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How Facility-Management Programs Impact CRE

Carrie Rossenfeld Healthcare & Education

By 2032, 50 percent of the existing facility-management workforce will have retired, according to a recent release from a representative of San Bernardino County. The release says the lack of enough skilled facility managers will result in buildings and infrastructure that are not managed and maintained properly, creating public safety issues, increasing operating costs, and lowering operating efficiencies.

The statement also says to solve the jobs crisis, Chaffey College, the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) Foundation, and San Bernardino County have collaborated to launch California’s first accreditation program for facilities management at Chaffey College. On the heels of the program’s success, the County and the IFMA Foundation plan to integrate facilities management career pathways at the high school level to introduce this opportunity to a greater number of individuals.

Soua Vang | Courtesy a representative of San Bernardino County

SoCal Real Estate spoke with Soua Vang, economic development manager for the San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency, about facility-management programs and how they affect the commercial real estate sector in the areas where they are implemented.

SoCal Real Estate: Why are programs like this facility-management program important for municipalities to consider?

Vang: More than half of today’s facilities-management (FM) practitioners are expected to retire in the next five to 15 years. For a region such as San Bernardino County that is growing rapidly, this is a critical workforce challenge to address. CBRE just reported that the Inland Empire had more than 100 million square feet of industrial product built and absorbed over the last five years alone and is still growing. These facilities as well as office, retail, medical, and more are all in need of qualified facilities managers. For any municipality, this facilities-management educational program, the first in California, is important because it is a lucrative career pathway for youth, veterans, and incumbent workers. According to the IFMA Foundation, there is a 100 percent job-placement rate for FM-accredited degree-program graduates.

What other areas of our industry need public-sponsored educational programs like this?

There are a number of industries similar to facilities management that are experiencing a skills-gap challenge. One of those is manufacturing. The Manufacturing Institute estimates that by the year 2025, two million jobs in advanced manufacturing will go unfilled.

As the U.S. economy has recovered and manufacturers have gained some traction, employers have been looking to grow their companies. However, they have discovered a severe talent shortage during their hiring process. Research shows that it takes manufacturers an average of 90-plus days to recruit highly skilled workers that fit their needs. Along with standard manufacturing growth (which will create about 700,000 new jobs), an estimated 2.7 million baby boomers are expected to retire over the next decade. This leaves openings for around 3.4 million manufacturing jobs, with only 1.4 million likely to be filled.

San Bernardino County is working to meet this demand through career pathways programs in high school as well as our Industrial Technical Learning Center that provides vocational training and industry certification, As of September 2017, InTech served close to 5,000 individuals, providing marketable job skills and highly technical training targeting placement in manufacturing and related fields.

How do these types of programs impact the industry and the future of a particular region?

Workforce retention and attraction is the leading focus of every business and industry. San Bernardino County’s economic-development agency and workforce-development board are aligned to identify and implement training and recruitment programs that help to build a skilled workforce now and for the long term.

Along with our grade-school and high-school-level career pathways programs, we are also initiating county-wide programs with our business community to provide internships and apprenticeships. In this way, we can help our businesses to thrive and grow by ensuring they have the talent they need. But more importantly, we are placing our youth on a proactive trajectory for a solid, well-paid career.

The other benefit is that we are connecting and partnering with our educational institutions, business, regional government agencies, economic development, workforce-development and community organizations toward a common goal: to build a strong and sustainable San Bernardino County economy.

What else should our readers know about this topic?

San Bernardino County has made workforce training and development a top priority. The opportunity to partner with our local colleges and the IFMA Foundation is rewarding and will provide an important solution to the ongoing training within the facilities-management industry here in Southern California.

Many of these new facilities-management students as well as so many others are being exposed to career opportunities they never imagined possible, and in the process are receiving hands-on training and certification they can use to obtain employment. It’s a win for them and for businesses in need of trained and qualified workers.

San Bernardino County will continue to grow its career pathways program as part of its broad-based GenerationGo!, a work-based learning initiative designed to ensure that youth throughout the county are ready to enter the workforce with the skills needed to compete today and for the future. Targeted industries include: healthcare, logistics/transportation, construction/engineering, automotive, and manufacturing.

To underscore the value of work-based learning, a number of students from San Bernardino’s Cajon High School recently completed 120 hours of clinical practice in a GenerationGo! pilot program conducted in partnership with Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. The students were introduced to a variety of career opportunities in the medical field during their hospital experience, while further propelling them along a valuable career path for college or technical training.