Job training decisions

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ARRA, for short stimulus money started arriving at Nevadaworks over the past several weeks. As I have mentioned previously, its arrival included many strings attached and during this time period, the Nevadaworks staff has made great strides in understanding the rules and regulations issued by the US Department of Labor pertaining to its use. We have shared this information with the various current and potential service providers as they have sought access to these much needed funds.

The good news from all these efforts is that the initial review of the youth and adult proposals shows that over the next 18 months, several thousand individuals throughout northern Nevada will be affected positively by the training and hands-on experience this money will provide.

For example, youth summer work experience projects will engage 431 youth in 15 different projects ranging from refurbishing a domestic violence shelter in Winnemucca to cleaning desert areas of Churchill

County of trash to learning landscaping techniques on the Galena High School campus. In addition, all of these youth will also be given formalized instruction on proper workplace safety, workplace etiquette, customer service and communication skills.

Adult training programs for over 2,500 participating individuals, include various green energy related certifications, lean production methods, nursing programs, solar and wind energy generation installation and basic office computer skills upgrading among others. Adult programs are for individuals who are unemployed and need skill upgrades to qualify for jobs as the economy recovers as well as individuals who are currently employed and need additional training to remain competitive in their marketplace.

As contracts with over three dozen training providers are finalized and funds are issued, Nevadaworks will post the provider organization names and online address on its website ( so that interested individuals and employers may contact them directly and learn more about the opportunities this training offers.

Although small in numbers so far, another benefit of the ARRA money is the new job creation that is

occurring at Nevadaworks and within the training providers organizations. Several new positions have been created to service those in need of this training and to also fill the backroom positions required to maintain the total transparency of fund expenditures required by the government ( Many of these positions have been filled with individuals who were unemployed at the time of hire and as more training commences, additional positions will be filled.

Although there is an urgent need to help individuals acquire new or upgraded skills, the unfortunate truth is that it will take time to properly allocate these funds, enroll individuals, engage employers and complete the first steps of training. Therefore, 100 percent of the funds will not be spent this year. The stimulus money must be completely obligated by the end of September 2011, and the Nevadaworks board will be meeting as necessary to review progress reports and make recommendations and/or adjustments to training so that when these funds are fully expended, the best possible results will have been achieved.

To better understand employer needs that will impact training, Nevadaworks and the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, Nevada Apprenticeship Council, Truckee Meadows Community College, Great Basin College and various private sector representatives, will be meeting in an on-going manner to review the needs and opportunities to help create necessary training to keep our local workforce competitive and able to perform as the economy rebounds. In order for these sector groups to properly function, it is imperative that appropriate individuals volunteer to give input and guidance to them so that our federally funded training will meet our identified needs. This is not the time to think someone else will volunteer. If you want positive results for your business, please volunteer now.

One recent example of this type of review and discussion involved two dozen individuals with impact in the growing solar/wind energy field. They met to discuss training needs and then what to do to take advantage of the new knowledge. Everyone in that meeting felt the sense of urgency to work together for the benefit of all. This type of discussion must occur throughout all industries in our area. Nevadaworks will benefit from these discussions and will seek to disperse remaining funds to meet training needs as identified.

Individuals must take advantage of this training to enhance their career options. This would apply not only to current companies that recover but also those that expand into our area. This training in needed skills will help the overall economic development arena as employers learn of our newly enhanced workers who

will be blending their new education with existing experience.

Our local economy has been hit with severe job losses far in excess of most other areas in the country and our recovery quite possibly will take longer than we want to return to good health. As this high unemployment remains, the receipt of additional training funds will probably remain high. To continue the distribution of this money to needed individuals and organizations, Nevadaworks needs a backlog of training proposals that can be implemented as funds arrive. If your organization has training ideas, needs or programs that should be funded, please contact Nevadaworks. By thoroughly understanding our local challenges, we will train tomorrow's workforce so they will be ready when needed!

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


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