Riverside activist/entrepreneur Farooq to head state workforce board

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(This article was published by Press Enterprise on August 12, 2019)

Dr. I. Angelov Farooq, founder of a financial analysis company in Riverside and a civic collaborator, is bringing his efforts to the entire state.

Farooq, who created AVM Innovation Consulting after earning a doctorate from USC, has been named the chairman of California’s Workforce Development Board, which advises California’s governor and other state officials about job training strategies and other employment development issues and allocates some $400 million in federal job-related funds a year.“The difference is that in the past the mantra was just getting jobs,” Farooq said. “But we have to get the bar higher now, and this high road is a priority. And how do you do it? You start young, with more partnerships.”

Farooq has been a state WDB member since 2013. As chairman, he plans to work to make job training and placement services easier for people to access and increase that advantage by helping various state agencies work together.

He also serves as president of the Riverside Unified School District board and is a founding director of the UC Riverside Center for Economic Development & Innovation. Additionally, he’s a faculty member of the university’s A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management and helped initiate ExCITE, a Riverside technology incubator.

Farooq said he wants to bridge the economic gaps that separate coastal and inland areas by helping school districts and community colleges improve job training programs. He’ll also work with private employers seeking trained workforces in inland areas such as Riverside County, where he was born and raised.

Also, he said he would advocate for a regional approach to economic development because individual counties do not need to compete against each other.

His motivation is tied to his younger years growing up in a family that often struggled to make ends meet. “This has been in my DNA my entire life,” Farooq said.

Other Inland representatives on the state workforce board include longtime activist Jamil Dada, a financial executive with Provident Bank; Mike Gallo, CEO of San Bernardino-based Kelly Space and Technology; State Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, and Joseph Williams, public affairs manager for Southern California Edison.