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Backed by public and private grants, mobile tech lab arrives in Northern Nevada

Western Nevada College

Special to the NNBW

Western Nevada College’s Automaton and Industrial Technology Center’s mobile manufacturing lab will begin bringing advanced manufacturing training to companies and rural areas in spring 2021.
Courtesy Photo

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Imagine a world where a college came to you. Well, that world is just about here with Western Nevada College’s new Tech Express Lab.

The Automaton and Industrial Technology Center’s striking mobile learning lab was delivered to the college the last week of September, bringing excitement and anticipation to the Carson City campus. It will serve as a mobile teaching space beginning in Spring.

“The plan to roll out the lab and to engage with communities in our area is well underway, and the WNC Automation and Industrial Technology team continues to move these activities forward despite all the changes in the world,” said WNC Professor of Electronics and Industrial Technology Emily Howarth, who has spearheaded the project to bring advanced manufacturing training to companies and rural areas. “The AIT Mobile Lab is the next phase of our vision to expand the outreach and engagement of our high-tech and hands-on offerings to prepare students to #MakeItInNevada!

“The trailer will support instructional delivery of the WNC AIT Manufacturing Technician program and our internationally recognized Siemens Mechatronics.”

The project is underway following the $337,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) as part of the Workforce Innovations for a New Nevada (WINN) program, a $282,000 grant from the William N. Pennington Foundation, a $150,000 gift from Tesla and a $10,000 donation from Wells Fargo.

“WNC is deeply grateful to the William N. Pennington Foundation, GOED, Tesla and Wells Fargo. These organizations have incredibly innovative mindsets and true dedication toward improving our region’s workforce,” said WNC Foundation’s Executive Director Niki Gladys. “Because of their investments, the mobile lab will open new opportunities for rural Nevadans, allowing them to receive training and employment opportunities they wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.”

Emily Howarth, WNC Professor of Electronics and Industrial Technology, spearheaded the mobile manufacturing lab project that will help support instructional delivery of WNC’s AIT Manufacturing Technician training program and the internationally recognized Siemens Mechatronics certification program.
WNC-tech-lab-2

The certifications attainable with a mobile lab are in high demand with local aerospace, mining, manufacturing and technology employers. They can be completed in short time periods and require very few prerequisites.

Howarth has plenty to do before rolling out the mobile training lab next year. With the lab being a blank canvas right now, it will be some time before it is ready for tours and showcasing.

“I’m keeping it secure and clean with COVID precautions,” Howarth said. “I have vendor and technician visits scheduled and will begin the process of setting up and writing curriculum and materials for new equipment over the fall semester. Our AIT Mobile Lab truck purchase is in progress, and when it arrives, we will be able to plan and schedule ‘show-and-tell’ visits for the AIT Mobile Lab Tech Express trailer.”

If you have questions about the mobile learning lab, contact Howarth at emily.howarth@wnc.edu.