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‘Learn as you earn’ construction training launched

NNBW Staff

The Carson City-based Builders Association of Western Nevada has teamed with the nonprofit Nevada Center for Vocational and Education and Research to launch a “learn as you earn” program to train workers in the construction trades.

Trainees will attend evening classes taught by the center for vocational education while they work fulltime in construction jobs.

Monda Griffin, office manager for the center, said last week the training curriculum was developed by the National Center for Construction Education and Research.

It’s targeted to people 18 years or older with little or no experience in construction.

It begins with a 12-week class in construction basics a course that places heavy emphasis on safety and is followed up by specialized classes in trades such as carpentry, electrical and painting.

Griffin said students are required to pass written and performance tests in each module. They’ll be enrolled through Western Nevada Community College and may receive college credit.

Because the students will be working in construction jobs during the day, Griffin said the evening lessons will be reinforced on the job site.

Added Rick DeMar, executive officer of the builders association, “This is your employee and your job, and you are teaching them what you want them to know.”

The Gardnerville-based center for vocational education also hopes to attract experienced tradespeople to teach some of the classes.

DeMar said the builders association believes that employers need to make a commitment to training workers as tight labor supplies continue to trouble the construction industry in northern Nevada.

While training programs help create a larger pool of trained workers, they also help build loyalty among existing workers, he said.

Griffin noted that some contractors even are visiting active construction sites in northern Nevada to recruit workers away from their current employers.

The cost of the training program $1,000 per student for the basic module and each of the specialized modules will be paid by the employer. DeMar said BAWN is studying ways that it can help defer some of the costs.

The program is enlisting industry partners to help identify potential students and help pay the training costs. Partners currently include Western Nevada Supply, Kit Carson Development and Sierra Assisted Living.

The biggest immediate task, Griffin said, is recruiting employers and trainees for the program. The first session needs at least 10 trainees 12 would be better to take flight.

“Training is critical for everyone in the industry,” she said. “It will take everyone playing their part.”