WNC starts online manufacturing education program
August 20, 2007
Western Nevada College already offers a wide range of classes designed to fill the needs of area industrial companies.
The trouble is, according to Fallon campus Dean Bus Scharmann, those workers have to take time away from the job to attend the classes. That interferes with their work schedule as well as company production, particularly in small plants.
To fix that problem, WNC officials applied for and received a $101,000 grant from the state Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation to develop online instruction for industrial maintenance workers.
Area industrial plants, he said, “need maintenance people and they have to have skills in electrical, (machinery) controls and welding.
“They want somebody who has the education and training to analyze the problem, decide what needs to be done and fix the problem.”
He said WNC already has many of the more advanced courses, but not online.
“They wanted something their employees can do away from work that won’t take them away from the production line,” Scharmann said. “It’s also something that can teach one or two people online instead of 10-12 in a classroom.”
The new curriculum kicks off in September, Scharmann said, with the Applied Industrial Technology class which will give students basic instruction in handling electrical and mechanical systems. It will be offered completely through the Internet.
Scharmann said that will give the school time to get the next level of classes ready by the start of 2008. The school also plans to begin a certificate program in High Performance Manufacturing at the start of the spring semester.
The grant money is being used to develop classes which will do as much as possible through the Internet. But he said, for some training, the worker will still have to come to the school labs. He said welding is a good example.
“Welding will not be Web-based,” he said.
Scharmann said the school is also looking into the possibility of more portable or on-site laboratories which could be installed in a plant for workers to use.
He said three companies were listed in applying for the grant: Kennemetall in Fallon, Sherwin-Williams and Johns Manville in Fernley. But he said the program is open to other manufacturers in the area.
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.
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