Western Nevada College’s Applied Industrial Technology program, which has seen a 50 percent increase in student enrollment between 2014 and 2015, is beginning renovations to expand its current facility, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the NV Energy Foundation.
The grant provides funding to convert an exterior covered patio into an enclosed high tech robotics laboratory.
“The program is currently operating out of a traditional classroom, and has outgrown the available space and functionality,” said Katie Leao, director of the WNC Foundation. “Due to a dynamically changing manufacturing environment and projected growth statewide, WNC facilities must offer technology and equipment in a training lab with practice opportunities that reflect traditional settings as well as emerging scenarios.”
Emily Howarth, Automated Systems and Industrial Technology program professor for the college, said the AIT program curriculum resulted from collaboration with manufacturers in the area.
“We are responding to manufacturers needs by providing a workforce with the skills they require,” she said. “We are prioritizing Nevada’s workforce. Our goal is to turn out workers who want to live, work and stay here in Northern Nevada.”
The AIT curriculum was developed to help Nevada meet the anticipated demand for skilled industrial technicians in manufacturing, distribution and logistics. The manufacturing sector is projected to increase by 30 percent in the next five years, according to the Governor’s Office for Economic Development. The program was designed using feedback from current students and local employers who reported turnover was high and the new employee labor pool was small.
Information on contributing to the Western Nevada College Foundation’s efforts to continue to improve and expand the AIT program can be found at http://www.wnc.edu/foundation/.