Author Archives: jparker

About jparker

The Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board (FRWIB) is a Joint Powers Authority between the City of Fresno and the County of Fresno. We exist to add to the economic vitality of the Fresno Region. We are dedicated to leading a results-oriented, performance-driven, fully integrated service delivery system. Business is our primary customer and we meet their workforce needs by providing outplacement, recruiting, and training services. Ultimately, our efforts will make a significant economic impact on the City, and the County, making it a stronger and more vital place to live and work.

City Name and Name of Workforce Area:
Fresno, Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board

Contact Person:
Janis B. Parker, Marketing & Communications Manager

Contact Information:; (559) 490-7160

Honorable Lee Brand, Fresno Mayor

Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board Logo

Sector Strategies

The Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board (FRWIB) is the fiscal agent on a series of grants in 2015 of nearly $1M to serve job seekers throughout the Central Valley. A consortium of eight (8) WIBs from Stockton through Bakersfield will use these grants to provide services to veterans, individuals with disabilities, at-risk youth, as well as individuals who are unemployed and/or underemployed.  “The resources provided by these grants will allow Valley residents with the greatest need to gain access to jobs that can make a difference in both their individual lives and the overall economic health of our Valley communities,” said Blake Konczal, Executive Director of the FRWIB Investment Board.  “We are laying the foundation to prepare individuals for employment opportunities in high-growth sectors within our community.”


The FRWIB was awarded a $200,000 grant from the California Workforce Investment Board to train thirty youth in the renewable fuel production sector.  The Renewable Fuel Production Career Pathway is designed to provide youth with training required by employers to compete for positions with the renewable fuel production sector.  The FRWIB is working with community partners to close the gap between the skills taught to students and the specific needs of the industry and employers.  A career pathway curriculum will be developed through the grant that will begin in K-12 then continue through the community college and university levels.  The program will provide training for at least 30 students through pilot automotive programs at the high school level, junior college and university levels.  “Aligning across K-12 school districts, community colleges, universities, trade schools and industry employers to create a career pathway for employment in Fresno County will be a great benefit to employers.  It will prepare youth in the development of “stackable credentials” that will give them a greater chance of employment opportunities within this growing industry,” said FRWIB Executive Director Blake Konczal.

Initiative that Address Barriers to Employment

The California Workforce Investment Board awarded $150,000 to the FRWIB for our Proposition 39 – Multi-craft, Pre-apprentice Training program.  This program will expand multi-craft, pre-apprentice green training to three additional counties: Stanislaus, San Joaquin, and Kern to serve a minimum of 60 individuals with substantial barriers to employment including, lack of a high school diploma or GED, deficiencies in basic literacy skills, single-parent families, live at or below the poverty level, criminal justice system and gang involvement, lack of transportation, unstable living situations and substance abuse.   Five counties are already receiving multi-craft training through the original $550,000 investment including: Merced/Stanislaus (completed), Madera (in progress), Fresno, Tulare, and Kings.

This Eight County Multi-craft Pre-apprentice Training Project is unique.  Trainees are exposed to multiple building trades unions and are able to choose which union they would like to apply for apprentice status – unlike other pre-apprenticeship training programs that “feed” into a given single union.

Unemployed and Underemployed

The United States Environment Protection Agency awarded $192,300 to fund the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program (EWDJT).  The EWDJT is a cooperative effort between the Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board (FRWIB), Fresno Metro Ministries, Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, Fresno Building Healthy Communities, Reading and Beyond, Central Labor Council, State Center Community College District, West Hills College, and the University of California Cooperative Extension to provide training to 73 unemployed and underemployed individuals in the Solid Waste Management, Wastewater Treatment, and Integrated Pest Management sectors. The training individuals will receive through the EWDJT will translate into a state-recognized certificate or license in recycling and solid waste management, wastewater treatment, or a pest control advisor license.  “The Fresno WIB’s latest 2014 Employment Study Report indicates that the training provided through the EWDJT is aligned with the needs of Fresno County employers who forecast an increase in positions within the Integrated Pest Management and Solid Waste Management and Cleanup sectors,” FRWIB Executive Director Blake Konczal said.


With the success of our on-going Veterans Employment-Related Assistance Program (VEAP), in which we exceeded expectations by serving 94 veterans (rather than 90), the FRIWB was awarded an additional $444,444 from the California Employment Development Department to enhance our service-delivery infrastructure and provide ongoing training and services for at least 100 veterans in the building trades to prepare them for apprenticeship.

The project will target recently-separated veterans interested in pursuing careers/employment in the construction trades sector.  Individuals will be required to have reading and math scores at 9th grade level or higher, be in good physical condition, and have clean DMV and criminal backgrounds.  The primary target group will be veterans who are 18-34 years old who have been recently discharged (within 48 hours) from the military.


Central Valley Slingshot Initiative – To address the challenges of meeting labor market needs while reducing unemployment and increasing efficiency,  the State of California Workforce Investment Board awarded $1,000,000 to the following partnering entities: Workforce Investment Boards across eight (8) counties – led by the FRWIB, West Hills Community College District, California State University, Bakersfield, Fresno/Madera/Tulare/Kings Building Trades Council, employers within the industries of manufacturing, public infrastructure, healthcare, warehouse/logistics, industrial agriculture, and manufacturing, and K-12 school districts who have implemented successful career pathways. This initiative will better prepare Valley residents for employment in high-growth industrial sectors that will benefit both the individual and our overall local economies.

It does not make sense to ‘push’ people into jobs, instead we need to understand the ‘pull’ from the industry side of employment,” says Blake Konczal, Executive Director of the FRWIB. “The Slingshot initiative will analyze current processes before implementing best practices across an eight-county area.”  Partners will work together to:

  • Analyze existing curriculum through the “eye of business.”
  • Organize “stackable” credentials.
  • Standardize assessment(s) & training.
  • Create new apprenticeships.
  • Replicate best practices.
  • Refer qualified employment candidates into growth industry sectors.
  • Better alignment of existing training resources towards industry sector needs.

Business Services  – The Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board – Business Services Center in partnership with eleven local, non-profit/public organizations created to address the multiple and varied needs of the Fresno business community.  Our partnering organizations include the Better Business Bureau, California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, Community Development Financial Institution, Downtown Business Hub, Economic Development Corporation serving Fresno County, Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Small Business Development Center, Service Corps of Retired Executives, Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Water, Energy & Technology Center.  Collectively, we are dedicated to collaborating on how to best align individual services, leverage resources and communicate effectively and proactively on various business topics. is a virtual business one stop that offers a myriad of no-cost business services through our unique referral system by connecting local businesses directly to the organization(s) that can best assist them with their business needs.  Businesses receive a response to their request within 48 business hours.  This system eliminates the frustration businesses encounter when contacting several agencies who may or may not be able to assist them.  Businesses have access to no-cost services such as start-up through business closure, financial guidance, expansion, layoff aversion and transition strategies, bi-lingual business development seminars, site selection, research and development, business reviews, fraud, complaint and dispute resolution, navigating permitting and regulatory issues, marketing and strategic business plan assistance, recruitment of pre-screened job candidates, confidential Human Resource Hotline and much more. Over the past two years, has referred and assisted 116 start-up and existing businesses to partner services.

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