Many partners preparing workers for careers of the future

A robust network of organizations stands ready to train and educate northern Nevada residents for the thousands of fulfilling, good-paying positions that are being created in the region.

So many organizations are involved, in fact, that job-seekers and employers alike may be wondering where they should turn first.

We’re fortunate that longstanding plans developed by the staff of Governor Brian Sandoval, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR,) and the workforce development board known as Nevadaworks, create a single point of entry for employers and those who want to prepare themselves for new opportunities.

Nevada JobConnect provides that single point of entry. When jobseekers walk into one of the JobConnect Centers in the region — whether it’s the big office at Reno Town Mall or one of the JobConnect offices that stretch from Carson City to Elko and Ely — they’ll tap into the network of training opportunities that are available.

In addition to the traditional support networks (the advice from parents and friends, the direction of school and career counselors) JobConnect can help point the way to career paths for motivated individuals who want to build good sets of skills.

Many pathways are open.

Public institutions such as Truckee Meadows Community College offer the education and training that allows skilled talent to shine in a wide variety of careers such as advanced manufacturing, logistics, nursing, and other demand occupations.

Private schools such as Career College of Northern Nevada and the National Career Skills Institute prepare students for positions in careers in health care, HVAC, information technology, electronic technician fields, and a variety of others.

Specialized training such as the certification required for law-enforcement officers, meanwhile, is provided by institutions such as Western Nevada College, and beginning this fall, TMCC is offering a new Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

Just as important, the network that’s building a stronger workforce for our economic future recognizes that many of our residents need more than just training in career skills to fill these new positions. Every individual who walks through the doors of Nevada JobConnect brings a unique set of circumstances to the search for a rewarding career.

Some need to improve their literacy in English. Others need to get their high school diploma or equivalency and still others need to rebuild their confidence after a mid-career job loss.

Again, we are fortunate that a wide range of organizations — everything from the Northern Nevada Literacy Council to the Community Services Agency (CSA) to labor union apprenticeship programs — have the expertise to address these needs. A list of the broad spectrum of local resources for both seekers and employers has been assembled by the Nevada State Council for the Society of Human Resource Management in the “Workforce Readiness” section of its website.

Nevadaworks has overseen the delivery of more than $8 million a year in federal job-training funds to the specialized agencies that have helped thousands of Nevadans prepare themselves for the demands of today’s job market.

It operates through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which was signed by President Obama in 2014. The new law is designed to improve the coordination of the services provided by those agencies, helping to ensure that residents who need additional help getting ready for the job market don’t fall through the cracks.

That’s not always as easy as it seems, says John Thurman, the chief executive officer of Nevadaworks. For instance, the agencies now are developing common ways of collecting data about the services they provided to individuals and the outcome of those services. That data, in turn, will provide greater accountability and a more-focused look at the successes of workforce development.

The other side of the coin — making sure that meaningful employment awaits talented workers once they are ready — is equally important.

Again, Nevada JobConnect provides a single point of entry for employers who may be looking to fill positions for professionals, skilled talent or unskilled workers.

Business Services Representatives on the staff of Nevada JobConnect work closely with employers to identify pools of potential applicants that may be in education and training pipelines. The JobConnect business specialists play an important role, too, as they visit with small business owners and large-business human resource specialists to learn about the careers that will be in high demand in the future.

The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada also works closely with primary companies, state agencies and others to help forecast the region’s employment needs. For instance the Economic Planning Indicator Committee (EPIC) report projects that more than 10,000 positions in advanced manufacturing will be opening for skilled talent in the region in 2016 and 2017.

Organizations that provide training are responding with new classes and new programs that prepare residents for these higher wage positions.

We are clearly moving into a new era in northern Nevada, one that provides diverse and abundant career opportunities for skilled, talented individuals. The majority of these opportunities will be for those with industry certificates or associate degrees, which will enable those not headed to a four-year college to make a good wage, develop a career and enjoy life in northern Nevada.

Whenever we can, we want these new positions to be filled by our neighbors, friends, and family members who bring existing skills to a new career or make a commitment to upgrading their current skills.

The time for talented people to begin building their skills is now.

Nancy McCormick is vice president of business expansion, retention and workforce at the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. Contact her at or 775-829-3719.


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