WNC News & Notes: Gateway Academy offers accelerated start into construction

Instructor Nigel A. Harrison, left, gives instruction about hand tools to Cristian Avila and Susanne Whimple during a construction class at Western Nevada College on April 4.

Instructor Nigel A. Harrison, left, gives instruction about hand tools to Cristian Avila and Susanne Whimple during a construction class at Western Nevada College on April 4.

Construction today isn’t the construction industry prior to the recession. Today’s construction industry requires skilled professionals who work year-round in this rewarding career.

Northern Nevada construction industry leaders are encouraged by the growth in their business and the employment opportunities available in the near future. Today’s companies need educated and skilled employees to ensure that they have a skilled supply of workers to complete their projects.

There is a significant need for construction workers within a 30-mile radius of Western Nevada College’s Carson City campus. In September, the Reno area listed openings for more than 190 construction-related jobs.

“Northern Nevada is experiencing a shortage of skilled labor, tradesman, field management and project management professionals,” said Jeff Shaheen of Shaheen Beauchamp Builders LLC in Carson City. “Individuals who are interested in construction as a career path should find many opportunities for employment immediately and into the future.”

That’s where WNC and its Construction Gateway Academy come into play. The seven-month-old academy prepares men and women for entry-level positions to assist subcontractors and general contractors. The academy also lays the foundation for them to fill a larger role in the construction industry.

“This program sets them up to have the skills to get a decent-paying job ($12-$20) right out of high school, as well as one year ahead of their peers toward a bachelor’s degree,” said WNC Construction Instructor Nigel Harrison. “Not only will they learn the basics of construction, they will be gaining skills in communication (written and verbal) and also possess the ability to speak intelligently — talk shop — with employers.”

Harrison said that the academy is focusing on recruiting high school students through WNC’s Jump Start program. Currently, Carson High is one school in the area that is sending Jump Start students to the academy.

Veterans who are returning to civilian life and are contemplating their futures may want to consider a construction career, especially with the number of jobs available. Plus, the Post 9/11 GI Bill through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides former members of the military with educational benefits.

For those interested in becoming a craft laborer in the construction industry, the training won’t consume much time or money. Through the Gateway Academy, WNC is offering an eight-week class starting on Oct. 24. This rapid-paced instruction totaling nine college credits prepares students for the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Construction Craft Laborer credential, which certifies that an individual possesses the basic knowledge necessary for employment on any job site. They will also earn an OSHA 10 card.

Moreover, WNC is diversifying its instruction by offering a section of the program in Spanish.

“I think WNC is a great place to take courses to further a well-rounded experience in construction management,” said Tom Metcalf of Metcalf Builders Inc. in Carson City. “I would recommend combining trade skills and college classes to be a well-rounded and more knowledgeable construction manager. I would recommend it to anyone interested because of the excitement to be a part of a team that can take a piece of dirt and create something from nothing.”

Students will receive accelerated training through Dec. 16 in Construction Materials and Methods I (CONS 108), Construction Site Safety (CONS 205) and Fundamentals of Construction Management (CEM 100).

“I would encourage young men and women, or those seeking job training, to consider construction as an employment path,” Shaheen said. “The construction industry offers good pay and room for career advancement amongst a diversity of fields.

“Specific knowledge of construction of a trade aside, self-motivation and a basic education skill set are required to be successful in a construction career. Beyond that, my company is looking for men and women who have basic computer skills and problem-solving ability.”

Established in 1966, Nevada Builders Alliance of Carson City has grown to represent more than 700 companies in the construction business. Of late, Nevada Builders Alliance has been on a pro-education crusade, “reaching out to their industry partners to get their employees involved,” Harrison said.

“As our industry continues to become more active in the region, Nevada Builders continues to work with local organizations to help develop a skilled construction workforce,” said Nevada Builders Alliance CEO Aaron West. “We have partnered with WNC, Workforce 60 and JOIN to create programs like Construction Gateway to get people trained and ready to hit the job site running.”

Industry demand expressed through Nevada Builders Alliance triggered the creation of a Spanish-speaking training session at the academy.

Those interested in enrolling in WNC’s Construction Gateway program are advised to contact Nevada JobConnect and JOIN first for free workforce development services and direction. Students should inquire about the availability of financial aid.

JobConnect is a statewide network that connects businesses with employees and provides job seekers with a number of services and resources. The local JobConnect center is located at 1929 N. Carson Street.

WNC assists JOIN’s clients with training in occupations that have a higher rate of employment in Northern Nevada, such as Automotive Service, Certified Nursing Assistant, Construction, General Industrial Technology, Hospitality, Industrial Electronics Technology, Machine Tool Technology, Manufacturing Technician, Phlebotomy and Welding. Many of these fields are experiencing job growth, so the timing is right for people to train for a career or a launch a new one.

Contact JOIN by calling (775) 283-0125 or visit in person at 716 N. Carson St., No. 108.

To learn more about the Construction Gateway Academy, contact Nigel Harrison at 775-445-4412 or Nigel.Harrison@wnc.edu.

WNC Recognizes 86 on Summer Dean’s List

Western Nevada College is proud to announce that 86 students have qualified for the 2016 Summer Dean’s List.

To earn this recognition during the summer term, students must accumulate a grade-point average of 3.50 or higher and complete six units of classes or more.

Students achieving the academic honor are:

Carson City: Justin Albert, Benjamin Allbritten, Charles Anderson IV, Jesica Aragon, Jayson Berry, Erin Broo, Jason Carter, Tanisha Chacon, Jeanine Demar, Kimberly Everett, Lenna Fagan, Lisa Gardner, Justin Hammond, Caitlyn Jeffers, Lori Judnick, Erica Lagios, Jordan Lamoreaux, Julianna Masters, Rebecca McGee, Linda Meekins, Shelbie Norrup, Dustin Parker, Liliana Samuels, Valerie Seukteoma, Michael Shonnard, Richard Tucker, Jeremiah Ussher, Kyle Vaughn, Caroline Vess, Hugh Welden, Lisa Woolley

Coleville: Miriam Dao

Dayton: Courtney Bradley, Amber Bromley, Leslie Drews, Edward Hipsley, Kurt Kucharek, Sarah Plett, Yvonne Rickman, Belen Ruelas, Lourdes Soto, Rebecca Wynters

Fallon: Rosemary Anderson, Kimberly Barrenchea, Thomas Bynum, Jerri Crandall, Haley Davis, Daniel Janok, Karah Mabry, Herbert McElvain, Summer Pell, Shannon Roop, Grace Rowan, Andrew Souza, Paige Thorn, Ruby Ugalde, Enrique Valdivia, Melyssa Williams

Fernley: Tracy Bradfute, Graciela De Leon, Grace Woodruff

Gardnerville: Audrey Clark, Victoria Fristed, David Fristed, Racylilian Ogilvie, Kathleen Scott, Angelita Solano, Leslie Wright

Incline Village: Carissa Collins

Minden: Maxine Cooper, Taylor Gray, Nathan Johnston, Jennifer Visnovits

Reno: Jill Ceniceroz, Justin Chavez, Richelle Deguzman, Tasha Fleming, Mary Shepherd

Sparks: Heather Ingrao, Lisa Ruiz

Stagecoach: Matthew Hodges

Washoe Valley: Donovan Harrison, Joshua Patterson, Gennifer White

Yerington: Shannon McNeil

Ashland, Ore.: Hannah Harville


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