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July 2, 2015

Brian Fischbach is Center Director at Job Corps. He is also a member of the San Diego Workforce Partnership’s Workforce Investment Board. Here he describes what motivated him to join the WIB and the workforce issues he is most passionate about. 

What motivated you to join the WIB?

I’ve worked for the federally funded Job Corps program for sixteen years, first in Cleveland, Ohio, and now in San Diego for the last six and a half years. Job Corps is staffed and structured to provide training in soft and technical skills for application in the workforce. However, the real benefit from the program results from partnerships with businesses, employers and community organizations that provide hands-on work-based learning and employment opportunities and transitional services for our students. Job Corps has a standing relationship with the WIB, and the board members and the organizations that they represent have been a tremendous resource for Job Corps students. I want to help those relationships grow and build new ones to help the youth that we serve. Job Corps fits in perfectly with the mission of the WIB, and I feel that my and Job Corps’ involvement on the team can be mutually beneficial to workforce development in the greater San Diego region.

What issues are you most passionate about as they relate to workforce development?

Job Corps is a program that was established to educate, train, and transition disadvantaged youth into full-time employment and independent living. This mission is important not only to the individuals who participate in and benefit from the program, but to the greater community as well. Workforce development for those who generally are underserved and neglected through established systems is vital to reduce crime, increase the tax base, reduce future government entitlements, and cultivate young minds to increase innovation, business expansion and the desire to give back to their communities. I am passionate about our drive and ability to assist today’s youth with preparation for and entrance into the workforce with sustainable employment. Young people need to work hard and effectively compete, but first they have to have the skills and opportunities to do so. Working with and facilitating this process for today’s youth is essential for the future success of all of us.

Tell a brief story about a person, event or project that you were involved with that underscored your passion for these issues. 

When I first started working for Job Corps, educating students for entrance into full-time employment, I worked with a young man from Chicago who was angry, frustrated and apathetic about his chances for success in the workforce. As my career has progressed, I realized that his story is very common among many young people today. He grew up poor and sometimes homeless. He was in a gang and had seen many of his friends and family members killed. He had severe learning disabilities and dropped out of school at an early age after being neglected by the educational system. He felt that his options were very limited and he didn’t even bother to dream anymore because of the constant roadblocks and disappointments. This young man needed an opportunity and some assistance to prepare him and walk him through the process. After working with him for over a year—teaching him how to read, write, and do simple math; teaching him how to dress, do a résumé, and conduct himself in an interview; working with him on anger management, coping skills, and multi-cultural awareness—this once apathetic, but now determined, young man was given an opportunity by a local business to work in the field in which he trained while in the Job Corps program. The employment partnership allowed him to dream again. When I met him, this young man told me that his future options were the streets, jail or death. Now almost fifteen years later, he has a family who he supports, a place to live and a consistent full-time job that allows him to give back from that which he was given. He is one of many out there who need our help. He is why I go to work every day.

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