In spring 2017, Las Vegas High School senior Isabelle West, months away from graduation, had a wrench thrown in her postsecondary plans.
“I just got a denial letter from UNLV — I was one GPA point off,” said West, who didn’t have a safety school to latch onto. “I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
That is, until she learned about Tesla’s new Manufacturing Development Program, offered through Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Nevada.
The program gives Nevada high school students the opportunity to work full-time as production associates at the Tesla Gigafactory in Northern Nevada. Planted east of Reno-Sparks in Storey County, the 1.9-million-square-foot-and-growing factory manufactures electric batteries, including motors for the Model 3, Tesla’s first mass-market vehicle.
Graduates in the apprenticeship program also have the option of receiving an education in automation and robotics at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno.
What’s more, the program offers housing near the University of Nevada, Reno campus, a daily shuttle service to the Gigafactory, federally funded relocation assistance, and professional development opportunities, such as financial literacy seminars.
“I thought it was a great opportunity and fallback plan,” said West, who became part of the program’s pilot group of 13 graduates who hit the Gigafactory floor running in September 2017. “Even though it’s not UNLV, it’s something I could at least look at and see if I wanted to do it.”
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