Humanities Series: Nevada’s Changing Workforce

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Dusty Wunderlich Image

Economist and entrepreneur Dusty Wunderlich is a featured presenter for the Humanities Speaker Series at TMCC.

The second in this year’s Humanities Speaker Series will focus on the connection between how a two-year or a four-year academic degree fits into the changing workforce in Nevada—whether the extra price tag of a university degree will serve students well in the evolving job market.

Free market economist and entrepreneur Dusty Wunderlich was such a well-attended and positively-received speaker at the first Series event in September, the Humanities Department asked him to return this spring. For this talk he will speak about the economics of degrees and the increasing value of a community college degree in Nevada’s changing workforce.

The Humanities Speaker Series event will take place at Truckee Meadows Community College on April 20. Students and members of the community are invited to “Nevada Workforce, the Humanities and a Future without Expensive Student Loans.” The presentation is free and open to the public.

  • When: Thursday, April 20, 6-7 p.m.
  • Where: Sierra Bldg., room 108, Dandini Campus, 7000 Dandini Blvd.

“We started the Humanities Speaker Series in 2015,” said Thomas Cardoza, PhD, Humanities Department Chair. “This will be the fourth in the series. We try to do one speaker per year at least, preferably one each semester.”

The first presentation this academic year addressed the importance of critical thinking, creativity, lifelong learning, and other skills that students can achieve through studying humanities in college.

“Nevada Workforce, the Humanities and a Future without Expensive Student Loans”

Nevada’s workforce is rapidly changing as major manufacturing firms, technology companies and logistics operation centers move in. Entrepreneurship is on the decline nationwide and is especially sparse in rural areas such as Northern Nevada, Wunderlich said.

In his presentation, Wunderlich will explain how students may consider the economic indicators and make informed decisions about education to best establish a successful future.

“Students at community college campuses may be gaining an advantage to those with four-year degrees at this point in time,” he said. “It’s important for our future workforce to match their education to the actual needs in our economy. Right now, the biggest gaps in the workforce are among skills that can be developed and honed right here.”

Wunderlich grew his career in private equity before beginning his own company more than three years ago. He founded Bristlecone Holdings™ in Reno, a high-growth financial technology company that employs a staff of nearly 50. He recently released news that he will be leaving the company and beginning a new project to be announced.

From the success of Bristlecone he has developed a keen understanding of the economy and first-hand insight into hiring for tech jobs in the region that informs much of his platform on education.

“Dusty is part of a growing trend of experts urging students and educators for matching education supply to the demands of a changing job market,” said TMCC and University of Nevada, Reno Professor Blakely Hume. “We’re lucky to have such an informed activist making specific sense of this topic within the context of Nevada’s market.”

Wunderlich will discuss economic data as it relates to the growing importance of humanities and skills in today’s job market, as well as the advantages community colleges and certificate programs can provide, as compared with four-year degrees.

For more information about the Humanities Speaker Series, or the Humanities Department at TMCC, please call 775-674-7945.