In part from a donation from Erickson, Reno High implements PLTW program |

In part from a donation from Erickson, Reno High implements PLTW program

Duane Johnson

Erickson Construction has had a presence in the Truckee Meadows market for three decades, and is now reinvesting in the area’s education system.

In part from a donation from Erickson, Reno High School received a $35,000 grant to implement Project Lead The Way (PLTW) into its curriculum.

PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides hands-on learning experiences for K-12 students across the country.

The program offers real-world skills such as problem-solving and creative thinking and communication to students in science technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas.

Rich Gallagher, CEO of Erickson says the company looked at a few schools in the area to partner with and Reno High School appeared to be the perfect fit.

“Reno High School had the technical infrastructure for the STEM program,” Gallagher said.

The STEM program will have an emphasis in engineering and manufacturing, something Gallagher says is essential for future growth in the region’s economy.

“Reno has made a lot of noise with the growth of the economy. The lack of skilled labor is a real challenge,” he said. “Certainly Reno has to figure out a way to attract that workforce.”

PLTW initially features one classroom with a teacher with an engineering background and 10 hand-selected students in the program.

“This PLTW initiative is both unique and exciting, and it will inspire our young people to prepare for the workforce they soon will enter,” said Kris Hackbusch, principal at Reno High School in a press release. “The engineering program teaches the importance of perseverance, learning and innovation, and we’re thrilled to be able to implement it into our already challenging and rewarding curriculum.”

Erickson is awaiting completion of its new facility off of Parr Boulevard in Reno. Gallagher indicated the new facility, expected to be completed by February 2017, could be used for PLTW programs.

Erickson is allowed to reinvest in communities through the blessing of its parent company’ Atlas Holdings. Stipulations from the grant allows for continued donations to the program, particularly if Reno High School needs continued funding.

Reno High School is now one of 9,000 schools in all levels that implement PLTW programs as a part of its curriculum. Erickson is open to offering the program to other K-12 schools in the area.

“The way the grant works it allows for flexibility,” Gallagher said. “We are open to lines of communication. We want to be a part of the fabric of the Reno community.”

For more information on the Project Lead The Way program, go to


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