KEDF was established in 2008 in response to Kern County employers’ continued calls for a more well-prepared workforce.
Since 1988, Kern Economic Development Corporation has worked to fulfill their mission of creating and retaining jobs in Kern County. Each year, they spend hundreds of hours consulting with local companies to gain insight into their personal and industry-wide businesses needs. By 2008, one theme began to stand out above any other resource requested by business to help them grow; a qualified workforce with the soft skills to help carry their company forward. From general communications skills, to punctuality and appropriate dress, current and potential employees were lacking the traits necessary to become a valuable, long-term team member.
Kern Economic Development Foundation links business, education, and the community on projects relating to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and local workforce and professional development.
KEDF was established in 2008, as a 501(c)3 partner to the Kern Economic Development Corporation, which focuses on recruiting and retaining businesses and jobs. KEDF focuses on helping create a robust talent pipeline in order to fill local jobs, especially in the STEM arena.
Kern County ranks No. 4 in the nation for STEM jobs, thanks to the prevalence of energy, food processing, aerospace and defense, healthcare, and logistics/warehousing industries in the region.
Young people are a natural focus when it comes to “growing our own workforce.” KEDF connects local professionals with high school students in our STEM-based mentoring programs, focusing largely on soft skills and providing students with a helpful resource and advisor. The organization’s signature event is the Kern County STEMposium which brings students and businesses together for a STEM expo where students showcase their best STEM projects, and businesses demonstrate equipment and skills required to be successful in the workplace.
Workforce development isn’t limited to students, though. KEDF also offers professional development program for women in STEM careers, giving them a forum for education and networking.
KEDF strives to ensure that Kern County’s STEM industries, the most vital economic drivers in the current and future economy, have the workforce they need to be successful.
KEDF BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jeannie Bertolaccini, Chair
Ordiz- Melby Architects
Mark Wyatt, Vice Chair
Bakersfield Adult School
Karen Zuber, Treasurer
Senior Vice President
Bank of America
Paulina Christensen, Secretary
Pawan Gill, Immediate Past Chair
Director of Administrative Services
City of Arvin
Community Engagement Advisor
City of Shafter
Community Relations Manager
Director of Philanthropy
Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Foundation
Jenifer Pitcher Consulting
Public Relations Officer
Kern County Public Health
Broker Account Manager
Central Valley, Bran New Day Health Plan