the Workforce Investment Network’s website. Their stated goal is “to promote effective outcomes consistent with statewide goals, objectives, and negotiated local performance standards and to set policy for the local workforce investment system.”