Thought Leaders: Flipping the switch in Nevada's learners (sponsored)

Victor Fuchs is owner of Helix Electric of Nevada.

Victor Fuchs is owner of Helix Electric of Nevada. Courtesy Photo

Nevada is slowly gaining back momentum as the state continues to recover from the impacts of the global health crisis. As construction is an essential industry, we were fortunate to continue our work during this difficult time.

The hard-working laborers who strap on their hardhats everyday know how essential their skills are, but the pandemic brought a deeper awareness for the public. Those left on the sidelines of employment recognized the value of trade work.

Prior to 2020, there had been a recognizable shift of more and more high school graduates turning to the trades over traditional university schooling. Could the pandemic have pushed this shift even further?

In response to the need and training of skilled workers, Helix Electric developed Helix University more than 30 years ago. This trade-specific university allows the company to invest in the education and continued success of current and future employees by offering educational opportunities and outlined paths for success.

Free to those interested, Helix University seeks to provide training resources and advanced opportunities to increase an employee’s skills and knowledge. Helix Electric prides itself on its high retention rate of skilled employees, boasting more than 400 of whom have been with the company more than 10 years.

This achievement is attributed to the organization’s team-oriented and employee-empowered business approach, which prioritizes employee satisfaction. Specialty classes are open to current employees who are nominated by their superiors, and additional classes are open to any employee.

With the virtual necessities of last year, virtual classes and webinars have been developed that create learning opportunities for those across the nation — allowing for greater accessibility to courses.

Young minds entering the workforce saw something unique this past pandemic-year. Career seekers witnessed first-hand which jobs survived, sustained, and provided an essential service during one of the worst health and economic events in recent history.

By helping to develop current and future employees, organizations can help to fill, not only the needs of today, but set the standard for future workforce development and continued interest in the trade fields.

Today’s education model is heavily utilizing a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum that continues to drive up interests in pursuing careers that otherwise were considered non-desirable for previous generations.

In recent years, the Washoe County School District (WCSD) has increased accessibility to STEM learning. Helix University continues to promote that same learning experience as new trade workers increasingly come from K-12 STEM programs when joining Helix Electric.

As STEM labs, camps, schools, and other educational venues have all proven to be effective styles of learning for children and young adults, Helix Electric’s Reno office is actively collaborating with local STEM based schools for all ages.

More than a simple show and tell, Helix seeks to incorporate learning at a consistent basis and to target junior high and high schools with hands-on learning and summer positions to further demonstrate the numerous job opportunities and areas for growth within the trade and construction industries as these students decide on a sustainable career field to pursue.

Helix was founded with the mission and purpose to empower people and power projects. Since its inception, the company has done just that. Despite the uncertainty and hardships that came with 2020, Helix Electric has powered forward — discovering and training the future generation of electricians who are now poised for a career in an essential industry and better equipped to withstand the ever-changing career field.

By seeking to set an example for the trade and construction industry throughout Nevada, the preservation of skilled workers is critical. And by providing hands-on learning and growth, we are bullish on the future of our industry.

Victor Fuchs is President and Managing Partner of Helix Electric of Nevada, which provided and paid for this article.


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