(Kimberly James) – A federal grant from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will allow Nevada residents who have been displaced by the pandemic to learn new skills that will prepare them for work in the manufacturing industry at no cost to them.
The Manufacturing Technician (MT1) Express Online Certification Prep is sponsored through Western Nevada College in partnership with Empower America, University of Nevada Reno and Nevada Industry Excellence.
Manufacturing is a field with ever-increasing demand; entry-level positions abound yet there are not enough skilled workers to fill the seats. Raymond Bacon, executive director at Nevada Manufacturers Association, told The Center Square that over the years, Nevada’s career and technical education (CTE) students have been very competitive but the volume of graduates does not meet the volume of industry demand.
Karsten Heise, director of strategic programs at Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, told The Center Square that the diversification of the economy that began almost a decade ago is paying off, helping the state’s economy weather shocks like the pandemic, and one area that’s demonstrated is in the manufacturing industry. Recent unemployment figures for the state sit at 14.9%; Heise said most of that is concentrated in the southern part of the state; the northern state economy is bolstered by the manufacturing industry.
The MT1 program provides displaced workers an opportunity to find a way out of the crisis.
“If they see themselves in the manufacturing industries, it’s an opportunity because the demand is there, the programs to upskill them, the pathways I believe are there,” Heise said.
“We basically went out and said what is a way to train unemployed and underemployed persons quickly for entry-level manufacturing jobs,” Heise said. “MT1 and other entry-level qualifications are how we address that. Getting talent into the door and teaching them entry-level skills, then setting them on a career pathway, then continuously upskilling them towards a sustainable career in manufacturing is where the MT1 fits in. It’s not the answer to all of the needs but it is an entry-level step to a career pathway.”
“The jobs are or will be here even though the companies and the processes those companies will be doing may not be here yet,” Bacon told The Center Square.
Bacon said those with math, science, computer and mechanical skills and understanding could easily transition into modern manufacturing jobs in most cases.
“Now you need to do the self-assessment of where you are and what you know and can learn as well as how fast,” Bacon said. “In my life, the scope and nature of manufacturing jobs is always changing and the employees with the skills always do well.”
To be eligible for the free training, you must be a Nevada resident with a high school diploma or equivalent. In northern Nevada, more information can be found by contacting Aubrey Nelson of Community Services Agency at 775-786-6023, ext. 1021. Those interested in Southern Nevada can contact the Nevada Career Center.