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Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, sits down to converse with Gene Voiland, former Aera Energy LLC chief, at the West Kern Petroleum Summit held at Taft College in October 2013.

Inspired by the success of its West Kern Petroleum Summit in October, the Taft College Foundation is launching a new guest lecture series to promote dialogue between the energy industry, academia and workforce development professionals.

The West Kern Petroleum Roundtable is scheduled to kick off March 20 at Taft College with a presentation by Omar Garcia, president of the South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable. Garcia works on several fronts with stakeholders in and around the Eagle Ford Shale.

The event is also expected to feature a presentation about the newly formed Taft College Foundation Petroleum Partners Circle, a members-only group bringing together college leaders and hiring managers to meet workforce needs.

To register for the event, contact the foundation at 763-7936.

The deal makes Ming managing director of Pensionmark's 27th regional office.

Ming said the move made sense because he focuses on corporate retirement plans in Bakersfield and Fresno, and Pensionmark provides tools for such planning. He added that the deal, which closed this year, was not an acquisition.

A drug- and alcohol-testing franchise has opened at 7737 Meany Ave. in northwest Bakersfield.

Owned by Leslie Elliott, ARCpoint Labs of Bakersfield specializes in screening employees for drug and alcohol, performing DNA/paternity tests, checking for steroid use and performing background checks.

ARCpoint is certified under the Nationally Accredited for Administration of Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs.

Bakersfield topped a new ranking of the nation's fastest-growing workforce.

A list released Monday by Wallet Hub, an online clearinghouse for financial products, said Bakersfield's workforce outpaced every other U.S. city in 2012-13. Second place went to New Orleans, followed by Kansas City, Mo.; Santa Ana and Fresno.

Bakersfield also ranked fourth in a category called "Most Industrial Variety," just behind Washington, D.C. Wallet Hub indicated the ranking means Bakersfield is a relatively robust job market for the "average job seeker, independent of background or industry focus."