Students and local manufacturers will reap the benefits as the new Industrial Technology Lab opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday at Western Nevada College.
The expansion and remodeling of the Industrial Technology Lab in the Reynolds Center will allow WNC to serve a greater number of students by offering more classes to address increasing local workforce demands.
The six-month construction project was funded by the NV Energy Foundation, E.L. Cord Foundation and the Reynolds Foundation through grant requests written by the WNC Foundation.
“NV Energy is proud to support the good work that Western Nevada College is doing in the community,” said Mary Simmons, NV Energy Vice President of Business Development and Community Strategy.
“The expansion of the Industrial Technology Lab is so important for our community,” said Niki Gladys, Executive Director of WNC Foundation. “The new lab will help provide a stronger, more steady stream of qualified, local employees for local manufacturers while offering students the opportunity to pursue meaningful careers. WNC Foundation is grateful to NV Energy, E.L. Cord and the Reynolds Foundation for their generous support of this project.”
A reawakening of manufacturing in Northern Nevada has stimulated student demand for advanced training. As WNC has upgraded its equipment to meet advanced manufacturing training requirements, the need for more space became apparent.
“The lack of ‘elbow room’ impacted the number of students at any given time, limiting the workforce pipeline,” said Dr. Georgia White, WNC’s director of Career and Technical Education. “The lab expansion provides more space allowing WNC room to accommodate student and industry needs. More classes, more students, and more room to work with robots, PLCs, and other automated systems.”
This state-of-the-art facility gives students the ability to learn on equipment that is similar to what they would see on a modern-day manufacturing floor.
“The lab expansion coincides with introduction of Siemens Mechatronics Systems Certification Program (SMSCP) Level 2, which builds on the Level 1 certification that has been offered since 2016,” White said. “As manufacturing moves to full automation with computer integration, Siemens Mechatronics becomes a top, international certification for Industry 4.0.”
Mechatronics combines mechanical, electrical, computer, and software and control engineering to design and manufacture products. WNC is the only college in the western United States offering this training.
“Individuals trained in mechatronics are prepared for many successful careers. including machine operator, industrial maintenance technician, and electrician,” White said. “Both levels of SMSCP are based on theory and practice. Individuals obtaining the certification are ready to hit the ground running when hired by industry.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in conjunction with WNC’s open house for Career and Technical Education programs.