Mark Lobsinger has his eye on the future. The new career and technical education/college credit coordinator at Western Nevada College is focused on high school and college students and preparing them for a fascinating world of changing technologies.
Along the way, Lobsinger is building relationships and sharing career opportunities with current and potential students. He’s transitioning from Carson High School, where he served as an architectural drafting and design instructor, to the college.
“WNC is very pleased to welcome Mark Lobsinger as our new Career and Technical Education College Credit coordinator,” said Dean of Student Services John Kinkella. “Mark comes to us with glowing recommendations from Carson High School, where he was an outstanding Career and Technical Education instructor. His passion for student success and his commitment to our community make him a terrific addition to the college.”
At WNC, Tech Prep has evolved into a CTE program that offers students more career opportunities and training for higher-paying jobs.
“It’s a great time to be involved with Career and Technical Education in Nevada,” Lobsinger said. “I have a newfound passion and appreciation for the program. We have a multitude of students who could acquire skills, experience, certifications, and/or degrees to benefit themselves and our community through higher-paying jobs.
“High school students in our community can earn college credit free of charge. CTE programs are geared more towards applied education.” Lobsinger said he has seen multiple students struggle academically, but when given the opportunity to learn hands-on skills, “the light bulb comes on and they get excited.”
The timing couldn’t be better for area high school students. They can begin their CTE pathway in high school and reduce the cost of their education after they graduate. Through electives in high school, students can start earning college credit in technical fields such as accounting and business, auto technology, graphics, construction, digital photography, machine tool technology, nursing assistant, web design and welding. By the time they enroll at WNC, they will have a clearer idea of which career they want to pursue, and can start earning the licenses and certifications necessary for employment and better-paying jobs.
“These are just a few examples of programs that have promising future career opportunities,” Lobsinger said. “It’s clear that CTE has trended away from the limitations and perceptions of vocational education of the past.”
Lobsinger said in the past, technical education didn’t receive the respect it deserved. “Today’s CTE programs are geared at educating people through hands-on experiences in fields that are in high demand and pay well, at a fraction of the time and cost of the traditional college route.”
With two young children, Lobsinger said if they were seniors in high school today, he might advise them to a take a nontraditional path in their postsecondary school educations.
“If the main goal is to obtain a solid education and a stable career, there are lots of opportunities within CTE with minimal cost to get licensed or certified,” Lobsinger said. “A lot of university graduates get out and start working for salaries which hardly make ends meet. It takes time for them to gain experience and make more money.”
Alternatively, considering the development of the manufacturing and mining industries in Northern Nevada, a CTE career pathway can provide students with financially secure futures.
“With what’s going on in Nevada with manufacturing and mining, there is a lot of opportunity for kids to get out and make really good starting salaries. I’ve seen upwards of $50,000 to $60,000 a year with a little bit of education,” Lobsinger said. Better employment opportunities are even available to students along their career pathway, he said.
“Through the CTE program, a student could become certified as a nursing assistant while still in high school. That student could then begin working in the industry while pursuing a degree as a registered nurse,” Lobsinger said.
As part of his outreach duties, Lobsinger and the CTE program won’t forget recent high school graduates who have decided to immediately enter the work force.
“I’m trying to contact recent high school graduates who took a CTE course to get them back on an educational track,” he said. “Many kids are working summer jobs and earning what they feel is a lot of money. We’d like to get through to them and explain that with an education at WNC, they can easily get on a path toward an awesome career,” Lobsinger said.
Athletics introduced Lobsinger to higher education. After growing up in rural Newkirk in north-central Oklahoma, he played slot receiver for the University of Oklahoma football team.
After working for construction, engineering and architecture/landscaping firms in Miami, Fla., and Dallas, Lobsinger and his wife, Sarah, moved to Northern Nevada nearly a decade ago. Lobsinger worked in his field until becoming a teacher at Carson High School last year.
“As an architectural drafting and design teacher, I really enjoyed watching my students grow through trial and error as the year progressed. We worked on multiple design/build projects that relied on solid/complete/detailed designs and construction drawings in order to build a final product. I also really enjoyed just being a part of the students’ lives for that time.”