The county is doing its part to educate and train residents for moderate- to high-paying jobs, according to First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt.


"I think it's important we keep our workforce efforts up," Mitzelfelt told members of the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce during the chamber's monthly luncheon meeting Monday at Courtyard Marriott hotel.


To do that, the county will soon provide a $160,000 grant through its Workforce Development Department to put an additional 20 students through the Victor Valley College nursing program. The funding comes from the California Community College Chancellor's office, he said.


Nursing program graduates can often find well-paying positions. The median annual salary for registered nurses in 2008 was more than $60,000, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics.


Mitzelfelt also touted the partnership between the Southern California Logistics Airport and VVC, which will be taking over SCLA's School of Aviation Technology.


"Working together, it's a great example of the Victor Valley coming together," he said. "When they are able to train 200 mechanics a year companies will locate here."


Aviation techs can make $50,000 to start even while still completing their training. The upper-end salary range for experienced avionic and aircraft mechanics can be as high as $200,000, Mitzelfelt added.


"It's one of the great things we have going for us," Mitzelfelt said about the SCLA training program.


Mitzelfelt said his five-minute address was prompted by a Daily Press news article that talked about dismal job growth in Victorville. The article quoted VVC professor Peter Allan who said, "I tell students you can't get a job unless you have skills."


Mitzelfelt agrees that training and education are key, and he believes the county is helping improve local education programs and opportunities.


"Education is important in our community," Mitzelfelt said. "We're lacking in that area. Improving education is something everyone can support. It's our most effective economic development tool."