Finding skilled workers is one of the big challenges facing northern Nevada employers.
Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) is working to prepare students for the technology-based jobs that are coming to the region at its William N. Pennington Applied Technology Center.
The Applied Technology Center is a 102,000-square-foot facility, located at 475 Edison Way, which allows students to gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art equipment. There, TMCC offers a range of programs and certificates in the areas of advanced manufacturing and robotics, welding, HVAC, unmanned aerial systems, automotive and much more.
Kyle Dalpe, interim dean for TMCC’s Technical Sciences Division, explained that many of the businesses that the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) brings to the region will visit the Applied Technology Center when they are looking to relocate. The facility has been newly renovated in the recent years and they have invested $9.2 million into the building since 2012.
“It really is a showcase piece,” Dalpe said.
However, Dalpe said that there are not enough students in the pipeline to keep up with the number of skilled jobs coming into the region.
During the recession, individuals pursued higher education when they could not find employment. Now, much of the local population is already employed. According to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), the unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in December 2016 for Washoe County.
“When unemployment is down community college enrollment is down,” Dalpe said.
Furthermore, Dalpe said that many of the students that are in TMCC’s technical programs find employment prior to completing their degree or certificate.
“The best thing is if they can work and finish the degree,” Dalpe said.
TMCC is working to get more people in the pipeline and working directly with northern Nevada employers such as Tesla and Panasonic to develop programs and courses that align with the types of jobs they need to fill.
“We are able to package it for employers,” Dalpe said.
Earlier this year, TMCC and Panasonic announced their partnership offering the Panasonic Preferred Pathway (P3). The accelerated training program prepares students with the skills they need to be hired at the Gigafactory in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.
“The P3 program is flexible to fit into people’s schedules, and will fast track those taking the program with the exact skills Panasonic is looking for to fill needs in this fast-growing industry,” Dalpe said in a press release.
Panasonic and Tesla are just two of the companies that TMCC works with. Others include Switch, Hamilton, IGT, Server Technology, Flirtey and more.
Another option for employers is Nevada’s Apprenticeship Project. Nevada’s Apprenticeship Project enables employers to work directly with TMCC and Western Nevada College to develop apprenticeship programs specific to their company’s needs. The Carson City-based manufacturer Click Bond and the linen and uniform rental company Alsco, Inc. announced their partnership with the apprenticeship program late last year.
For more information about the Applied Technology Center and the programs TMCC offers, visit http://www.tmcc.edu/appliedtech.