Sales certification can be the path to a better future for adults in the Stockton, Tracy, and Livermore region of California. These residents have a new option to learn skills and gain access to higher-paying jobs. How? Through a practical workforce training pilot launched by Virtanza and the University of the Pacific in collaboration with the San Joaquin County Workforce Development Board/Worknet.

The objective is to place 70% of graduates in sales jobs with an average income of $50k within 120 days of graduation.

Education creates opportunity. This program prepares graduates to succeed in today’s technology-enabled sales environment with certification as a professional sales consultant. The pilot is designed to make the region’s job market more attractive by preparing Stockton’s current residents to thrive in professional sales roles. Many in Stockton are under-employed or displaced.


“A professional credential places higher-level, better-paying jobs within reach of people who haven’t been able to apply for them before,” says Debbie Holzkamp, CEO and founder of Virtanza. “When graduates finish this program, they not only have a professional sales credential, they go into a direct pipeline to major employers.

“These are stable, national employers, some of them Fortune 500 companies, and they need salespeople.”

The need for qualified sales professionals is real: A February 2019 Indeed snapshot shows that 31 percent — or 1.1 million — of U.S. job vacancies are in sales. A 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics study projected that employers will need to re-staff 3.9 million sales jobs this year alone.


Tuition funding options include full tuition funded by Worknet for those who qualify. Others become eligible for a financial tool called an income sharing agreement (ISA). An ISA is a contractual agreement. A student receives education funding in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of post-graduation income over a defined number of years.

Most people have the right communication and social abilities to be successful in sales, Holzkamp points out. As part of the program, each student takes highly predictive profile assessment. It reveals their natural match to 13 different types of sales roles. Students learn to navigate comfortably in online video conferencing and other applications used by actual sales teams. The Virtanza curriculum also includes real-life customer case studies. These practice scenarios build students’ skills and confidence in developing and presenting sales proposals.

Employers with regional positions including Anixter, Arc Document Solutions, Fox, and TTi plan to hire students upon successful completion of the program. Several of the program’s case studies feature scenarios from these same employers.


The University of Pacific and Virtanza are consulting with the Stockton Mayor’s Office to craft a world-class career pipeline.   Virtanza and the University will administer the sales education, certification, and job placement program. Other key stakeholders in the pilot include Vemo, the ISA service provider; the employment training division of Worknet; Fortune 500 employer Anixter; and Arc Document Solutions.

Both Anixter and Arc Document Solutions are paying placement fees to help fund education and placement of qualified candidates.

The University of the Pacific is the oldest chartered university in California. As part of its push to be a leading 21st-century institution of higher education, the University is exploring innovative educational programming. One of these is non-degree workforce education.

Virtanza has developed a high quality “up-skilling” curriculum for sales careers. Virtanza has trained more than 3,000 students to date through this program at other locations across the country.

For information about enrolling in the sales certification pilot program, which starts in June, contact Belinda Petate Chan, Employment Training Supervisor, San Joaquin County Worknet, at (209) 468-3584.