Workforce development subject of NNBW’s March 1 Breakfast & Business

Dr. Kyle Dalpe, interim dean of the Technical Services Division at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, will be among those on the NNBW's Breakfast & Business panel on March 1.

Dr. Kyle Dalpe, interim dean of the Technical Services Division at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, will be among those on the NNBW's Breakfast & Business panel on March 1.

RENO, Nev. — Dr. Kyle Dalpe and Elizabeth Loun understand the best way to tackle the challenges of workforce development in Northern Nevada is to keep lines of communication open.

For example, Dalpe, interim dean of the Technical Services Division at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, says he and other delegates have met in recent months with representatives from companies such as Panasonic and Tesla to get a feel for what kind of jobs will be available as they ramp up operations in the market.

“We created programs such as the Panasonic Preferred Pathway (P3) to develop a curriculum to fit what companies like these need,” Dalpe said in an interview with the Northern Nevada Business Weekly. “A lot of these companies can’t wait for students to get their two-year degree; they need workers now.”

The P3 program is designed to get students, even those with no manufacturing experience, into the workforce in a short period of time.

Loun, associate director for Employee Relations and Internships at the University of Nevada, Reno, said the university had taken a proactive approach — UNR is in the process of adding professional programs through its Extended Studies program.

“We’re trying to listen and be engaged with the community,” Loun said. “A lot of it is being open to sharing information and cultivating opportunities to get students connected with industry professionals.”

Not only has Loun’s department connected students with various internships, it has engaged with companies to meet with students face-to-face on career opportunities.

“We’re really open to cultivating opportunities to students to connect with professionals,” Loun said. “Students are always excited to hear from industry professionals and see what careers are out there.”

Dalpe and Loun will be among a panel of speakers at the NNBW’s latest Breakfast & Business event, “Northern Nevada’s Front Line: Developing the Workforce to Build the New Economy,” set for Thursday, March 1, from 7-9 a.m. at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno.

Other guest speakers include: Denise Castle, executive director, JOIN Inc.; DeAndrea Ceccarelli, program development manager, Community Services Agency; Monica DuPea, executive director, Nevada Youth Empowerment; Cheryl Olson, project director for Nevada’s Apprenticeship Project at Truckee Meadows Community College; and Adrienne Santiago, director of education, Career College of Northern Nevada.

Zachary Kumler, CEO of Alpha Roster, LLC, will moderate the panel, one of the main themes of which is that the line of communication between employers and educators and workforce development advocates can be a two-way street.

As such, there are several resources and opportunities that employers should take advantage of, workforce development experts say.

One resource is Community Service Agency, a Reno nonprofit that serves in several capacities in the community, among which is connecting workers, particularly those in the 18-24 age demographic, with internship opportunities at local companies.

In turn, the agency also promotes a variety of programs, such as providing wage subsidy assistance for companies while new employees are training for new positions.

Ceccarelli said the agency also advocates educating employers on the issues that pertain to today’s workforce.

“Say a retailer opens their store at 6 in the morning, and there’s a potential employee with a young child. But that employee is unable to go to work at that time because the childcare facility doesn’t open up until 7,” Ceccarelli said. “Employers may be missing out on a pool of great employees simply because they may not understand the circumstances today’s employees face.”

Olson, of Nevada’s Apprenticeship Project, indicated that apprenticeships may be an untapped resource for local companies to find and develop employees.

In a telephone interview with NNBW, Olson said apprenticeships, although often associated with construction and manufacturing jobs, can also apply to white-collar industries, including banking and medical services.

“That’s one thing we want to change (with) the mindset of many employers ... that apprenticeships can be a new way to recruit and retain employees,” Olson said.

The program already has partnered with companies such as Alsco, a linen and uniform rental service company, and Click Bond, a manufacturing company based in Carson City.

Nevada’s Apprenticeship Project was formed in 2015 after TMCC was awarded a grant through the Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Initiative Grant. It offers more than 300 apprenticeships across the state of Nevada.


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