TMCC to create manufacturing labs |

TMCC to create manufacturing labs

NNBW Staff

Truckee Meadows Community College will use the largest part of a new $397,400 Congressional award to develop state-ofthe- art manufacturing facilities.

The trick, however, will be ensuring students stay up-to-date even as technology changes, a school official says.

About $250,000 of the grant announced by Sen.

John Ensign last week will be used for new manufacturing labs, including a computer numerical control machining facility and an industrial controls lab.

The labs will be the centerpieces of a new degree program in manufacturing technology, said Rich Green, assistant dean at TMCC’s Technical Institute.

TMCC hopes the program will draw about 50 to 75 students a semester along with currently employed workers looking to upgrade their skills.

The school previously leased high-tech manufacturing equipment, but found it was less than ideal for students.

Green said TMCC officials recognize the difficulties in staying abreast of fastmoving technology.

“It’s always a dilemma,” he said.

“But we believe that if you’re teaching good fundamentals, they can learn new software.”

In fact, he said, the school is paying more attention to teaching students how to effectively learn the operation of new software as it comes onto the market.

The growing emphasis on manufacturing at TMCC is welcomed by those recruiting new companies to the region.

Chuck Alvey, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, said more than 60 percent of the companies currently looking to relocate to the area are manufacturers.

That compares with 15 percent historically.

Along with the manufacturing program, the $397,400 Congressional award will be used to upgrade the skills of TMCC teachers particularly in the use of computers in classrooms and will fund a new program for

teaching teachers’ assistants and paraprofessionals.