15 CCSD students headed to jobs at Tesla thanks to workforce training program

Students and instructors are shown in the advanced manufacturing lab at the Southeast Career and Technical Academy, Wednesday, May 23, 2018.

The high school seniors wore Tesla hats as they operated the various machines inside the Southeast Career Technical Academy’s advanced manufacturing lab in Las Vegas.

Soon, they’ll be working full-time at the Tesla factory in Northern Nevada.

Tesla partnered with the Clark County School District, the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the state community college system to create the Tesla Manufacturing Development Program. It began last year as a pilot program, sending 13 students to employment with the electric vehicle company out of last year’s graduating class.

The Southeast Career and Technical Academy (SECTA), and Mojave and Desert Rose high schools participated in this year’s program.

Proudly displaying their knowledge of the different machines in SECTA’s advanced manufacturing lab, the 15 students in this year’s graduating class signed letters of intent to work for Tesla in a signing ceremony last week. Tesla officials didn’t indicate the salary of its new employees.

“Today is the most exciting day in my entire life,” said Quran Broussard Jr., a senior at Mojave.

“I can’t wait to go to Tesla and do their training, so we can make these things right here,” he added while pointing to a blue Tesla SUV.

The students worked on various functions of the manufacturing industry, including computer programming and design, motherboards and motion control.

To help motivate this year’s crop of students, Tesla hosted a field trip to its gigafactory so they could see the site and hear from the 13 who had already gone through the program.

“It was great. We got to see the factory, which was huge and amazing,” Broussard said. “Everybody seemed to be super happy and nice there. I saw a lot of potential learning experiences there and I can’t wait to take part in them myself.”

Being a fan of tech companies that focus not only on future-forward initiatives but also are environmentally friendly, Broussard said there is no better company to work for, let alone start his career with straight out of high school.

“I really wanted to work for a company like Tesla that is eco-friendly and cares about the environment,” he said. “They worry about how our future is and are working away from using fossil fuels. I can’t wait to help them to work toward the future.”

Tesla has an apartment complex to house the graduates and a shuttle that runs seven days a week transporting employees the 20 miles each way between the complex and the factory.

“We’ve worked with different organizations to reserve housing units up north,” said Chris Reilly, director of Tesla’s workforce and development and education programs. “We work with federal agencies like One Stop and Join to help students with that transition with supportive services.”

The goal is to show that the program is attainable for any student who is interested in starting a career with Tesla, Reilly said.

With the early success in Las Vegas, Reilly is already working to expand the program throughout the state with the intent of bolstering the technology-educated workforce in Nevada. Next year’s crop of students-turned-employees should be five times the size of this year’s, Reilly said.

“Nevada is the get-it-done state and we have honestly seen that from the start,” he said. “When we started working with community colleges, GOED and schools like SECTA, we’re focusing on building programs like this to address that need long term.”