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Building the New Nevada

Posted: January 20, 2016

Nevada is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. The Silver State is No. 1 for economic development programs in terms of job creation, retention and training. As a result, the state is becoming a dynamic business environment with a higher-than-average growth rate, and this is good news for construction. As Nevada's economy grows, the need for housing, commercial space, and schools increases, too.

How can you become part of this fast-growing industry to help build Nevada? Western Nevada College offers several options to gain skills required for entry into the construction trade. On March 28, WNC launches the Construction Gateway program, eight weeks of accelerated training for the craft professional and entry-level positions.

Classes will meet at WNC's Carson campus from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday through May 20. Students completing the three classes will receive nine college credit hours, two National Center for Construction Education and Research credentials (Core Curriculum and Craft Laborer) and a 10-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety card readying the student for the spring, summer and fall Nevada construction seasons. NCCER is a nonprofit education foundation created in 1996 that facilitates standardized training and credentialing for the construction industry.

Completing CEM 100, CONS 108 and CONS 205 puts a student on the path to a one-year certificate of achievement and a two-year or a four-year degree. The certificate of achievement provides the opportunity for additional credentials valued in the workplace. If you are interested in the management and leadership aspects of construction, look into an associates or a bachelor's degree.

"We're adopting a 21st-century approach to the construction industry," WNC Construction Instructor Robert Ford said. "In the two-year associate degree program, students learn the fundamentals of construction management. In the four-year bachelor's degree program, they apply those fundamentals to reality.

"Team-building and team management are central to construction management," Ford stressed. "That's why we're are increasing the business emphasis of the program."

Becoming a competent construction manager requires being a creative thinker and a problem-solver, he said. "It's important to apply these traits because no job is the same."

In many cases, JOIN Inc., a nonprofit agency focused on training Northern Nevadans for careers, can assist students with education expenses. Funded by the United States Department of Labor through a grant from Nevadaworks, JOIN is a regional agency dedicated to meeting the needs of current and potential Northern Nevada employers.

"Our funding does not cover long-term education courses; rather, it is focused on WNC's accelerated and two-year or less certification and accreditation courses," said JOIN Executive Director Denise Castle. "WNC offers the in-demand training and JOIN levels the financial playing field so that all residents have the opportunity to capitalize on the career training that offers one the competitive edge."

WNC assists JOIN's clients with training in occupations that have a higher rate of employment in Northern Nevada, such as Automotive Service, Certified Nursing Assistant, Construction, General Industrial Technology, Hospitality, Industrial Electronics Technology, Machine Tool Technology, Manufacturing Technician, Phlebotomy and Welding. Many of these fields are experiencing job growth, so the timing is right for people to train for a career or a launch a new one.

Prospective JOIN clients must be at least 18 years old, completed a high school diploma or equivalent and lost a job through a layoff, reorganization, downsizing or termination; or served in and been separated from the military; or qualify for public assistance; or face barriers to employment due to physical, mental or emotional disability; or be a displaced homemaker who must become their family's primary wage earner.

JOIN has offices in Carson City, Reno, Fallon, Fernley, Elko, Ely and Winnemucca. The Carson City JOIN office is located at 716 N. Carson St., Suite 108. For more information, phone 775-283-0125 or go to www.join.org.

Those interested in enrolling in WNC's Construction Gateway program are advised to contact Nevada JobConnect first. JobConnect is a statewide network that connects businesses with employees and provides job seekers with a number of services and resources. The local JobConnect center is located at 1929 N. Carson Street. JobConnect centers are also located in Reno, Fallon, Sparks, Elko, Ely, Winnemucca, Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas.

To learn more about the Construction Gateway program, contact WNC Construction Instructor Nigel Harrison at 775-445-4412 or Nigel.Harrison@wnc.edu.