NNDA speaker: Career technical education a must for Northern Nevada businesses to succeed
MINDEN — Northern Nevada Development Authority members were told Wednesday Career and Technical Education is key to the success of Nevada students and businesses.
Bob Potts of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Kristine Nelson of the state Department of Education said Nevada is on track to meet those needs.
At NNDA’s monthly meeting at the Carson Valley Inn, Potts said the five-county sector of western Nevada is growing ahead of the nation in every emerging sector of the economy from health care and IT to manufacturing.
“For all the emerging sectors other than tourism, gaming, entertainment, we have gained a lot of ground,” he said adding wages in those sectors are “double or higher than entertainment jobs.”
He said where CTE comes in is providing the qualified workforce to fill the growing number of jobs in Carson City, Washoe, Storey, Lyon and Douglas counties.
“That’s what the focus of this is all about, what to do about the availability of a qualified workforce.”
Potts said GOED’s job and that of the other partners from the universities and community colleges to businesses themselves is to identify the specific needs of those businesses so education and training programs can be tailored to meet those needs.
Nelson, who heads the education department’s Office of Career Readiness, Adult Learning and Education, said by 2020, 58 percent of those jobs will require training beyond the traditional high school diploma — on job training, apprenticeship or technical certification classes. Under Gov. Brian Sandoval, she said, they’re “aligning programs so that kids can get on those career pathways, at the end of that highway, off-ramping into a middle to high wage career.”
She said the goal is, “being sure we have kids that are prepared to enter the workforce.”
Nelson said that’s far different from the traditional “vocational education” programs of 30 years ago, that these students are graduating at a 91 percent rate.
“They’re outperforming other students,” she said, and earning the new College and Career Ready diploma.
She told the business leaders in the audience they may see young job applicants with that diploma in hand as soon as this coming May.