Carson High, Western Nevada College unveil new manufacturing labs
October may be proclaimed as Manufacturing Month but in Carson City, the concept goes beyond appreciation: It’s a field transforming local students and shaping the future, especially in Nevada.
Carson High School and Western Nevada College unveiled Career Technical Education laboratories, in conjunction with offering credits for courses that will help begin careers with tech industries such as General Electric, Panasonic, Tesla.
The high school’s CTE program opened its new manufacturing lab facility Friday morning as more than 600 freshmen toured to learn about careers in the field. The lab includes new software programs and computers, 3D printers, a conveyor belt assembly line.
This lab is a new step for the high school as students have the option to gain and transfer college credits with related programs at WNC, as well as participating in the state’s technical assessments and workplace readiness exams.
Overall, CHS invested in $400,000 for the four-year CTE Pathways program, such as skilled and technical sciences, health science, and information and media technologies.
Michele Lewis, Carson High School vice principal and CTE administrator, said Carson City stands out compared to other Northern Nevada counties because most instructors have background in manufacturing.
“Vocational education back in the day had a negative reputation,” Lewis said. “But students enrolled in these classes have a higher graduation rate and now, vocational classes are more rigourous and relevant.”
During the 2015-16 academic year in Nevada high schools, 85 percent of CTE students graduated compared to 73 percent of students in general. At CHS, there are more than 1,700 students enrolled in the CTE program.
Thursday evening, WNC held a manufacturing job fair and ribbon cutting ceremony to its new industrial technology lab in the Reynolds Building, made possible through contributions from the NV Energy Foundation.
The new lab features workspace to craft, weld, and design project with modern tools and technology, such as a robot-based productivity machine.
This tech revolution taking over WNC is known to be called “New Nevada” as it offers classes in the mechanical, engineering, and construction fields.
“This increases the college capacity and encourages students to learn and play a key role in the economy, and our future,” said WNC Officer in Charge Mark Ghan.
“We love this project because of the innovation,” said Mary Simmons, vice president of Business Development and Community Strategy at NV Energy. “This partnership will encourage students from all over to attend WNC.”
Even students in the accelerated mech-tech course are dedicating their time to perfect their skills in the field.
“I took vacation from my company to complete this course,” said Matthew Robison, student and employee of Reno Cerakote and Hydrographics. “These classes are helping me understand the proper steps of identifying a problem in machinery.”
The program at WNC gives students the option to continue their studies at the University of Nevada, Reno or get hired after graduation.
At CHS, Lewis said the school is working on adding civil engineering or computer integrated manufacturing to expand the state’s engineering program, “Project Lead the Way.” Lewis said Douglas County schools are already offer the program.
“These programs keep students in school,” she said. “It betters the community by achieving and figuring out a career while they’re in high school. It’s important to have a learning environment that makes it relevant to keep them interested.”