2022 Inland Empire Education and Workforce Summit

Think Together, in partnership with the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, recently hosted the 2022 Inland Empire Education and Workforce Summit at the Historic Ioamosa on March 9, bringing together nearly 200 leaders in the public, education and nonprofit sectors.

The event aimed to create cross-collaboration and constructive solutions to ensure students impacted by COVID-19 are equipped with the necessary academic, technical, and soft skills needed to succeed in today’s economy. Think Together has understood how vital it is to provide high schoolers with resources and opportunities to explore their options.

Bank of America, a longtime supporter of Think Together’s workforce readiness programs, was the lead sponsor and one of the presenting speakers at the event.  BofA provides funding for Think Together’s Workforce Readiness and Education Program (WREP) which helps students develop crucial workforce skills before placing them in internship opportunities.

“We are still learning the exact impact that the pandemic will have on this current generation of students and their futures,” said Randy Barth, founder and CEO of Think Together. “What we do know is we need to focus on supporting students academically, as well as supporting them emotionally and giving them the tools they will need in college, career and beyond in an ever-evolving job market.”

Bansree Parikh, Bank of America president for the Inland Empire shared a powerful testimonial with the audience about her journey from student to workforce leader. 

“Mastery of a trade or job skill can have as significant an impact on lifetime earnings as a college degree, with millions of underskilled workers having the potential to increase their income by as much as 70% if they receive skill or education accreditation,” said Parikh. “This is why Bank of America – not only as a major employer ourselves but as a community leader – heavily invests into workforce education programs and summits like this one that help create pathways to careers in the region.”

Other speakers at the event were California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, who spoke on the current affairs of workforce readiness in California and what the state is doing to support college and career readiness from early learning to high school, and Dr. Angelo Farooq, Chairman of the California Workforce Development Board, followed providing his unique perspective on how solutions can be found when business and government work collaboratively.

Bank of America’s Inland Empire Market Executive Cathy Paredes led a panel to showcase regional perspectives on how the pandemic has changed the workforce landscape and what educators are doing to prepare students for today’s job market. Panelists included Dr. Angelo Farooq, Chairman at California Workforce Development Board, Ted Alejandre, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ruth Perez, Deputy Superintendent of Schools at Riverside County Office of Education and Randy Barth, Founder and CEO of Think Together.

Think Together recorded the entire summit, and we encourage you to take the time to watch the full video. Within these conversations are keen insights on how afterschool and expanded learning can better help support high school students as they transition into adulthood. 

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“From STEM careers created to address climate change, to education jobs leading the next generation of trailblazers, the state applauds the work of public and private leaders across the state collaborating to create 21st-century jobs for our young people,” said Treasurer Ma. 

The 2022 Inland Empire Education and Workforce Summit was proudly sponsored by Bank of America with San Bernardino County, Small Business Majority, Clearworld and the Otis Academy as supporters of the event. 

Learn more about Think Together and how you can change the odds for student in the Inland Empire at: 

www.thinktogether.org/get-involved. You can also contact Lawrence Gustafson, Sr. Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Think Together at [email protected].