In the grips of a recession back in the early part of this decade, the U.S. Department of Labor enlisted Western Nevada College — and other community colleges nationwide — to develop work-training programs as a catalyst to improve the economy.
Through funding from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant, WNC was able to develop and expand multiple skilled labor training programs for students to spur employment growth and support the needs of local/regional industry. These programs included industry trades, advanced manufacturing, computer networking and medical services.
But that funding is coming to an end.
The fourth-and-final round of TAACCCT funding will end on Sept. 30, leaving behind a high rate of student certification/credential success, equipment upgrades, safer education options for students and successful job placement.
In all, WNC was able to serve 776 students through three rounds of TAACCCT funding and there was an average of $8,300 spent per student during their involvement with specific training programs, according to TAACCCT grant project director Gregory Sly.
More than 90 percent of students completed training requirements and earned at least one credential or certification, Sly said. Moreover, these students found jobs quickly or decided to continue their education.
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During the final round of funding, which totaled $4,406,143 and began in October 2014, the TAACCCT Grant expanded WNC’s nursing program to the Fallon campus, including a full-time nursing instructor and Certified Nursing Assistant instruction. This enabled students in this rural area to avoid relocation or the dangers of long-distance commuting. Sixteen students participated in the rural nursing program through the help of the grant, with six graduating in May.
In addition to nursing, TAACCCT funding assisted WNC’s accelerated programs in machine tool technology and welding technology, as well as the CNA certification. During this time, 393 students participated in these programs with a 96 percent completion rate, according to Sly.
Additionally, Round 4 funding paid for consumable supplies and equipment, some training for staff, consultants for grant project evaluation, database design/access and wage data placement information access. Funds were used to pay for grant management staff, student advisement in CTE and Certified Nursing Assistant programs, job placement services, teaching assistants for accelerated welding and MTT programs, instructors for added courses and accelerated programs as well. TAACCCT also funded the Veterans Resource Centers at three colleges.
As the lead college for Nevada overseeing the TAACCCT Round 4 Project, WNC sub-awarded funds to Truckee Meadows Community College and Great Basin College.
The TAACCCT funds provided WNC with the opportunity to modernize several labs and offer accelerated programs designed to meet industry needs.
Moving forward, WNC’s Career and Technical Education division will budget for equipment maintenance. Professionals within the division will continue to explore scheduling options for students to gain education and hands-on skills required for certification. Because industry certifications provide a common assessment of acquired skills, these certifications are used for screening and selection of potential employees, professional development and promotion within an organization.
“WNC’s CTE division thanks the Department of Labor for providing the grant funding allowing modernization to the extent that would not have been possible without this level of funding,” said WNC CTE Director Dr. Georgia White. “The TAACCCT grant impacted not just individuals but the entire region by providing skilled talent to support economic development.”