Grants boost manufacturing education at TMCC |

Grants boost manufacturing education at TMCC

Rob Sabo

A pair of grants totaling $5.25 million awarded to Truckee Meadows Community College’s IGT Applied Technologies Center at Edison Way helps the facility better meet the needs of northern Nevada manufacturing firms and employers, Dean Jim New says.

The first grant of $2.25 million was awarded in July by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The second grant of $3.2 million was awarded in September by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education.

The EDA grant is earmarked for facilities and curriculum improvements at the 96,000-square-foot Applied Technologies Center. New says the funds will pay for more than half the anticipated costs of renovating the building.

A key element of the curriculum enhancements is the purchase of large-scale assembly line manufacturing and distribution equipment to offer better hands-on training for students entering the manufacturing and distribution industries.

“It will greatly enhance what we are able to teach,” New says. “We will have students learning how the lines operate, as well as how to maintain the equipment that keeps the lines operating.”

TMCC also will upgrade its sheet metal facility and integrate it more with its machining and welding programs to better meet needs of regional manufacturers, New says.

TMCC plans to construct a large storage unit at the site to house instructional equipment and materials currently burning up space inside the facility. Storing the equipment and materials outside of the building allows TMCC to accommodate more students and add additional classes, New says.

Student common areas will be upgraded to provide a more pleasant area for study and gathering, and food service will be added inside the building.

“Because of our location on Edison, there is really no place for students to grab a sandwich, and a lot of them eat in the building between classes,” New says.

The upgrades will be put into play during next few years and expects to have renovation completed by fall of 2016.

“This is critical to be responsive to the needs of manufacturers. It will help us ensure that our facility is a reflection of what students can expect to encounter once they enter the workforce,” New says.

The second grant, part of an $8.7 million grant package awarded to TMCC, Great Basin College and Western Nevada College, is earmarked for TMCC’s manufacturing and mining programs. TMCC will create accelerated machining, production technician and welding programs that culminate in associates or bachelor’s degrees. Each institution will employ a JobConnect expert on site to help place trained students with northern Nevada employers.