This is the first in a series by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada on workforce development to explore the types of companies, jobs and careers that exist now and are coming to the region, and the programs that will help workers prepare for the jobs of the future.
Jobs – Jobs – Jobs! The growing economy in Reno-Sparks offers great opportunities for northern Nevadans. In fact, the projection is that more than 52,000 new jobs are expected in the region over the next five years, a projection that some believe is conservative. This growth is only partially linked to Tesla. EDAWN, (Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada) has assisted over 100 companies over the past four years to locate or expand in the region, and they have a robust pipeline of new companies currently looking at the area. Their prospect list includes a mix of companies from all over the country, in a variety of industries, with tens of thousands of jobs that could potentially be brought to the region over the next five years.
The increased national and international visibility of the region has, in part, driven increased interest among companies looking to relocate. Combined with the favorable tax structure, business friendly environment, clean energy resources, availability of real estate, and its strategic location to western markets, the Reno-Sparks area continues to be very competitive with other cities for business relocations. The region is also making great strides in the entrepreneurial arena, and is gaining momentum with the creation of new start-ups and growth of early stage companies.
So, who will help drive these companies forward? Per the recent EPIC report produced by RCG Economics, the patterns of growth in northern Nevada will be characterized by an increasingly diverse and more technologically advanced economy, which will require an increasingly skilled and educated labor force.
Multiple education providers, workforce development entities and resources are working hard to align their programs and increase the output to meet the demand, since a broader variety of education, skills and abilities are needed for workers interested in taking advantage of the new opportunities being created in the region.
With the changing types of companies locating and expanding, skilled employees are able to earn higher wages and get started on a pathway to future advancement and earnings.
The William N. Pennington Applied Technology Center at Truckee Meadows Community College has recently undergone a two-year remodel and expansion project, which is to be completed by fall of 2016. Upgrades include Bender and Baxter, two assembly line robots, and the college has invested more than $500,000 to deliver the training needed for commercial technicians for large manufactures and data centers. The new open-entry, flexible scheduling format will make it easier for students to work at their own pace to complete the required coursework for a 32 credit Certificate of Achievement.
Based on demand driven by the strategic location of Reno/Sparks for 24-hour distribution in the 12 western states, TMCC is the first community college in Nevada to establish a four-year degree in Logistics as well as a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Emergency Management Homeland Security-Public Safety. They already offer an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Logistics Management, which prepares students for jobs in E-Commerce and Supply Chain Management.
Workforce training and development programs are ramping up across the region and organizers are actively seeking to boost enrollment in order to graduate more students with applicable skills into the workforce. With the influx of growth industries such as Advanced Manufacturing, Food and Nutraceutical Manufacturing, Data Centers and Technology, Aerospace (including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), Autonomous Vehicles and Systems, Logistics/E-Commerce, and Renewable Energy, demand is on the rise for workers with industry certificates, two-year vocational degrees and college degrees.
On top of that, the overall growth in the region is creating additional needs in both the private and public sectors, especially in health care, construction, and planning.
The market exists and is growing for those who are motivated to take advantage of new opportunities offered by the diverse companies locating and expanding in northern Nevada, and there are many public and private training resources available. Financial aid options are also available for those who qualify. So, for those truly interested in getting in, getting out, and getting a job, the time is now!
Nancy McCormick is the vice president retention, expansion and workforce development for the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN).