Western Nevada College hosts Work Force Summit in Carson City

Robert Hooper, NNDA executive director, with Carson City Chamber of Commerce executive director Ronnie Hannaman.

Robert Hooper, NNDA executive director, with Carson City Chamber of Commerce executive director Ronnie Hannaman.

More than 50 members of Northern Nevada’s work force development network brainstormed Tuesday in Carson City about collaborating to upgrade skills and promote jobs.

The Western Nevada College Work Force Summit brought together state, regional and local resource providers to help people seeking jobs or better employment find ways to match their training and ability with jobs in manufacturing and business. It’s a task some said grows even more crucial with Tesla Motors bringing a large battery factory to nearby Storey County.

“Our challenge in the work force arena is going to become more challenging,” said Rob Hooper, executive director with the Carson City-based Northern Nevada Development Authority office. He mentioned that’s partly due to Tesla and partly because other manufacturer and businesses grew more interested in coming to the city or region in the aftermath of Tesla’s decision,

“Some of the queue,” he said of firms thinking about such a move, “got a kick in the tail.” As development will pick up, he said, that will put pressure on wages, benefits and the need to redouble efforts at providing firms with people prepared to handle a growing number of jobs. He said this area has various resources to help, giving as examples WNC and the “Dream It, Do It” program NNDA has, so getting representatives of all those resources together is one key to moving in the right direction. Hooper said the pressure of a Tesla and another large firm or two will tighten the labor market considerably now unemployment has fallen to 7 percent in the recession’s aftermath.

“You throw a couple of rocks in the pond, and we’re to be back in the days of 2005-07,” he said, recalling a time when finding workers was a major challenge. It actually has remained challenging, he said, because even during the high joblessness period of the recession those with proper skills for industry remained scarce.

Dave Steiger, WNC director of Economic Development and Continuing Education, said a goal of the gathering was pulling together regional information on the network of resources so a directory can be put out. The collaboration day will provide the data and the NNDA work force development committee is expected to put out the directory next spring, he said, but it will be a dynamic directory that gets updated over time.


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