VISALIA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — The South Valley Industrial Collaborative (SVIC) has been awarded a $100,000 grant from The James Irvine Foundation through their Better Careers Initiative.

The grant is awarded to organizations that are looking to develop a plan to grow the local region’s labor pool for higher-paying industrial occupations, ultimately bringing more stable careers with living wages.

“A common concern amongst industry has been workforce availability. This grant will support the development of an industry-led, hands-on training experience for youth and adult students, incumbent workers and job seekers alike.” SVIC Board Chair and JOANN Stores, LLC West Coast Distribution Center General Manager, Bruce Nicotero said.

The James Irvine Foundation’s grantmaking focuses on supporting efforts to give all low-income workers in California the power to advance economically.

The grant awarded to SVIC identifies several existing industrial-focused education and workforce development efforts and calls for close coordination with those agencies to develop a complementary plan to grow job opportunities across the region.

“We’re very excited to be partnering with the South Valley Industry Collaborative,” stated Leslie Payne, Senior Program Officer with The James Irvine Foundation.

Goals of the project include not only helping local companies with current labor demand issues but also preparing the regional workforce for a more automated industrial future.

“Having a place for kids and potential hires to really get their hands dirty before jumping onto a live production line or industrial setting is a win-win-win for those future hires, employers and educators. We’re thankful to the Irvine Foundation for the ability to now closely examine this unique economic and workforce development opportunity,” SVIC Board Vice-Chair and Electric Motor Shop Visalia Branch Manager, Rodney Wilson said.

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California.

The Foundation’s current focus is a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically.

Since 1937 the Foundation has provided more than $1.87 billion in grants to organizations throughout California.

With about $2.3 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $95.9 million in 2018.