New Apprenticeship Programs Approved

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Apprentice and Student Image

Instructor assistant Jack Sato at the TMCC William N. Pennington Applied Technology Center.

Two new Nevada’s Apprenticeship Project programs are beginning at Truckee Meadows Community College, adding opportunities for students of any age to earn while they learn.

“We are excited to offer these apprenticeship programs and continue to build pathways for residents to train for careers in our emerging economy,” said J. Kyle Dalpe, PhD, Interim Dean of Technical Sciences at TMCC and a member of the State Apprenticeship Council.

The Production Operator and Workforce Development Specialist apprenticeship programs were approved by the state of Nevada in January. They are added to the first three programs already in place: Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Industrial Maintenance Mechanic, and Machine Operator.

“Apprenticeships align well with Governor Sandoval’s vision of workforce systems,” said Cheryl Olson, Program Director. “All of the apprenticeship programs fall under the state’s regulatory authority, while there is still some federal funding assistance.”

TMCC Nevada’s Apprenticeship Project collaborates with U.S. Department of Labor Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDB) to place employees for the work part of the earn and learn programs. The LWDB partners are Nevadaworks in the north half of the state, and Workforce Connections in the southern-most counties.

About 530–600 apprentices are, and will be participating in the five apprenticeship programs. The first three programs represent about 100 of the apprenticeship job positions.

Production Operator

“There are about 400 to 450 employee apprentice positions in the Production Operator program, and students will be employees of Panasonic Corporation—they’ll be taking the Panasonic Preferred Pathway (P3) courses but the difference is that they do the coursework as an employee,” Olson said.

The Production Operator apprenticeship takes about one year to complete, and employees’ responsibilities and pay increase as they progress through the program. Employees will work regular full-time, 12-hour shifts and take module-based courses at their own speed, on days off.

“Our labs are open seven days a week,” she added. “The skills progression helps them develop. It allows the apprentices to get into a Panasonic job before completing the entire P3 program.”

Panasonic is actively hiring hundreds of employees to work at the Gigafactory that is located in Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center (TRIC) east of Reno and Sparks.

“This will open the doors for a lot more people to become a production operator,” she said.

Workforce Development Specialist

The other new apprenticeship program, representing about 30 positions, is Workforce Development Specialist.

“Workforce Development Specialists are the people that help individuals get training or get jobs,” Olson said. “They need to learn about and develop a good understanding of the Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act, commonly called WIOA, because that Act funds and supports job re-training and supportive services for workers.”

This apprenticeship program also takes about one year to complete, and apprentices are full-time employees placed in jobs during the training courses.

“A traveling instructor will lead training seminars and give online homework to the apprentices,” Olson said. “He is a consultant of the Department of Labor.”

Wages and job responsibilities will also increase during the course of the program. The training is not tied to specific semester begin and end dates, apprentices will begin as they are hired.

“This is one of the first workforce development specialist apprenticeship programs in the nation, and people trained in this field will be increasingly needed across the U.S.,” she added. “About 600 total jobs are being created, and that’s a great achievement.”

Other Apprenticeship Programs

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Industrial Maintenance Mechanic, and Machine Operator apprenticeship programs have started, but there are still spots available.

For more information about the Nevada’s Apprenticeship Project, please contact Cheryl Olson at 775-856-5304, or to apply for an apprenticeship, call Apprenticeship Navigator Lauren Gatto at 775-856-5327.