Dr. Georgia White returned to Northern Nevada at the right time. Western Nevada College’s new director of Career and Technical Education arrived in the midst of an economic rebirth, positioning her to make a difference for many students. Foremost, she wants to help them gain the skills to fill the employment opportunities on the horizon.
“I lived here from 1979-82 while teaching at UNR,” White said. “I love this area, I love CTE. You can almost call it a renaissance in industry and economic development. I look forward to getting out in the communities and being involved with economic development in Northern Nevada.”
One of White’s immediate objectives is to tell prospective students what WNC’s CTE program can do for them.
“Rarely in high school are you exposed to what careers in these areas would mean,” she said. “One of my goals is to make visible to the community and, in particular, to potential students, the value of our programs, and how rewarding careers in those areas might be. We have great programs and fantastic faculty.
“With assistance from the (federal) Perkins and TAACCCT grants, we’ve been able to buy equipment for our technology areas that are top-notch and prepare students to go into industry.”
White envisions enhancing the curriculum so CTE students can develop interpersonal skills that are important in today’s work environment.
“Communication, problem-solving and teamwork,” White said. “We want to see that students who are graduating with a certificate or degree have those soft skills and can really add value to the organization.”
After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing at Arizona State University, she earned a Master’s Degree in Quantitative Methods and a Doctor of Marketing Degree at the University of Oregon. White came to the University of Nevada, Reno as an assistant professor of Marketing. She taught a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses in marketing and international business.
From UNR, she went on to become the associate director of the MBA program at Brigham Young University, and the chair for the Marketing and Management departments at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. She also served as the director of assessment and as an associate professor at Westminster.
White’s most recent contribution to higher education came at Central Arizona College in Coolidge. She was the director of Career and Technical Education, improving CAC in a variety of ways. She implemented three new, accredited programs to meet market demand, administered a context-based developmental math course that increased retention by 80 percent, and participated in a Career Pathways grant with local Native American tribes.
While the beauty of the Sierra and Lake Tahoe contributed to her return to Northern Nevada, the greater pull came from the prevailing healthy communities.
“I like the outdoors and the physical surroundings that draw a lot of people here,” White said. “One thing that I have noticed through the years is how people-focused the communities are,” she said. “It seems like there is always some activity going on. There’s a lot of support for parks and recreation, and those factors build really strong communities.”