The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) voted on May 18 to approve the next phase of funding that will support a new training program to prepare students for jobs at Tesla, Inc.
“The new equipment will be beneficial for students and key to advancing the region’s workforce,” said Barbara Walden, Technical Sciences Director. “It’s high-tech—it’s going to be awesome.”
The funds are provided by the Workforce Innovation for the New Nevada (WINN), a state account set up in 2015 that allows GOED to develop training programs for emerging industries. Phase Three of the GOED’s Northern Nevada Advanced Manufacturing Initiative brings more than $1.1 million to Truckee Meadows Community College and Western Nevada College.
TMCC’s share of the funding package is more than $940,000. Funds will enable scholarships, equipment, and personnel support.
“Phase one and two of the WINN funds were designed to provide entry level skills for workers new to high-tech manufacturing, and phase three will upskill workers for high-level technician positions,” Walden said. “It’s designed to meet Tesla’s needs, but skillsets will be very applicable to other manufacturers in the region.”
Kyle Dalpe, Interim Dean of Technical Sciences, agrees.
“The new grant will also provide sophisticated equipment to support Industry 4.0 planning in our region,” he added. “Students will be learning about robotic and automated equipment that enable technicians to do less repetitive tasks and more critical thinking.”
Industry 4.0 is a concept that originated in Germany and is now recognized globally as representing the progress of networked systems and computerization in manufacturing. It includes robotics, sensors, networking of machines, and cloud-based servers. In applying the concept of Industry 4.0 to Nevada, training programs are addressing the needs of companies as technology that employees use becomes more programmable.
The Gigafactory Training Gateway
The new program is entitled the Gigafactory Training Gateway, an employment credential that will prepare students interested in working at Tesla, and help to advance current production associates wishing to progress into higher level positions.
Coursework is offered in a flexible training format, allowing students to work through modules at their own pace, an open-entry format. They may still work in their existing jobs while completing the new credential. Hands-on lab-based learning will also better prepare students for real-world application of their new skills.
The training program has two parts. Technician, Part One consists of nine credits; and Technician, Part Two is six additional credits. The program includes topics such as:
- Electrical and electronic circuits
- Automated production concepts
- Fluid power; pneumatics and hydraulics
- Alternating Current (AC) controls
- Programmable logic controllers (PLCs)
Up to 250 technician training scholarships are available for qualifying participants at TMCC to the Gigafactory Training Gateway program. Qualifying applicants will be awarded up to nine credits plus the admission fee for the Technician, Part One sequence, and those who successfully complete the program will receive a scholarship for the Technician, Part Two coursework.
Students do not need to buy textbooks for the program, materials are provided.
About the Governor’s Office of Economic Development
The GOED was formed in 2011 to promote a diversified economy, grow businesses, attract new companies, and encourage entrepreneurship.
“Through this effort, a core group of advanced manufacturers, including Tesla, Panasonic North America, Faraday Future, Clasen Quality Coatings, Click Bond Inc., Pacific Cheese, and Ardagh Group, along with TMCC and Western Nevada College will begin a phased approach to establish Nevada as leader in the nation for Industry 4.0 Certifications that will be centered on advanced robotics, autonomous transport, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cyber security,” according to a May 18 GOED press release.
Training Program Information
Production technician positions in advanced manufacturing facilities are greatly in-demand, Walden said.
“The skills taught in our advanced manufacturing and automation program are needed by many employers in the region in addition to Tesla and Panasonic,” Walden added. “This program creates many opportunities for jobs in Northern Nevada.”
Credits earned in the program can also be applied to the next level credential of a one-year Certificate of Achievement and the two-year Associate of Applied Science degree.
Previous GOED funding of $475,000 in January and March supports the Panasonic Preferred Pathway (P3) at TMCC.