Training a new workforce

As we continue through mid-summer, the various training programs Nevadaworks is funding with the federal dollars it receives are getting into full operation. Training curricula have been established, individuals recruited and schedules solidified. The money for these programs is from regular federal funding as well as from the stimulus money of which everyone is aware.

The first programs to start involved area youth who are to be given actual hands-on work experiences. Among items being taught are how to interview for jobs and how to work with others in a manner that will enhance their ability to keep a job.

Nevadaworks staff has monitored these youth-training programs, and the stories they tell are very positive. For example, one of the training providers has hired several young adults to be trained in daycare operations. These individuals have never before succeeded in any job and many were considered un-trainable within traditional means. Nevadaworks staff have observed these young workers carefully listening to the training and then applying that training to their work with little children in the day care facility.

Another provider has hired several youth to learn landscaping techniques. These students will apply their new knowledge in a project at a local high school. When the summer training concludes, the youth will have new job skills, actual job experience for which the will have been paid and the school will have received landscaping improvements at no cost to the school district. A win for all.

Some may question why youth get training when so many adults are unemployed. The answers are long and often complicated but simply put, these individuals will be the workers of tomorrow and without this work experience, many might fail in their first jobs. In addition, many of these youth will see the value of learning and will choose to finish high school and will keep improving their soft skills necessary for future success.

Adult training is not being ignored. Although the monies for adult training are just beginning to be spent, initial results are very positive. Some of the training providers have been able to expand existing programs to allow in more individuals who need skill-set upgrades. The high unemployment rate in our area means that many people who desire training cannot afford the costs associated with such training and the expanded programs funded by Nevadaworks will cover these costs.

As contracts were negotiated between Nevadaworks and the various program providers, it was made very clear that local businesses' needs must be met in whatever training was delivered. Nevadaworks required the providers to meet with employers across all industries and to get specific input as to the marketplace needs. With that information, training agendas were created to be presented in a timely fashion to those most in need of training.

Some of the training will be in a short time frame and will deliver mostly fine-tuning to skills already obtained. Other training may take a year or more and might lead an individual into a totally new career. As I have often stated, not all jobs lost during this downturn will return as business recovers, and it is critical that individuals are trained for tomorrow's jobs not for yesterday's.

Business owners and managers need to take advantage of these trainings. As the economy recovers and the need for additional employees increases, companies should definitely seek to interview those who have acquired training during their unemployment. If qualified for the job, they should then be hired. This will reward the individual for the effort expended to learn and will reward the company with a better-prepared worker.

With the new job skills will come a new attitude that should be appreciated by the organization. When the improvement is noted, the training provider should be contacted with appropriate feedback. Set up a connection at the provider's office so additional future employees can be located easily. Take advantage of the current training efforts to move your company to lead the business recovery.

In addition to all of this training, Nevadaworks has just released its 2009 workforce survey ( One of the highlights of this survey is the identification of thousands of underemployed individuals residing in our area. These workers have skills and advanced training oftentimes far above what is required in their current position.

When seeking new employees, consider addressing your needs to this well-trained workforce. Make sure locals know of your product line. Just because people drive by your facility daily does not mean they know and understand your workforce needs. Get this information out so some of these hidden assets can join with you in creating a solid economic future for this region.

Nevadaworks and its training partners can only train. Business and industry will create the jobs. Keep us informed as to your needs. Let us know when your recovery begins and when you will need additional staff. Hire as soon as practical. Together, all of us will shape the regional workforce into a dynamic energy that will be the envy of many!

Tom Fitzgerald is chief executive officer of Nevadaworks. Contact him at 284-1340 or


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