Northern Nevada construction industry leaders are encouraged by the growth in their business and the employment opportunities available in the near future.
But these construction companies need educated and skilled employees now to ensure that they have a skilled supply of workers to complete their projects.
That’s where Western Nevada College and its Construction Gateway Academy come into play. The seven-month-old academy prepares men and women for entry-level positions to assist subcontractors and general contractors. The academy also lays the foundation for them to fill a larger role in the construction industry.
“This program sets them up to have the skills to get a decent-paying job ($12-$20) right out of high school, as well as one year ahead of their peers toward a bachelor’s degree,” said WNC Construction Instructor Nigel Harrison. “Not only will they learn the basics of construction, but they will be gaining skills in communication (written and verbal) and also possess the ability to speak intelligently — talk shop — with employers.”
Harrison said that the academy is focusing on recruiting high school students through WNC’s Jump Start program. Currently, Carson High is the only school in the area sending Jump Start students to the academy.
There is a significant need for construction workers within a 30-mile radius of WNC’s Carson City campus. In September, the Reno area listed openings for more than 190 construction-related jobs.
“Northern Nevada is experiencing a shortage of skilled labor, tradesman, field management and project management professionals,” said Jeff Shaheen of Shaheen Beauchamp Builders LLC in Carson City. “Individuals who are interested in construction as a career path should find many opportunities for employment immediately and into the future.”
Best of all for those interested in becoming a craft laborer in the construction industry, the training won’t consume much time or money. Through the Gateway Academy, WNC is offering an eight-week class starting on Oct. 24. This rapid-paced instruction totaling nine credits prepare students for the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Construction Craft Laborer credential, which certifies that an individual possesses the basic knowledge necessary for employment on any job site. They will also earn an OSHA 10 card.
Moreover, WNC is diversifying its instruction by offering a section of this program in Spanish.
“I think WNC is a great place to take courses to further a well-rounded experience in construction management,” said Tom Metcalf of Metcalf Builders Inc. in Carson City. “I would recommend combining trade skills and college classes to be a well-rounded and more knowledgeable construction manager. I would recommend it to anyone interested because of the excitement to be a part of a team that can take a piece of dirt and create something from nothing.”
Students will receive accelerated training through Dec. 16 in Construction Materials and Methods I (CONS 108), Construction Site Safety (CONS 205) and Fundamentals of Construction Management (CEM 100).
“I would encourage young men and women, or those seeking job training, to consider construction as an employment path,” Shaheen said. “The construction industry offers good pay and room for career advancement amongst a diversity of fields.
“Specific knowledge of construction of a trade aside, self-motivation and a basic education skill set are required to be successful in a construction career. Beyond that, my company is looking for men and women who have basic computer skills and problem-solving ability.”
Established in 1966, Nevada Builders Alliance of Carson City has grown to represent more than 700 companies in the construction business. Of late, Nevada Builders Alliance has been on a pro-education crusade, “reaching out to their industry partners to get their employees involved,” Harrison said.
“As our industry continues to become more active in the region, Nevada Builders continues to work with local organizations to help develop a skilled construction workforce,” said Nevada Builders Alliance CEO Aaron West. “We have partnered with WNC, Workforce 60 and JOIN to create programs like Construction Gateway to get people trained and ready to hit the jobsite running.”
Those interested in enrolling in WNC’s Construction Gateway program are advised to contact Nevada JobConnect and JOIN first for free workforce development services and direction.
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.
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.
Contact JOIN by calling (775) 283-0125 or visit in person at 716 N. Carson St., No. 108.
To learn more about the Construction Gateway Academy, contact Nigel Harrison at 775-445-4412 or Nigel.Harrison@wnc.edu.