Tesla arrival prompts technician training
A production technician certificate of achievement program began Sept. 14 at Truckee Meadows Community College.
In a statement, TMCC officials described the new program as “an innovative open-entry, closed-exit format.”
With large firms such as Tesla Motors and Switch moving into northern Nevada, the demand for skilled production technicians will rise dramatically, according to experts.
“Companies with any level of mass production or automation will need production technicians,” said Jim New, dean of technical sciences at Truckee Meadows Community College.
“This goes for corporations with a mega-factory to all the companies with around 150 employees.”
The open-access course format allows students to work at their own pace through classes that have been divided into half-credit segments. Up to 12 credits may be completed by the conclusion of each semester.
The certificate of achievement is a 32-credit program in total. Students signing up for a smaller number of credits at the start of the term may later enroll for additional half-credit sections if they finish the initial coursework with enough time to complete the new class segments before the end of the semester.
“Really motivated students who complete three credits by the end of October, could sign up for three more credits,” New said. “It’s like a pay-as-you-go system.”
The instruction modules are student-centered.
“It’s individualized attention, one-to-one instruction — definitely not the teacher up in the front of the class type of model,” said Randy Walden, director of technical sciences.
“The training lab is open from 7:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. from Monday-Friday, and there is always a full-time instructor there to provide assistance and training with the equipment.” Most of the equipment is brand new machinery.
“Tesla likes the competency-based learning method — the modules with its flexible format,” Walden said.
“They are going to have a huge demand for production technicians with the skills that TMCC is providing.”
Students need to enroll in person at the Resource Center in the TMCC IGT Applied Technology Center, Edison Way. Once students earn the certificate, they are well-prepared to sit for the certified production technician credential, New said.
The production technician certificate program is 100 percent funded as part of a $3.2 million grant awarded under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program as implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.
For more information about the program, contact Cheryl Olson at 775-856-5304.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.