Governor's Office of Science, Innovation and Technology Awards $335,000 to Community Colleges to Train STEM Skilled Workers


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Mari N. St. Martin
Communications Director
(775) 684-5670
CARSON CITY, NV - October 28, 2015

The Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology (OSIT) today announced it has awarded STEM Workforce Challenge Grants to three Nevada Community Colleges. The total grant funding the colleges will receive is $335,975.

“As we seek to diversify Nevada’s economy, our economic development strategy has targeted high-tech industries that pay good wages. Now we need a workforce development strategy to match,” said Governor Brian Sandoval. “The training programs funded by these grants are the beginning of that strategy and will supply the highly trained workforce required for the New Nevada economy.”

“High growth industries in Nevada, like advanced manufacturing, IT, and healthcare require their employees to have at least some training in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Studies show workers in STEM industries are paid 50% more than similarly educated workers in non-STEM industries, and many jobs require less than a bachelor’s degree. As Nevada’s economy continues to grow, our education and workforce systems must produce more STEM career ready workers,” said OSIT Director Brian Mitchell.

STEM Workforce Challenge Grants seek to spark the creation of lasting partnerships between Nevada’s STEM industry and workforce training providers. These grants will fund the creation of new workforce training programs that will provide the education and skills training that workers need to meet the demands of employers.

Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) will partner with Switch, Inc. to develop a new training program for data center engineering technicians in anticipation of workforce demands created by Switch’s new SuperNAP site in northern Nevada. Graduates will be trained in operations and maintenance of commercial heating and cooling systems. TMCC received a grant award of $149,435 that will facilitate the acquisition of training equipment and simulators for the TMCC Applied Technologies Center and for the development of the new curriculum. Additionally, Switch will donate a cooling tower to TMCC so that students can work with the same equipment in the lab they would at Switch and will provide training to TMCC faculty. Graduates of this program will be qualified to work for a variety of industries including advanced manufacturing, distribution and healthcare. Students will begin enrolling in the fall of 2016.

Western Nevada College (WNC) received a grant award of $150,000 to build a Mechatronics Training Center and implement the Siemens Mechatronics certified curriculum, creating the only Siemens certified training center in the western United States. Training will focus on advanced automated systems used in advanced manufacturing. Grant funding will be used to purchase equipment and fund instructor-training by Siemens. Students will begin enrolling in the fall of 2016.

Nevada State College (NSC) received a grant award of $36,540 to increase the number of STEM teachers in rural counties. Rural students will be able to complete their teaching degree online, via distance education. Funding from the grant will be used for convert traditional courses into an online and interactive video format, and for the purchase of specialized camera equipment. NSC will begin recruiting students to start the program in July, 2016.

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