WNC Connects Local Industries, Students With Tech Programs
Enrolling in classes for a new semester at college can be a stressful process for students, as some are still figuring out a career path.
Meanwhile, manufacturing companies in the region are searching for students that qualify in wanted positions.
Western Nevada College’s Career and Technical Education is aiming to help both sides when the semester begins Aug. 29.
The college is offering six programs that contain certifications and training credentials sought by local employers — taught by local employers.
“Students are basically going through a 16-week job interview,” said Emily Howarth, Professor of Electronics and Industrial Technology. “They have a high chance of getting hired by these employers as they have the opportunity to network and demonstrate their skills. When people get better jobs, it lifts the tide of the entire local community.”
Many of the classes include machine tooling technology and welding, automotive collision and repair, and manufacturing. Students don’t need prior experience in the field as the classes are intended to teach the basics.
One of the top jobs Northern Nevada is desperate to fill is in automotive mechanics and construction, Howarth said.
“We have employers knocking on our door asking for recommendations,” she said. “That’s why we’re offering these courses to everyone; we provide the materials to be successful and academic support.”
WNC partnered with multiple companies such as Panasonic Energy of North America, and Campagni Auto Group and provide training to fulfill upcoming job opportunities.
Dana Whaley, General Manager of Campagni dealership, supports the program.
“Nationally, the auto industry is experiencing a shortage of trained technicians,” he said. “We are experiencing this shortage in Nevada as well.”
While WNC isn’t the only campus in the region to offer these types of classes, Howarth said WNC students can use the programs to broaden their skill set or explore other options in blueprint reading, Math for Industry and OSHA safety.
WNC instructors meet with employers to develop lesson plans per course to ensure the students’ skills are tied to national standards after completing the class.
The courses are also open to high school students. Credentials and units earned can go towards certifications or an Applied Associate of Science degree.
“We don’t guarantee a job to anyone, but we guarantee to introduce them to employers who want to hire students,” Howarth said. “Interacting with local employers who want a certified and trained workforce will be an ongoing part of the program. Students will be able to visit a variety of work environments and to talk with experts who work in related fields.”
When it comes to contributing to Carson City’s quality of life, students’ assignments will include community service projects with the Nevada Builders Alliance, and working with Friends in Service Helping to repair vehicles for local veterans.
Howarth said there are many benefits that apply to the six programs; the jobs help build a student’s resume fast in an affordable manner, and it promotes growth in Nevada’s manufacturing culture.
To wrap it all up, it also keeps local dollars circulating by hiring locally.
“It gives students a chance to work at a high-paying job with great benefits as they figure out a definite career path,” Howarth said. “Some may even find their place when they work at these jobs.”