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WIB News 2003 Archive

On this page you will find newspaper articles and photos of WIB members and happenings at the Worknet of Merced County Employment Resource Centers.

2003 CSAC Challenge Award (122303)

The Department recently received a 2003 California State Association of Counties Challenge Award for the RN/LVN Expanded Training Program and this honor was reported in the CSAC's Journal and also in the 2003 Challenge Award Directory. 

There was 168 entries from 34 counties with 11 of those entries being singled out for the award three of which were from Merced County and one of them for the RN/LVN Program entitled "County and Community Partnership to Impact RN Shortage" and reads as follows:

The Merced County Department of Workforce Investment developed a partnership with Merced Community College, local hospitals and related healthcare agencies to address the critical shortage of nurses in the county and nationwide. By pooling resources, the group helped expand the county’s registered nurse training program by doubling the number of students enrolling in the nurses’ program each year from 24 to 48. To ensure that a maximum number of those in the program remained in the county once they became registered nurses, local residents receive first admission to the program. Relationship-building and matching local employers with students also encourages graduates to stay and work in the county.

Regional Strategic Issues Panel Slated
Merced Sun-Star, Page B2, December 17, 2003

The Merced County Workforce Investment Board will sponsor its Third Regional Strategic Issues Panel to be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Merced County Board of Realtors, 635 W. Main St.

The panel will discuss affordable housing issues.

The investment board has begun sponsoring panels at its regularly scheduled meetings, which are held every other month, with the intent to inform, facilitate, and influence changes surrounding workforce issues that have been identified within the county.

Mike Sullivan Finds Worknet in Italy (121103)

Mike Sullivan finds Worknet in ItalyDuring a recent trip to Vicenza, Italy our 2nd Vice Chair, Mike Sullivan found their version of "Worknet." Check out the picture! Thanks Mike for sharing it with us.

Youth Council Gets Award
Merced Sun-Star, Page B1, November 25, 2003

Posted (120903)

Dr. Jorge Ayala, Nellie McGarry, and Andrew R. Baron

From left to right: Dr. Jorge Ayala, Ed. D., State Youth Council Chair, Nellie McGarry, Merced County Youth Council Chair, and Andrew R. Baron, Exec. Dir. of California Workforce Investment Board.

The Merced County Workforce Investment Board Youth Council was recently awarded the “Architect of Change” award by the California Youth Council Institute and the State Youth Council.

The Youth Council is one of 28 local councils around the state to be recognized for implementing the “All Youth-One System” framework within their respective communities.

“All Youth-One System” outlines what is needed for a community to offer effective, high-quality services for all youth.

In an “All Youth-One System” community, the local Youth Council adopts a comprehensive approach to ensure academic excellence, provide career preparation, enhance youth development and support, and foster youth leadership.

For the past three years, the Youth Council has provided oversight and management of youth programs by providing workforce investment services, mentoring, outreach, and employment.

More than 2,100 youth between the ages of 14 to 21 have been served so far in Merced County.

“These local Youth Councils have shown real leadership in their communities, and have had a significant impact on the youth they serve,” said Steve Trippe, president of New Ways to Work, the managing partner for the Youth Council.

“Their innovative approaches to addressing the many needs of young people throughout California serve as powerful models for the entire nation,” added Trippe.

Nellie McGarry, who accepted the award on behalf of the Youth Council, said the award is the result of a continuous collaboration of local youth service providers.

“The team of Merced County Office of Education, Merced Adult School, Merced College, Merced County Community Action Agency, Merced Lao Family, Central Valley Opportunity Center, California Employment Development, and the Merced County Department of Workforce Investment, all working together, made this award possible,” McGarry said.

“Lastly, thanks go to the Merced County Workforce Investment Board for their guidance, dedication, and efforts to see all youth succeed,” she added.

The award ceremony was held Nov. 20 at the Delta King Hotel in Sacramento, in conjunction with a meeting of the State Youth Council (SYC), at which SYC members discussed state and local issues with the representatives of the 28 local councils.

WIB Web Site Gets a New Look

Posted by Eddie Harding (120803)

We’ve given the Workforce Investment Board’s web site a new look. We hope it will be more pleasing to the eye and, most of all, easier to navigate to the page you want to view. We hope you like it. If you have any comments about the new look you can email them to

Congressman Cardoza Visits Merced County Office of Education

Posted by Elaine Craig (112503)

It was my pleasure to be invited to Merced County Office of Education last Tuesday, 25 November 2003 for a visit from Congressman Dennis Cardoza. The Congressman sat with numerous ROP and YOP students who discussed with him the benefits and their gratitude of the programs and partnering that they have received. He spoke with them about his continuing efforts on behalf of education and workforce development.

He then received a tour of several of the classrooms housing computer repair, graphic arts and media production. He also visited the Housing Project FIRM Build that students participate in.

The following are a few picture of the Congressman with the students!

Congressman Visit to MCOE Photo 1

Congressman Visit to MCOE Photo 2

Congressman Visit to MCOE Photo 3

Marketing Worknet on “The Bus” (111303)

We now have signs marketing Worknet inside 19 of the Merced County Transit buses, known as “The Bus”. The signs will be placed above the door in the middle of the bus. That way everyone exiting the bus will see the sign. This marketing is at no cost to us and we are able to leave the signs there as long as we want!

Worknet Ad Sign on The Bus, Photo 1

Worknet Ad Sign on The Bus, Photo 2

Worknet Ad Sign on The Bus, Photo 3

Worknet News Movie Clip
 Worknet News Clip (092603)

California Workforce Association (CWA) Side-by-Side

Senator Denham Visits Merced Worknet Employment Resource Center (103003)

On October 30, 2003 Senator Denham visited the Worknet Employment Resource Center in Merced. He was given a tour by staff of the facility. The following are photos of the event.

Senator Denham Visit to the Worknet ERC, Photo 1

Senator Denham Visit to the Worknet ERC, Photo 2

Senator Denham Visit to the Worknet ERC, Photo 3

Senator Denham Visit to the Worknet ERC, Photo 4

Senator Denham Visit to the Worknet ERC, Photo 5

Senator Denham Visit to the Worknet ERC, Photo 6

North Merced Rotary Club Tours the Merced ERC

(Posted 072503)

Recently 27 members of the North Merced Rotary Club received a tour of the Merced Worknet ERC. This tour was arranged by Sharon Cresswell, President of the North Merced Rotary Club and one of our distinguished WIB members.

The Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. The Rotary is dedicated to its continuing motto of "Service Above Self" and this years motto of "Lend A Hand."

We would like to thank Sharon for proposing and then facilitating her club's members being able to see the facility, meet the excellent staff, and hear about the services and programs that Worknet offers to the community.

We would be most happy to accomodate any clubs/organizations that WIB members may be involved in. Please feel free to contact Elaine Craig at 7242028 for assistance in arranging a tour and/or a presentation.

Workforce Academy

(Posted 072503)

The first Workforce Academy was held at the Branding Iron on Thursday, 26 June 2003. This was a collaborative effort between MCEDCO, Chambers of Commerce, Merced County Workforce Investment Board, Merced County Department of Workforce Investment and local businesses.

The primary objective of the Workforce Academy inititative is to implement the "Workforce Academy Model," which provides a forum for business and service providers to identify and respond to workforce needs.

Steven Hughes, Ph.D., a Professor of Politics and Public Administration and Director of the Center for Public Policy Studies at CSU, Stanislaus spoke about the population, the labor force, and the future. The luncheon speaker was Lindsay Ann Desrochers, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Administration at the University of California Merced. She spoke about the economic impact of UC Merced on the Central Valley. 

In addition, there were several panels of business and service providers presenting information about hiring, retaining, training the workforce as well as community resources for businesses and employees.

In the near future, there will be a series of Roundtables that will be held to begin to address some of the very important workforce issues that were identified from the recent Academy.

The following are some photos of the event:

Workforce Academy, Photo 1

Workforce Academy, Photo 2

Workforce Academy, Photo 3

Workforce Academy, Photo 4

Workforce Academy, Photo 5

Workforce Academy, Photo 6

Workforce Academy, Photo 7

Workforce Academy, Photo 8

Workforce Academy, Photo 9

Workforce Academy, Photo 10

Workforce Academy, Photo 11

Workforce Academy, Photo 12

Workforce Academy, Photo 13

Workforce Academy, Photo 14

Workforce Academy, Photo 15

WIB ELECTION RESULTS (Effective July 1, 2003)

During the recent Workforce Investment Board meeting of 22 May 2003, elections took place for the position of Chair, 1st Vice Chair and 2nd Vice Chair.

The results are as follows:

  • Mr. John Headding, Chair replaces Mr. Rick Osorio
  • Ms. Nellie McGarry, 1st Vice Chair replaces Mr. John Headding
  • Mr. Mike Sullivan, 2nd Vice Chair replaces Ms. Nellie McGarry

We congratulate them and look forward to working with them for the next year.

Rick Osorio

John Headding

Nellie McGarry

Mike Sullivan

Mr. Rick Osorio

Mr. John Headding

Ms. Nellie McGarry

Mr. Mike Sullivan

Merced’s Story in the CWA Book “50 Stories - One System”

Merced County Workforce Investment Board
WIB Chair: Rick Osorio, President of Osorio Financial
Dept of Workforce Investment Director: Andrea T. Baker

Area Snapshot

Merced County (pop. 218,815) is located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, the world’s most productive agricultural area, and spans from the coastal mountain range to the foothills of Yosemite National Park. Agriculture related industries are a major source of employment along with food processing, retailing, light manufacturing, and service industries. By the year 2010, it is expected that Merced County’s population will grow by 18% to reach 266,700.

There are 83,700 residents in the labor force in Merced County, and unemployment rates are consistently in the double-digits. 25.4% of the County’s residents live in poverty. With 8.9% of its population under age 5, and 34.5% under age 18, Merced County ranks number one throughout the state for highest proportion of youth population. Merced County is ethnically diverse, with 45.3% of its residents identified as Hispanic and 6.8% as Asian.  Merced County is the proud home of the tenth University California campus. 

Funding Sources

The One-Stop Service Centers of Merced County, operating under the name "Worknet of Merced County,” has facility operation costs of approximately $2,249,170 per annum. Approximately 95% of these costs are from Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds. Partners contribute the remaining 5% through in-kind resources and include representatives from the Community College, State Employment Development Department, Merced County Office of Education, the Merced Adult School, Job Corps, Jobs for California Graduates, Central Valley Opportunity Center, Community Action Agency, California Department of Rehabilitation, Action Business Center, Experience Works, Merced Housing Authority, and Senior Community Employment Programs. 

Services Delivered/People Served

The Worknet One-Stop System in the Merced Local Workforce Investment Area consists of one full service center in the City of Merced, an affiliate in Los Banos, and one in Livingston. In addition to the full array of services offered in the One-Stops. Merced County Office of Education and Jobs for California Graduates are there to serve Younger and Older Youth populations. A minimum of 1,063 Younger Youth and 500 Older Youth will be served over a 20-month period.

A "Day Pass" system tracks the daily attendance of customers and services they receive.  This allows the department to collect information on core services used and obtain other pertinent feedback. In the year 2002 a total of 42,615, customers received One Stop services, an average of 3,551 customers per month. Customers received at least one Core “A” service, with the majority accessing multiple services. All Core, Intensive and Training Services are provided through the Worknet One-Stop System.

Linkages with the Private Sector

The Worknet One-Stop System Business Services Unit was formed through the direction of the Merced County Workforce Investment Board. The unit’s emphasis is on providing customized services to employers such as screening to the employers specifications and referring qualified applicants and also providing On the Job Training services through the Worknet system. The Unit provides information and vouchering for tax credits such as Enterprise Zone Vouchering, LAMBRA, along with Conditional Certification for Work Opportunity Tax Credits. A total of 2778 requests for Enterprise Zone/LAMBRA were screened with 1017 vouchers issued.

Partnerships with the economic development community to survey the needs of businesses and access retention services are ongoing. Worknet utilizes the Employer Advisory Council seminars to provide business customers with legislative updates, labor laws, and management tools. Support from Buckley Radio, local businesses and Worknet partners have provided an opportunity for job seekers and employers to meet through two annual Job Fairs and Westside Business Expo. Participation in Chamber of Commerce events continues to strengthen the linkage of Worknet with the private sector. 


Local hospitals, Merced College and the Workforce Investment Board have committed funding to address the critical shortage of nurses in our local labor market. Focus groups will be initiated for careers selected by the Workforce Investment Board to identify skill gaps. The results will be used to improve training and to prepare individuals to be competitive in the workforce. A new childcare initiative has been inspired by the Hewlett Packard Foundation and the anticipated opening of UC Merced. Worknet will participate in this initiative by addressing the training needs of the childcare career cluster.

The Chamber of Commerce, Merced County Economic Development Corporation and the workforce system is currently developing a series of Workforce Academies with a focus on employers in Merced County. The first Academy is scheduled for June 2003 and was made possible with a grant from Department of Labor and SBC.

Through the Merced County Workforce Investment Board Education and Employers Committee, the Youth Employability Card program has been developed and implemented. This was a collaborative effort with the Merced County Office of Education, Merced County High Schools with the goal to have the business community fully support the card by requesting it during an interview. The card certifies that the bearer has achieved a minimum GPA, completes all assignments, has minimum absences and tardies, and works well with others.

Funds received from the Department of Rehabilitation and Employment Development Department enhanced universal program access to the One-Stops for the disabled with the purchase of adjustable computer tables, specialized keyboards and software and a TTY system.

Alumni Story

“I stumbled upon the Worknet Employment Resource Center quite by accident. Expecting nothing more than a wall of job listings, the receptionist responded to my apparent puzzled look with a courteous introduction to Worknet. As a first time visitor, I was guided to Janie Melin, an Employment Training Specialist. I found her to be very cheerful, and her positive attitude to be contagious.

We discussed the circumstances leading up to my career change, work history, education, skills, etc. Once she had a general idea about my interests and abilities, Mrs. Melin explained how to use the Caljobs Website to access local employment opportunities. I was then given a tour of the Center’s wealth of resources. Everything one might need to assist with their job search could be found here. What a fantastic concept! In parting, she assured me that I would have no trouble finding a job. (However, if I did experience trouble, various training programs were available). Her kind words were an encouragement, and I left with more confidence than I had entered with.

The Caljobs Website led me to an appealing position at the Housing Authority of the County of Merced, to which I applied. Knowing that a typing certificate would be required in order to verify speed, I returned to Worknet to utilize practice on the typing program. Feeling a little awkward, I confessed to Employment & Training Specialist Wendy Shaw, that I was not a very good typist. She disputed, saying, “I think you are better than you realize.” Again I was encouraged.

The Housing Authority’s hiring process involved: written exam, formal interview, physical, drug test, background check, informal interview, and “the dreaded typing certification.”  With the help of the Worknet resources and its dedicated staff, I not only obtained the typing certificate, but also an exciting new job with a highly esteemed organization.

Once hired, I learned that my new position included assisting at Worknet periodically. What a privilege!

 - Stephanie Busbea

Congressman Cardoza Visits Worknet of Merced County

On April 15, 2003 Congressman Cardoza visited the Worknet of Merced County Employment Resource Center in Merced. He toured the Center and talked with the WIB Chair, Rick Osorio and the First Vice Chair, John Headding. The following is the photo and article from the Merced Sun-Star and some photos taken by Worknet staff during the tour.

CONGRESSMAN OBSERVES JOB TRAINING EFFORTS Congressman Cardoza Visit to Worknet ERC, Merced Sun Star Photo
Merced Sun-Star, Front Page, April 15, 2003
Sun-Star Photo

Congressman Dennis Cardoza toured the Worknet Employment Resource Center at 1200 W. 16th St. Tuesday, where he got a first-hand look at the resources and services available to job seekers in Merced County. The congressman watched Beverly Rivers, bottom, with Donna Cameron, left, conduct an Internet search for jobs and met previous customers to hear how Worknet helped both job seekers and employers in the county. Worknet provides phones, fax machines and computers for job searches and conducts classes to help customers obtain marketable work force skills.

The following photos were taken of the Congressman’s tour by Worknet staff person, Eddie Harding:

Congressman Cardoza Visit to Worknet ERC, Photo 1

Congressman Cardoza Visit to Worknet ERC, Photo 2

Congressman Cardoza Visit to Worknet ERC, Photo 3

Congressman Cardoza Visit to Worknet ERC, Photo 4

Congressman Cardoza Visit to Worknet ERC, Photo 5

Congressman Cardoza Visit to Worknet ERC, Photo 6