California Mobility Center is using innovation to train a new workforce

By California Mobility Staff, SacramentoINNO

As the California Mobility Center in March marks its first anniversary of full commercial operations, it also celebrates something equally important: the CMC’s contributions to the future workforce for the rapidly growing advanced mobility and manufacturing sector.

The CMC Showcase ’22, on March 17, was organized to allow hundreds of industry leaders from around the globe to get an exclusive peak into CMC’s global mobility ecosystem, one where impressive, advanced technologies, heavy-duty electric trucks, and autonomous vehicles are just part of the story.

The new era of mobility affects industries spanning manufacturing, transportation, utilities, construction, and information and communications technologies. As these industries transform, their need for skilled talent also changes. To help meet that need, CMC Career Pathways is providing a framework for vast collaboration to develop workforce skills to help meet employers’ current and future needs.

“Our cross-sector collaboration is building a sustainable supply chain of skilled talent that benefits employers and workers in ways that will drive industry growth both here and across the nation,” said Mike Bell, CMC director of Workforce Development. “The CMC’s innovative model creates opportunities for inclusive workforce development in partnership with industry employers, community advocates, educators, and government.”

Collaborating around the concept of a talent supply chain helps ensure that students receive the education that prepares them with training and skills companies require in their employees. In addition to articulating hiring requirements and defining skills necessary for worker success in specific roles, employers also must provide inclusive and equitable opportunities for employment, training and career advancement.

Another key factor is community-based organizations, which can ensure that populations they serve are connected to opportunities for high-quality jobs, career advancement and financial stability. Education providers of all types play a critical role in supporting the many possible pathways to opportunity as well. Education and training programs need to be flexible, aligned, and coordinated to support current and future labor market requirements.

“The CMC Career Pathways program specializes in identifying the entry points for career opportunities in the future mobility sector,” said Mark Rawson, CMC chief operating officer. “The initial focus on pathway development is manufacturing, since manufacturing is the industry that brings design and technology together.”

CMC Career Pathways includes pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, and degree or specialist phases, and provides career coaching and support throughout.

In pre-apprenticeship, participants explore a variety of career opportunities and are connected to job readiness and technical training to help them prepare for entry-level positions, registered apprenticeships, or career advancement.

Apprenticeship allows employers to upskill their existing workforce or to build new talent from within. Apprentices develop valuable skills while earning a paycheck.

The degree or specialist phase supports the transition from apprenticeship to secondary education programs at community colleges and universities in pursuit of badges, certificates, and/or degrees (associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s), depending on an individual’s career goals. The program provides career development support and mentorship throughout to foster race and gender equity for careers in the future mobility sector.

“Working with the region’s network of job centers and community-based organizations is key to advancing equity and inclusion,” Bell said. “We are working with organizations like Women’s Empowerment to help people explore career opportunities they may have never before considered or understood could be available to them.”

Touring a local manufacturing facility and learning directly from employers about why manufacturing is exciting work can be an eye-opening experience, and one that can reveal a new world in which to pursue a successful career. Such inclusive career development raises a region’s prosperity and opens the door to innovation.

CMC Career Pathways is made possible by support from the California Workforce Development Board High Road Training Partnership, SMUD, Sacramento State, SETA, the city of Sacramento and many more valued partners.

“We’re doing some really amazing work here at the CMC that is not only shaping the future of mobility, but also the future of those who will bring it life,” Rawson said.

The California Mobility Center (CMC) is a nonprofit, public-private entity that aspires to be the leading innovation center for global mobility success. CMC founders include Sacramento State, EnerTech Capital, PEM Motion, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and Greater Sacramento Economic Council (GSEC). The CMC is strategically located in Sacramento, California.