By Neil Nisperos, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

SAN BERNARDINO >> Healthcare, transportation and warehousing are among the most in-demand job sectors in the Inland Empire, according to a new report for the agency tasked with helping people find work.

Other in-demand job sectors in the region include social assistance, utilities, professional, technical and scientific and construction, according to the report presented to the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board by Kyle West, applied economics and technology advisor for the Richmond, Va.-based Chmura Economics & Analytics.

Three industry clusters expected to grow at a rapid rate in the near term are construction, healthcare and utilities, West said.

“Of those three, healthcare and social assistance is the largest, so you would expect to see the largest gains in that cluster of activity,” West said.

Healthcare is the biggest sector for job opportunities in the region, followed by logistics, construction and utilities, said Sandy Harmsen, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board.

“We were very pleased to see that we have been doing our training, our focus of our dollars, and our time and energies in the demand sectors that have shown up in the report – that the report has identified those areas of growth, particularly in healthcare, construction and utilities,” Harmsen said. .

Jobseeker Matthew Walker, 48, of Ontario, had been a construction worker in the past and was at a job center in Rancho Cucamonga looking for new employment.

“It’s better now than during the recession, but not that much,” Walker said. “I used to do construction and it’s dropped a lot. Things are going to be better with logistics.”

Education and training is a key strategy for the Workforce Investment Board, and it’s been working to connect business with schools and training centers to prepare workers for the kinds of skills needed by the key hiring sectors of the region, official said.

“From a workforce perspective, one of the most significant opportunities for the region is the youth of its population,” West said. “The working age segment of the population has been growing over the last 10 years at a rate of almost twice as fast.”

The report forecasts over 9 percent growth in the younger working population — ages 18 to 22 — by 2022. West said 20 percent of the working population in the region does not have a high school diploma, and raising the level of educational attainment for young people in the region will be key to economic growth.

“Educational attainment rates in the Inland Empire are lower than in other areas of California and we need to continue to develop strategies in working with businesses and education providers, not only in higher education but in the K-12 system, so that we’re creating and developing a workforce that not only has the skills but the education that employers require,” said BRadley Gates, deputy director of business services for the county’s Workforce Investment Board.

Employment in the region is forecasted to grow at a rate of 3.8 percent through 2016 “and that’s a rate that is outperforming the state of California,” West said.

“It’s also substantially outperforming the country as a whole,” West added.