Northern Nevada a New Frontier for NCCER’s “Go Pro” initiative

Western Nevada College’s Kevin Edwards and Robert Ford are working with Alex Kyser, Nevada Department of Education’s Skilled and Technical Sciences Education Programs Professional, to generate more interest and enrollment in secondary Career and Technical Trade programs in Northern Nevada.

During the national Construction Careers Month, they opened up the WNC Construction Management program so high school students could engage in various construction applications that were not covered in the specific programs offered at their schools.

To celebrate construction careers, Western Nevada College’s Construction Project Management Program hosted construction students from Silver Stage High School in nearby Lyon County. The experience was better than they imagined. Students got to work alongside WNC Construction faculty, Western Apprenticeship Coordinators Association of Northern Nevada Plumbers, OSHA certified professionals, and WNC students.

The message was simple: “Opportunities in construction are limitless.” Students participated in hands-on demonstrations for surveying, plumbing, scaffolding, and 21st Century tool technology. The Builders Alliance of Nevada (Nevada Builders Alliance) represent more than 600 member building contractors across the state, and opened the morning by inspiring students to pursue a career in construction. The Nevada Builders Alliance contractor truck signified to students that construction is cool.

Additional events are scheduled in the spring to give local industry partners an opportunity to engage with students. If we can generate interest for them to get involved in high school, some of them may want to continue their education at our campus, said Ford.

Industry partners can discuss industry career opportunities, bring in and present new technologies and processes, or provide funding to help with the process expenses. “I am trying to build a bridge between the industry and secondary and post-secondary education programs, said Ford. “I am a firm believer that the industry is the answer to the old question: how can we interest this younger generation in construction careers?

“I have learned through past research programs with NCCER and ABC that if the industry directly engages the students with positive influencers, interest is generated. If you get the students interested in the industry, the more likely they will enroll in a construction trades program. Once they get involved it is very important to keep their motivation building through these outreach programs. Even if it is just stopping by their school once a year to check their progress, it matters.

Kevin Edwards, WNC’s CTE College Credit Coordinator said, “Construction is coming back in Nevada and many of the students we serve come from smart, hardworking, rural communities. These students are often the best matches to succeed as a construction professional. Bob Ford is linking this program with industry partnerships and now it is time to fill the demand for skilled construction professionals.”

Alex Kyser, Education Programs Professional, said, “The construction industry is a vital part of Nevada’s growth and prosperity. Training and educational programs like WNC’s are essential to maintaining a strong and talented workforce. The construction industry offers so many great opportunities for Nevada’s students to have successful careers.”