Northern Nevada has asked the question whether colleges can fill the rapidly growing workforce education needs of the region, and Truckee Meadows Community College has answered with a purposeful “yes” and two bachelor's degree programs.
The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents approved on June 12 two new Bachelor of Applied Science degrees to be offered by TMCC starting in the Fall Semester of 2016. The programs are:
- Bachelor of Applied Science, Logistics Operations Management
- Bachelor of Applied Science, Emergency Management and Homeland Security – Public Safety
“To me, the role of a community college is to be responsive, and to be responsive as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Maria Sheehan, President of TMCC. “That’s our role, that’s our responsibility. And that’s the exciting part – when you can do something that is responsive, that’s going to address certainly jobs for the future and economic revitalization.”
Jane Nichols, retiring Vice President of Academic Affairs and former NSHE Chancellor agrees.
"Offering applied baccalaureate degrees is an historic advance for both TMCC and the region because students will now have an opportunity to pursue specific workforce objectives in two bachelor's programs which meet industry needs,” said Nichols. "These programs further the mission of TMCC to provide an accessible and affordable higher education to residents which leads to well-paying jobs. When graduates are prepared for jobs which fulfill their aspirations and career dreams, everyone benefits."
The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) says that it is completing work to welcome 140 new companies to the region, 52 percent in the manufacturing sector according to its EPIC economic impact study.
Dan Oster, industrial properties specialist and senior vice president at NAI Alliance, works with companies moving to the area, and hears feedback that they’re looking for a trained, experienced workforce.
“There’s an absolute tsunami of opportunities coming,” said Oster. “In the next five years, EDAWN has registered 51,000 jobs – those are folks who have applied for economic development and training dollars associated with coming here. The impact of that workforce surge is going to become the primary economic challenge of the next three to five years. And that’s why we need this program.”
Logistics Operations Management prepares grads to work in supply chain and planning
TMCC is the only college in Nevada that will offer a bachelor’s degree in logistics.
“We fulfill TMCC’s mission of lifelong learning by providing a four-year degree option for people in the community already working in this field who haven’t been able to move up in their career without the bachelor’s degree,” said Marie Murgolo-Poore, PhD, Dean of the Business Division. “Logistics students have not had an option to continue to bachelor’s studies in Nevada, and we want to keep these talented students in the state.”
Lt. Colonel Neil Oscarson, State Training Officer with the Nevada Army National Guard agrees.
“The gap that we have right now that we’ve recognized locally is that we have a lot of folks who can work in industry at the operating level and we have the senior leadership of the organizations, but our challenge is keeping our local talent local and the entry-level management positions,” said Oscarson. “The barrier to entry is a four-year degree, specifically in logistics management.”
Michael Pender, Managing Director of Porous Power Technologies said that the region is a distribution hub.
“Distribution and logistics are key to so many industries that are here now and industries that are coming,” said Pender. “You have to move things, and the movement of things is all about applied logistics.”
Murgolo-Poore defines the study of logistics as getting the right materials to the right place at the right time at the correct price, and says that it is a vital part of every company engaged in manufacturing.
“Companies bring in raw materials for the manufacturing process, and then after production, either distribute to wholesalers, retailers, or directly to the business end user in a business to business environment,” said Murgolo-Poore. “The vast majority of the price you pay for any item is greatly determined by the cost of logistics, so making the logistics process as efficient as possible is extremely important.”
Representatives from industry serve on a very active Advisory Board that provides a direct channel to information concerning workforce needs in this sector and input on curriculum and desired program outcomes.
“We have a strong Advisory Board,” she said. “The call came from industry, for what their needs are, what is missing. There’s been a great demand for an applied, hands-on bachelor’s degree. Industry likes to work with us, because we can make things happen quickly.”
Graduates will be prepared in these areas of supply chain and logistics:
- Manufacturing processes
- Procurement (purchasing)
- Quality principles
- Operations planning
- Operations control
TMCC’s existing Logistics Management and Operations Systems associate degrees are feeder programs for the new bachelor’s degree.
“We have a lot of industries coming here, manufacturing, logistics support centers, distribution centers coming here to Nevada, and we have to be in a position to offer them something to make sure that those young, entry-level employees have an ability to grow in the organizations, and they keep their talent within their own companies,” said Alvin Bolton, Battalion Commander, Nevada Army National Guard.
The BAS-EMHS degree prepares grads in handling crises and terrorism
“In discussion with the Chief of Nevada’s Division of Emergency Management, there are likely thousands of jobs in Nevada alone where emergency management is a substantial part of or identified as a collateral duty within public and private employment job descriptions,” according to the NSHE Academic Program Proposal form.
Aaron Kenneston, Certified Emergency Manager at Washoe County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program said that there is an urgent need for this degree.
“I am very excited about the Emergency Management and Homeland Security 4-year degree,” said Kenneston. “As a practitioner in the field I can tell you that the emergency management profession needs college-educated candidates. Today’s increasingly more complex and technology-driven world requires skill sets that were not even considered 10 or 20 years ago. The emergency management office of the 21 century requires a mix of people with practical experience and critical thinkers educated in our college system.”
Emergency Management is preparation for, mitigation (easing of), and response to natural and manmade disasters. Homeland Security is the practice of securing our national interests and safety of the nation, including the public, said Darryl Cleveland, Director of Public and Occupational Safety at TMCC, and a founding member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He said Emergency Management and Homeland Security are subject areas that go hand in hand.
“Emergency Management and Homeland Security are practices, much like medicine is a practice,” said Cleveland. “In building this program, our job is not to reach for the stars in teaching the foundation, but to put students’ feet on the ground with solid training and let them reach for the star they choose.”
Students will learn how to best manage and mitigate large-scale crises, and how to write and carry out emergency plans for government agencies, and in the private sector at companies such as Tesla Motors or Switch.
Kevin Schaller, Emergency Management Programs Manager at Nevada Division of Emergency Management said that in addition to the skill sets students will gain in emergency management, natural resource and environmental protection to support local and state agencies, they will also be trained for positions in for-profit companies.
“There is a growing demand in the private sector for individuals with skills that address organizational security and continuity of operations,” Schaller said. “There are a number of national and international standards pertaining to business continuity which are highly interchangeable with a number of concepts in the core curriculum in this new program.”
Upon graduation, students will be prepared to work in fields such as safety and security of critical infrastructure, including:
- Public transportation
- Water supply
- Power grid
- Communication networks
- Continuation of business in crises, such as power outages
- Intellectual property protection
- Cyber security
- Border security
Students interested in the Bachelor of Applied Science will come from those already in the field as first responders, the military, and graduates of associate degree programs in Emergency Medical Services and Fire Technology at TMCC and Emergency Management Administration at College of Southern Nevada (CSN). Those in the criminal justice programs are also eligible to pursue the degree.
“We’ll expand recruitment to the folks in public health, public works, and even those in the nursing field,” Cleveland said.
TMCC will be the first college in Nevada to offer a bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
Students will complete two internships: one in Emergency Management and one in Homeland Security.
“Nevada Division of Emergency Management and the Washoe County Office of Emergency Management are excited about the two internships included in the B.A.S. curriculum,” Cleveland said.
A master’s degree program in Crisis and Emergency Management is taught at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
“Students from this (bachelor’s) degree program will have a clear path to graduate education if they so choose,” said Kenneston. “So, the profession has a need and this new TMCC program will provide educated, motivated graduates to fill the need. It sounds like a ‘win-win.’”
“We’re building a huge network across the U.S. of folks that are excited to work with us, to teach in the program, or take the program as a student,” Cleveland said.
For more information about Logistics Operations Management, contact the Business Division at 775-673-7132. For Emergency Management and Homeland Security degree details, contact the Emergency Medical Services Department 775-336-4270.