Manufacturers, workforce trainers and public officials will gather for a Manufacturing Day breakfast brainstorming session Friday in Carson City.
The gathering at the Governor’s Mansion Annex is aimed at building on efforts to pique the interest of parents and students in modern industrial opportunities for career consideration, to promote STEM education and move into Manufacturing Month, which is October, as well as to provide networking opportunities. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, educational and training needs for tech-oriented industries.
Gordon Gagnon, vice president of Carson City’s REDCO (Rubber Engineering & Development Company), said at mid-week he was looking forward to the session and the month of activities because pressures continue to build in the region and nationally for skilled workers. He said while REDCO doesn’t have large turnover, “with Tesla (Motors) coming into Reno I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Gagnon, the lone manufacturing representative on the Carson City Chamber of Commerce board of directors, said while his workforce is relatively stable he knows industry in the city and area considers workforce development critical. He said manufacturers need employees skilled and ready to work. He indicated certification of relevant training helps hiring personnel at companies zero in on the right prospects.
“I do find that the skilled workers seem to be more difficult to find,” Gagnon said. He participates in ongoing efforts to interest students in manufacturing, conducting tours at REDCO regularly. He intends to work with George Gussak of Dream It Do It, the area offshoot of that program of the Manufacturing Institute, to have a tour in October. He said he already has two planned this month with workforce-related educators at Western Nevada College (WNC).
He’s setting up one with Emily Howarth, who has a dozen high school students from the WNC-Carson School District Jump Start program. The other will be with students from the business class of Bob Whitcomb, WNC business professor. Gagnon said the date for the former with Howarth’s group has yet to be set, but the latter is penciled in for a 90 minute tour on Oct. 13 with about 30 of Whitcomb’s WNC students.
Gussak, meanwhile, says October field trips can help expose manufacturing opportunities to high school or college students in Carson City and contiguous Northern Nevada counties as part of the National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute efforts to close a skills gap and beef up the industrial workforce. He said dozens of regional schools and manufacturers plan to participate. Friday’s kickoff breakfast is at 6:30 a.m. Cost is $35.