NCET helps people explore business and technology
By Dave Archer
The vision to build Northern Nevada’s economic future on sectors such as advanced manufacturing and advanced logistics can become a reality only if the region’s workforce has the skills that new and expanding employers require.
The Pennington Applied Technology Center at Truckee Meadows Community College has a long and rich history of teaching residents the skills they need for technical jobs and updating those skills to keep workers competitive when new technologies create new employment opportunities.
Potential new employers to the region often are wowed when they tour the Applied Technology Center as they consider locating to the region. And organizations such as the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development often enlist the center’s staff to create specialized training to help new employers meet their needs for skilled workers.
GOED, for instance, recently approved a grant to the Applied Technology Center that covers tuition and fees for about 300 Nevadans to complete training as a material handler or production operator.
To meet the ever-changing demands for skilled workers, the Applied Technology Center’s leaders need to look a bit over the horizon to identify the skills that will be needed in the future.
For instance, the center currently is working to earn certification as a fast-track training center for FANUC Robotics. It’s also working to create training for the workers who will find jobs in what experts call “Industry 4.0” — the combination of electro-mechanical control technology with information technology that delivers the next generation of smart manufacturing.
The center’s leaders also are creating new class schedules that meet the needs of a busy new generation of workers.
The center’s Open-Entry format, available in Advanced Manufacturing, HVAC/R and Welding, newly inaugurated in several programs, allows students to set their own flexible educational schedule. That means that changing work schedules and family commitments no longer will prevent people from gaining skills or degrees. Some programs even allow students to enroll at any time during the year, and students who pay out-of- pocket as they take classes can enroll in increments as low as a half credit.
That The modularized format has another benefit: It allows The the Applied Technology Center to serve far more students. Just to cite one example, the TMCC automation program can serve over 200 students a year with the new schedule, compared with just 30 in the previous system.
The center’s newest offerings build on a strong tradition of associate-level and certificate programs in fields ranging from industrial maintenance to construction management to welding and machining.
Teaching workers the skills they need to win the new high-paying jobs that are arriving in Northern Nevada is one of the most important jobs we face. TMCC is stepping up to the challenge.
Learn more about the Pennington Applied Technology Center during NCET’s Tech Wednesday event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, at 475 Edison Way in Reno. More information and registration is at NCETwed.org.
Dave Archer is President/CEO of NCET, which produces educational and networking events to help people explore businesses and technology. This column originally appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal.