The VOLT Institute’s mission is to train high-quality candidates to enter the workforce with skills that are in demand by industries in the Central Valley Region. Our motto is “By Business, For Business, At the Speed of Business.”
The VOLT Institute is based on the core values of respect, a strong work ethic, trust, honesty, and lifelong learning. The vision is to impact the community by assisting businesses with the provision of a stable and
educated workforce pipeline.
The purpose of the VOLT Institute is to create a vibrant, healthy economy in the Central Valley Region by strengthening each company's most valuable asset: their people. The VOLT Institute will not only provide businesses with a more stable and educated workforce, but will also create a culture of empowerment and continuous improvement.
A vibrant economy will create safer neighborhoods, more opportunity for career growth, and a better quality of life for the residents of the Central Valley Region. The VOLT Institute is passionate about helping companies and people become highly successful so that the Central Valley Region remains an attractive place to live, work, and play. The future is now!
The Valley Occupational Learning and Technology (VOLT) Institute was named one of the top 3 programs in the Partnerships for Industry and Education award contest this year, and will be recognized at the 2019 California Economic Summitin Fresno November 7 – 8. In addition to the award, VOLT will have an exhibit during the Innovation Showcase at the Summit and will receive a full page spread in the Partnerships for Industry and Education booklet.
The VOLT Institute is a partnership of the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Modesto Junior College, and Opportunity Stanislaus. “Through our partnership, we now have regional programs that offer specific, technical training currently in high demand,” said Scott Kuykendall, Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools. “By delivering skilled training, VOLT is simultaneously meeting the needs of job seekers and industry. We are excited to be recognized at the California Economic Summit and also to share the work we are doing with other regions throughout the state.”
With the demand for highly skilled workers increasing, VOLT offers several programs to fill a range of positions, such as industrial maintenance mechanic training, a Supervisor Development Academy, and a Career Accelerator Program, which focuses on communication and ethical standards for employment. The most recent addition to the curriculum is a programmable logic controller training, which is an essential component in the manufacturing industry, and a Senior Leadership Series and Supervisory Development Academy.
“We are honored to receive this award,” said David White, Chief Executive Officer Opportunity Stanislaus. “VOLT Institute has been a great collaboration by partners who are devoted to improving vocational education in our region. The greatest result of our program is the positive impact it's having on families, making it possible for more people to have a great job and better quality of life.”
Students at two Stanislaus County schools will be training on cutting-edge equipment, thanks to a grant of nearly one million dollars received from the Economic Development Administration, a bureau within the United States Department of Commerce. The training is expected to save 453 jobs while creating at least 20 new positions.
The funding, allocated to VOLT Institute and Modesto Junior College (MJC), will be used for the purchase of equipment on par with machines used in industrial settings at local employers. David White, Chief Executive Officer of Opportunity Stanislaus, the organization responsible for conceptualizing VOLT Institute, knows the importance of high-tech equipment in the classroom. “The feedback we keep getting from employers is that our program is solid but that having equipment in the classroom similar to the machines students will be using in the field after graduation is essential to their success,” said White. “We are launching PLC training in our next class starting in October and this will allow us to add coursework from the nationally-recognized NIMS system to our offerings. We are especially excited to offer Amatrol’s popular mechatronics course.”
For its part Modesto Junior College, a trailblazer in creating career pathways that lead to local jobs, will be adding equipment that complements its Career Technical Education programs with partner high schools. “We are happy to work with Opportunity Stanislaus, the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE), and local employers. This grant helps build a pipeline for local residents to gain technical skills and advance their careers through additional training and education,” remarked Modesto Junior College President Dr. James Houpis.
The grant required match funding, a hurdle overcome by Assemblymember Adam C. Gray’s work to get a million dollars for VOLT Institute and MJC allocated in the 2018-19 California State Budget. Of making the project a priority Gray said, “We have a significant shortage of workers with the real skills necessary to get these good-paying jobs. We are encouraged that VOLT and MJC were able to use this state money to assemble a total of $2 million from federal and state grants to train an additional 200 students annually by expanding its certified industrial maintenance program and the industrial electronics, manufacturing, and machine program.”
Gray is not the only legislator associated with support for the project. Congressman Josh Harder has made his support for technical training and VOLT Institute in particular known since taking office, attending several of the school’s events and calling training in key areas a matter of statewide importance. “This is huge news – we’ve got all these talented people in the Valley who want good-paying jobs close to home, but they don’t always have the skills or experience they need to fill them,” said Representative Harder. “VOLT has already proven they can step in to fix this problem, and now they’re going to have even more capacity to get people prepped and into a good career. It’s good for businesses looking to hire, it’s great for workers, and it’s one more way we can signal to employers outside of our area that we have a highly-skilled workforce ready to get the job done.”
VOLT Institute is a partnership between Opportunity Stanislaus, the county’s economic development organization that is committed to improving economic vitality in the region, and SCOE. Opportunity Stanislaus, SCOE, and Modesto Junior College have collaborated for the last year in a combined effort to build the best collaborative advanced manufacturing training program in California. This new grant will help strengthen the joint effort. SCOE Superintendent Scott Kuykendall was ecstatic upon hearing the news of the grant award. “We are excited to add to VOLT Institute these exciting new programs,” remarked Kuykendall. “The Tom Changnon Education Center is fast becoming a center of excellence for vocational training.”
EDA grants are awarded through a competitive process based upon the application’s merit, the applicant’s eligibility, and the availability of funds. Because of the matching requirements and arduous application, the region has only ever received one such award of just over $140,000, allotted in 2010 to the City of Riverbank. But White hopes the award is the first of many for the county’s workforce development efforts. “We are committed to providing high-quality jobs and that starts with an emphasis on top-notch training. Enthusiasm and ideas for continuous improvement are not in short supply and this encourages us that funding is not either.” Warren Kirk, CEO of Doctors Medical Center and Chairman of the Board for Opportunity Stanislaus added, “This federal grant is a great example of what our region can accomplish when we work together in support of economic development.”
According to the latest Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, manufacturers’ optimism reached 92.4%, an all-time annual high, in 2018. Now this success has brought on a workforce crisis.