Developing a workforce

As a recipient of U.S. Department of Labor training funds, Nevadaworks is charged with the responsibility to distribute these funds to qualified training organizations that will assess individuals' work skills and prepare training programs to improve such skills to meet the current and future needs of employers. The manner in which Nevadaworks chooses such providers and issues the funds follows the rules and regulations of the Workforce Investment Act which allows substantial flexibility in each local area.

In northern Nevada, the Nevadaworks board researches and analyzes workforce needs expressed by representative businesses and industries in the area. These needs are compared for common skill sets and specific training criteria and prioritized for the greatest potential workforce impact. Once the priorities are established, staff prepares a request for proposal that explains the needs and asks for training ideas from potential providers.

The RFP notice is published in area newspapers, on the Nevadaworks Web site and through direct mail to potential and current training organizations. After publication, Nevadaworks will hold a technical question-and-answer session to clarify any items of concern or confusion. All interested parties will then have 30 days in which to design a program that will meet the stated training needs and submit the proposal for consideration.

Responders can be non-profits, governmental agencies, for-profit businesses, educational organizations, or apprenticeships. All must be willing to learn the requirements attached to our funding and they must also learn state-required information tracking for reporting purposes. Nevadaworks will provide necessary training to all successful responders. In addition, there is the requirement to follow up with participants for up to a year after completion of the training.

Beyond this bureaucracy are new and exciting possibilities to help our workforce gain 21st century job skills and experiences. Many jobs previously considered entry-level now require strong usage of hand-held computers, laser readers and radio controlled input. Employees often do not move product by hand but through remotely controlled equipment. Offices require creating and filing of data through electronic means only. And some jobs considered local just a few years ago are now sourced to the best possible workforce anywhere in the world. Our workers must be considered the best anywhere.

Cooperative ventures between organizations is considered a plus. Matching funds to stretch program dollars is always a positive step. Identifying needs and possible solutions previously unknown to Nevadaworks is very helpful. Proposals that creatively address these needs stand a strong chance of being approved for funding.

The end result of any training must be an improved workforce for both short and long term. Proposals that start as a pilot project might expand into long-term on-going training with broad based implications. Funding that starts as a one-year source can turn into a multi-year process. Measurements of success will be defined and if achieved, rewarded as possible.

In past years, Nevadaworks has funded innovative programs in nursing, warehouse distribution, construction trades, automotive repair and television production. The results of these fundings were more nurses, better-trained craftsmen, auto mechanics with current skills and high school graduates with the ability to enter radio and television production. All of this occurred in our northern Nevada region.

The funds that Nevadaworks has available are our federal tax dollars returning to our area. It is our responsibility to use them in the most beneficial manner to our community. With the input of a wide variety of organizations, we succeed.

Currently, Nevadaworks is seeking requests for proposals for out-of-school and in-school youth. In February, we will be seeking request for proposals for adults. All information regarding these requests are posted at and all discussions, reviews and awards will be made at publicly scheduled meetings as noted in the posted information. Youth funds will be available beginning April 1st 2007 and Adult funds will be available beginning July 1st 2007.

Successful applicants will receive all necessary training per contract agreements and will benefit from the long experience of the Nevadaworks staff in interpreting and handling all reporting requirements.

The request for proposal process does not occur every year, and thus this is a community opportunity that should be strongly considered by all organizations with possible answers to current workforce skill shortages.

Please contact me at or 284-1340 if you have any questions, suggestions or ideas. Our local workforce needs the best possible training and Nevadaworks wants to help achieve that goal.

Tom Fitzgerald is chief executive officer of Nevadaworks.


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