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Youth Builds Career with Help from the Workforce Investment Board


SAN BERNARDINO, CA- Brandon Mason attributes his career in healthcare to the opportunities provided to him by the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board (WIB).

The shy, gentle-natured 21-year-old man was raised by a single mother and completed high school with aspirations of becoming a physician.  He enrolled in San Bernardino Valley College where he soon changed course and decided to pursue nursing.

It was the devastating diagnosis of his mother’s breast cancer that compelled Mason to step away from the Certified Nursing Assistant program and find employment to support his mother and two younger siblings.

During his tenure as janitor at a local amusement park, his hopes of pursuing the nursing degree began to fade until he learned of the WIB Youth Program.  This program is designed to help youth ages 16 to 24 enhance job skills, develop leadership qualities, explore career options and take advantage of paid internships available to help them build experience.

He enrolled in the program through Provisional Accelerated Learning Center in San Bernardino in December 2014 and took the opportunity to complete vocational training at Summit College.  Today, Mason is a Certified Nursing Assistant and employed full-time at Hacienda Heights Healthcare and Wellness.

“The Youth Program helped get me to where I am now,” Mason said.  “I don’t know what I’d be doing today, honestly, if it wasn’t for the program, and I am grateful for all the things people involved did to help me.”

Mason intends to reach out to the WIB in the near future to seek assistance in pursuing a Licensed Vocational Nurse degree back at Summit College.

“We strive to achieve success stories like Mason’s in San Bernardino County, as it reflects our Countywide Vision of a vibrant economy with a skilled workforce,” said James Ramos, Chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. “This Youth Program is just one of the innumerable services available to San Bernardino County residents that provide resources and support to realize long-term success.”

Other services provided at no cost include skills assessment, career counseling, job training and placement, resume assistance and interview training, and access to computers, printers, faxes and telephones.

“We have seen a high success rate of participants in our Youth Program securing employment after completing the program,” said Sandy Harmsen, Executive Director of the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board.  “The program takes a comprehensive approach in helping youth ages 16 to 24 enhance their job skills, develop leadership qualities, explore career options and take advantage of work experience opportunities.”


California Raiders win NDPFL football Championship

raiders 1By Dwaine Radden Jr. (University of New Mexico Sports Blog) 

The California Raiders captured their fourth Championship in ten years Saturday night with a 24-14 victory over the Las Vegas Trojans. The Raiders started the opening drive with their prolific rushing attack led by running back Eric Marshall who had 15 carries for 105 yards and 1 touchdown. The Raider offense struggled the previous two weeks and had key injuries coming into the Championship game but still managed to put points on the board.

Former Utah State commit Quarterback Robert Fuller threw a 15 yard touchdown pass to Mikael Bowden to put the Raiders up 7-0. The Raider defense came into the game with high expectations and continued to create turnovers against the Trojans. Defensive back Lamar Jones picked off the Trojans quarterback to give the Raiders offense another opportunity to score.

The Raiders who are currently ranked #2 in the Western Rankings according to Amateur Football Power rankings continue to drive the ball down the field with a pass from Robert Fuller to veteran wide receiver Kiyron Brokendough which led to a touchdown, but the Raiders failed to convert the PAT.

The Trojans would not go down without a fight, they continued to move the ball down the field after halftime taking the lead 14-13. Former San Bernardino High school football standout Mike Fields forced a huge fumble giving the Raiders a chance to regain the lead. Running back Eric Marshall who has been a torture for opposing defenses during the playoffs had a huge 60 yard touchdown run to lift the Raiders ahead 21-14. The Raider defense played tough hardnose football to hold the Trojans to 14 points. Kicker/punter Tim Parker put his foot on display again

Saturday night with a field goal to put the Raiders up 24-14 with 2 minutes left for the Trojans to score.

In those classic football movies it’s always that last drive that tells the ultimate comeback story. The Trojans had one last shot to create that comeback story. Raider defensive back Damien Hale created a moment of his own with an interception to seal the deal. Owner Dwaine Radden Sr. said, “I’m proud of the players and the staff for believing and buying into our Franchise and team code, “Discipline, Determination, Dedication Equals Winner always on and off the field.” Raider Head Coach Antonio Marshall said, “We played great, it was a close battled but in the second half we made adjustments.” He also talked about winning the coveted NDPFL Championship, “I feel like a 1200 lb gorilla is off my back, having to follow in the footsteps of Owner and former Head coach Dwaine Radden Sr.”

The California Raiders are ranked #2 only behind the #1 Colorado Greyhawks and will have an opportunity to play for a National championship. Coach Marshall talked about the ranking after the game stating, “It’s a blessing to even be ranked, we could be ranked #1 but we’ll take #2 for now.” The Vegas Trojans finished ranked # 8 but still had a very good season and showed signs of promise. The Raiders have been one of the most dominant semi-pro teams in the state of California, and in the country.

Ballerina Misty Copeland to Speak at UC Riverside

Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland

The first African American female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), Misty Copeland, will visit UC Riverside to present a free public lecture on Thursday, Dec. 10, at the University Theatre. Admission will be based on a first come, first served basis. Line-up begins at 5 p.m., doors will open at 6 p.m. and the lecture begins at 7 p.m. Free parking will be available in Lot 6.

Copeland’s appearance has been more than a year in the making, said Ken Simons, the director of African Student Programs, who reached out to the dancer’s agent in September 2014.

“I have been looking forward to bringing Misty to UCR for quite some time. It’s great to have our co-sponsors share this epic moment in timewith our campus and community,” said Simons. “Not often do we witness something that is a global first, and the UCR community will have that rare opportunity to see an international icon at the top of her profession. Misty drew a line in her own sand, leaped over insurmountable adversity and landed on greatness!”

A rising star in the ballet world, Copeland gained notice in 2007 when she became ABT’s first African American female soloist (a rank below principal dancer) in 20 years. In 2014, she was featured in an Under Armour ad that went viral, gaining over 9 million views to date, and in April 2015 Time Magazine named her one of the “100 most influential people.” But perhaps she is best known for being the first African American female promoted to principal dancer at ABT this past June. Even as her promotion was celebrated, it raised all-too-familiar questions about why African American dancers, particularly women, remain so underrepresented at top ballet companies in the 21st century, despite the work of pioneering black dancers who broke racial barriers in the past, said Anthea Kraut, chair of the dance department at UCR.

“Misty Copeland is a role model to many, not only because of her phenomenal dancing but also for overcoming so many obstacles and for challenging ideas about what a ballerina should look like,” said Kraut. “Her presence at UCR will energize all dancers to pursue their dreams and to speak out against racial stereotypes.”

Xiomora Forbes, a Ph.D. student in critical dance studies, agreed.

“I’m excited to have Misty Copeland come to UCR and share her experiences with navigating the ballet world. I’ve always looked up to her because she started ballet late and because she never let anyone stop her from reaching her goals. It is an honor to have her on campus with us,” Forbes explained.

The visit is being coordinated by UCR’s African Student Programs and supported by the Highlander Empowerment Referendum. Co-sponsors of the event include the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Dance, Department of Athletics, Department of Theatre, Film and Digital Production, and the Voice News.

The trailer of “A Ballerina’s Tale,” a documentary about Copeland, will be played prior to the talk, and there will be a performance by Bre Dance Studio in Riverside. Copeland will perform in “The Nutcracker” at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Hall on December 16 and 19.