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Manteca Adult School shifts gears to help make more people employable
Manteca Adult School’s new logistics program will tap into the growing demand for workers in jobs that can start at $70,000 a year. - photo by Bulletin file photo
J.B. Hunt — the nation’s largest trucking firm — is among those in the booming South County logistics sector struggling to find employees.
“They are having a tough time filling jobs,” Manteca Adult teacher Ryan Costa said.
Included are ones that require simply a basic drivers’ license involving delivery of appliance such as stoves that will pay $70,000 a year — almost $8,000 more than the Manteca median household income of $62,032.
“There are a lot of good paying jobs in warehousing and logistics,” Manteca Adult School Principal Diane Medeiros told the Manteca Rotary Thursday during their meeting at Erne’s Rendezvous Room.
A lot of what trucking firms and warehouse operators are up against are misconceptions of the type of jobs they offer as well as not having job candidates that have critical soft skills such as understanding the importance of showing up for work in a timely manner as well as some basic job-specific skills that can be used as a foundation for on the job training.
That’s why when the Manteca Unified adult school rolls out a new warehouse and logistics program they are going to also launch an education effort to tell the community as well as current high school students that they are missing out on solid job opportunities.
Medeiros said much of the misconceptions about jobs not requiring college diplomas are often passed on by parents.
“Most of the trucking jobs today have the drivers coming home every night,” she said.
Toss in the distribution center boom that is expanding in Manteca, Tracy, Stockton, Lodi, and Patterson to serve the greater Northern California Mega Region and the fact distribution centers Manteca Adult School is partnering with are operating with an average of 25 percent less staff they need and you have a long-term growth in the logistics and trucking field that has well-paying jobs that go begging.
The new logistics program designed to prep adults for growing career opportunities is part of the Manteca Unified effort to shift gears when it comes to how Manteca Adult School can improve the economic well-being of community residents.
The district is also expanding its adult classes for manufacturing and fabrication to strengthen the employability of student in another growing area sector that pays well and is struggling to find workers. The adult school has taken over three shop spaces that weren’t being used at Lathrop High and has invested in state-of-the-art equipment to train adults in high demand skills such as welding and the growing maker trend.
The district plans to expand offerings into other areas such as office clerical to provide students with proficiency in basic skills to make them employable.
Medeiros said not only has the Manteca Adult school taken to heart what employers say they need instilled in people to make them employable but the firms are also partnering with the school to help teach classes.
The soft skills in demand are punctuality, being on time, effective workplace communication, customer service ethics, and financial literacy. Employers have said if the adult school can teach those soft skills as well as basic skills they will hire job candidates from Manteca Adult School and will do more specific-on-the-job training.
Medeiros noted that those that frown on blue collar jobs erroneously believe they will be “spending the rest of their life lifting things in a warehouse” with no chance of advancement. She said the adult school program will educate students not just about advancement opportunities and the wide array of jobs that are available but also teach them basic financial skills for them to build a better future.
Medeiros said between job hopping and misconceptions people fail to start retirement plans or saddle themselves with tremendous debt.
She pointed out those that go directly into college often find themselves four years later with a degree that may not land them the job they want while at the same time saddling them with debut for most of their working life.
“Going into logistics doesn’t mean you can’t go to college,” Medeiros said. “It does mean you can do it without going into significant debt.”
Before the Great Recession, adult school was what Medeiros characterized as “the end of the road.” People who hadn’t earned a high school diploma would secure an equivalency degree and then move on. Adult schools would offer enforcement programs such as sewing and even keyboarding buy nothing that was orientated toward specific employment.
Changes in state funding and adult school guidelines have prompted the forming of consortiums — Manteca works with adult schools in Stockton Tracy, Lodi, and the Delta area as well as the San Joaquin County Office of Education — to provide adults with employable skills. The aim is to help them transition into new careers to keep up with the ever changing economy.
Manteca Adult School in developing partnerships has gone one step further. After  WorkNet shuttered their Manteca office on Northgate Drive forcing area residents to drive to Stockton to access services, Medeiros said the adult school has provided space for WorkNet to service the Manteca area out of the Manteca unified School District complex on Louise Avenue where the Manteca Adult school is headquartered.
Information on Manteca Adult School classes can be found at, by calling (209) 858-7330 or dropping by the school at 2271 W. Louise Ave.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email