Board OKs funds for workforce development

The board of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development earlier this month approved additional funding for the Workforce Innovation for the New Nevada (WINN) Program.

The program is designed to enhance Nevada’s advanced manufacturing and technology workforce. The board voted to approve WINN funds for a southern Nevada advanced manufacturing training program and a northern Nevada advanced manufacturing program, not to exceed $1.1 million each.

In Southern Nevada, the Nevada System of Higher Education, on behalf of the College of Southern Nevada, and the Clark County School District applied for WINN funding to recruit and train up to 500 people per year to work at companies such as Faraday Future, Ocean Spray, Clearwater Paper, Unilever and TH Foods.

WINN funds will also be used to buy equipment that will allow CCSD, through the Southeast Career Technical Academy, and CSN to jointly train for advanced manufacturing careers.

In Northern Nevada, WINN funds will go toward the GOED-led Industry 4.0, which aims to address the needs of the state’s current and future employment. Manufacturers including Tesla, Panasonic North America, Faraday Future, Clasen Quality Coatings, and Click Bond Inc., with Truckee Meadows Community College and Western Nevada College, will focus on training for advanced robotics, autonomous transport, artificial intelligence, machine learning and cybersecurity.

“It is crucial that Nevada work in partnership with our industry-leading companies to not only bring new businesses to the state, but also to grow our skilled workforce to support existing Nevada businesses,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said.

“The WINN program is changing workforce development — whether potential employees take advantage of the scholarship dollars and flexible training platforms or companies use this as a tool to quickly grow their employee pool, WINN has made fostering employable and skilled Nevadans a top priority” Sandoval said.

The programs are a useful way to help people to get back into the workforce or for those looking for a change in employment, said Steve Hill, director of GOED.

“The programs are geared both to the employer and the employee, making it ideal for Nevadans who may already be employed in another industry, but who want to switch careers and work in a new industry — with little or no previous experience necessary,” Hill said.

Additionally, $25,000 was approved for a pilot program with Udacity, which provides a general skill set in web development that can be used by most technology companies in Nevada. Because applicants are not required to have an extensive technical background, the program can be a pathway to higher skill and higher wage.

The board also voted to approve tax-abatement applications for six companies to create about 382 jobs and invest just over $115,000,000 while paying an average wage of $24.82 per hour. Of those, three are located in the Las Vegas area: eCig Distributors, Ryze Renewables Las Vegas LLC and Scientific Games.