Western Nevada College and Dream It Do It Nevada have partnered with local businesses and industry, school districts and workforce agencies to foster the next generation of talent for manufacturing careers.
That vision will be clear during Manufacturing Days, a weeklong schedule of activities, Sept. 29 through Oct. 3, at WNC, Carson High School, and at various local manufacturing companies in Carson City.
“Some call it a Manufacturing Renaissance, some a resurgence in American made pride, while others simply call it a return to making things here again,” said George W. Gussak of Dream It Do It Nevada. “Whatever you want to call it, It is real, it is here and it is now. We are encouraging the next generation by exposing the endless possibilities and opportunities available through careers in manufacturing and industry.”
The week is full of events and opportunities for students and parents alike, including: A tour of WNC’s technology facilities that offers a first-hand look at technical training programs; “Made in America,” a free movie at WNC about America’s manufacturing prowess; an industry mixer; a roundtable discussion for women; and tours of area manufacturers and businesses.
“Manufacturing Day gives our local manufacturers an opportunity to raise the shared challenges facing manufacturers today,” said Kevin Edwards, WNC’s Tech Prep coordinator. “The most pressing issue is a gap in skilled labor. Nationwide, 80 percent of manufacturers cannot find the skilled workers they need.”
Western Nevada College sees Manufacturing Day as an opportunity to offer information and encourage youth and adults to become part of the local industry.
“Ultimately, we want to inspire the next generation of manufacturing talent. Also, we are looking to attract people of all interests because of the diverse career opportunities in manufacturing,” Edwards said.
With Tesla Motors Inc. announcing its plans to build a lithium-ion battery gigafactory east of Sparks, students with an interest in manufacturing can gain the skills necessary to be considered for the estimated 6,500 jobs the electric carmaker is planning to bring to the area when the plant is expected to open in 2017.
“The college’s new Associate of Applied Science Degree programs in Industrial Technology and Automated Systems are well-designed to prepare students for careers in the technical aspects of manufacturing,” said David Steiger, WNC’s director of Economic Development. “This would certainly include Tesla.”
The new Associate of Applied Science degree gives students a more diversified skill set to meet the needs of local manufacturers. Besides automated systems, the degree also focuses on construction, general industrial technology, machine tool and welding.
“When we created the AAS Technology Degree last year, the goal was to allow students to generalize and to graduate with a broad base of skills so that they can get hired to work in our local area,” said Emily Howarth, WNC professor of Electronics and Information Technology. “I work closely with several manufacturing and industrial firms who want to hire graduates with a solid base of fundamental skills. The AAS Technology degree areas are designed to support the development of our skilled workforce.”
Since last year’s Manufacturing Day, the celebration has expanded to include the Carson City School District, as well as Lyon County and Douglas County school districts.
“Through this collective effort to draw public attention to manufacturing, the opportunities for community members to participate in activities has grown,” Edwards said. “They’ll tour the industry and tour the high school. We have a more specific target for these activities.”
On the industry tours, which run throughout the week of Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, students will see live production assembly, design work and machine shops, and learn about the history of different companies.
“Manufacturing Day gives our local manufacturers an opportunity to show our community what they are about and to address the shared real-world challenges facing manufacturers today,” Gussak said.
The entire community is invited to a free public screening of “American Made” at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at Marlette Hall in the Cedar Building. The 82-minute film delivers a message of hope and empowerment. Moviegoers will learn how every American plays an important role in helping the local and national economy succeed. It documents the stories of several businesses that have seen success and are able to compete and win within the expanding global economy.
From 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2, WNC will hold a Technology Open House in the Woody Wurster Machine Tool Building on the Carson City campus. It will showcase the college’s technical degree programs that provide training which lead to skills in manufacturing and other diverse career opportunities.
“WNC’s machine tool and welding programs are aligned with the National Manufacturing Skills Certification System, allowing students to gain nationally portable credentials for careers in manufacturing,” Edwards said. “These in-demand programs have positioned WNC as a nationally recognized training institution by the Manufacturers Endorsed Education Alliance.”
In addition, several other WNC degree programs that support manufacturing will be on display, including Automated Systems, Construction Project Management and General Industrial Technology. There also will be information available about college admissions, workforce certificates, scholarships and internship opportunities. RSVP at 775-445-3241.
The weeklong schedule also includes a manufacturing Industry Mixer Continental Breakfast from 7 to 8 a.m. Monday, Sept. 29, at Carson High School’s engineering lab.
In addition, hear from women in the area who have made significant contributions to the manufacturing industry at the Women in Manufacturing Roundtable Luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m.
Speakers, demonstrations and presentations are planned for Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 1 and 2, at Carson High School, and the grand opening of the school’s engineering lab is set for 7 to 8 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 3.
To learn more about the free movie night or the Technology Open House, phone 775-445-3241. Register at www.mfgday.come/events. For more information about the manufacturing/business tours, phone Dream It Do It at 775-315-6728.