It’s a Wednesday afternoon inside Truckee Meadows Community College’s new advanced manufacturing lab, located at the TMCC Applied Technology Center on Edison Way in Reno, which is humming along during a demonstration. The lab is proof TMCC is doubling down on efforts to prepare the Nevada workforce for openings at Tesla and many other companies playing a robot-centric role in the state’s booming advanced manufacturing sector.
For more than a decade, Northern Nevada entrepreneurs and collegians have competed in business-plan competitions— and the results are beginning to show up in the region’s economy. Take a look at Dragonfly Energy. It’s a fast-growing young company in Reno that developed a strong name for itself as a manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for RVs, boats and off-grid applications.
Technicians from around Northern Nevada are demonstrating their skills, knowledge and value through the innovative Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program at Western Nevada College. Working in the field of industrial technology and returning to the lab and classroom to earn internationally recognized credentials and college credit requires determination, and a personal and professional investment.
October may be proclaimed as Manufacturing Month but in Carson City, the concept goes beyond appreciation: It’s a field transforming local students and shaping the future, especially in Nevada. Carson High School and Western Nevada College unveiled Career Technical Education laboratories, in conjunction with offering credits for courses that will help begin careers with tech industries such as General Electric, Panasonic, Tesla.
When Guy Gardner bought Quality Plastics in Sparks in 1983, the company had a single piece of technology: a photocopier. Today, the company’s staff of 35 relies extensively on the tools of technology to design and manufacture often-complex plastics products for business-to- business, business-to- government and business-to-consumer markets.
I’ve worked with manufacturing companies all around the world for the past 15+ years and one of the largest misconceptions I’ve come across is the notion that you have to manufacture outside of places like the US or Europe in order to compete in the marketplace. Here’s why I think this is a bad strategy and also what you can do about it. First off you have to choose a sensible location to manufacture. For example, baking in higher costs in more expensive states like California and New York immediately puts you at a disadvantage. Choosing to manufacture right here in Nevada is the first common sense step, especially with local incentives, strong distribution channels and a generally attractive running cost structure.
John Doiron, Carson High School’s Career and Technical Education’s new manufacturing instructor, stood in front of the Carson Area Manufacturers Forum in early June to outline his plan for the manufacturing program and to ask for their support in sharing their knowledge to develop curriculum, being guest speakers in class and inviting students in to their facilities for field trips, internships and other work-based learning experiences. It’s all part of Doiron’s master plan to unite CHS CTE’s new four year program and local manufacturers who are competing with the likes of Tesla and others for skilled technical workers.