RENO, Nev. — To keep up with the growing number of technology companies moving to Northern Nevada, the Reno Technology Academy will begin accepting and training students in networking, computer technology and web programming next month.
The academy operates under the educational license of Multnomah University, a Christian university based in Portland, Oregon, with a location in Reno.
The academy got started after Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval announced he wanted to develop a stronger workforce for the state’s growing technology and manufacturing industry — Steve Andreano, Multnomah University’s director of IT programs said he wanted to take part in that development.
“We thought we could serve the community by setting up a training facility with a focus on computers and network technology,” said Paul Hinsberg, associate director of IT programs at Reno Technology Academy.
Hinsberg said the idea was to set up a vocational school, rather than a degree program.
“We are looking to get people certificates if they want them,” Hinsberg said. “Our real objective is to make people employable and to show them the skills they need by using a hands-on approach — and by using instructors that are from the industry.”
Vannessa Nicholas, director of community engagement and advancement at the academy, said one of the things Sandoval’s office has made clear: if new companies coming into the state are not provided a workforce in the state, they will look for employees out of state.
“We really have a heart for serving our community,” Nicholas said. “We love this area and it was already aligned with our goals to provide what we could to the community and to our Northern Nevada neighbors.”
The academy currently has eight students enrolled, a number that seems small due to a few challenges the academy has come across — namely, finding and recruiting students.
“It has been a process. We have been building this for a long time, and it was important to us that we build a really good program with strong integrity for our first group of students,” Nicholas said. “We want our first group of students knowing that they are going to be successful in completing the courses and satisfied with what they are experiencing.”
To help achieve that goal, Hinsberg said the Reno Technology Academy crew talked to organizations and businesses in the region that formerly set their employees up with similar programs that ended up disappearing.
The academy does not want to be a program the fizzles out, so Hinsberg said officials contacted industry leaders and asked them what they needed from their workers.
“Then we developed the program around what they needed,” he said.
The academy currently offers classes and certifications in three fields: CISCO networking, computer technology and web architecture programming.
Hinsberg said students are not expected to stay within a specific field. They can move around and change their minds.
Starting Feb. 5, academy students will be offered night classes in a classroom at the Multnomah University Reno location at 1100 Kietzke Lane. However, academy officials said they hope to offer the program to interested high school students in the future.
Kati Andreano, office manager at the academy, said many certification tests can be taken when an individual turns 18 years old. Further, many programs allow students to start training and learning material for the test at age 17.
While one of the initial challenges for the academy is obtaining students, Hinsberg said his hope for the future is the academy’s enrollment soars high enough to warrant a larger facility.