Jump into CTE in 2020

Student technician works on wiring.
Rebecca A. Eckland

Career and Technical Education (CTE) is on the rise in Northern Nevada, where manufacturing is the fastest growing industry and local employers are looking for workers who are the result of industry-specific CTE certifications and degree programs. 

This is why you need to check out two events happening at the TMCC William N. Pennington Applied Technology Center this month:  TMCC’s CTE Open House,  happening on February 19 from 6:30–8:30 p.m. and the National CTE Letter of Intent Signing Day, happening February 20 at 4 p.m. 

The Open House Event offers you the opportunity to indulge in free pizza while learning more about TMCC’s programs that are the result of close collaboration between the college and local industries. 

If you’re already committed to following a CTE pathway at TMCC, please RSVP for the CTE Letter of Intent Signing Day to solidify your commitment to one of these amazing career paths.

Whether you’re interested in working with robots, if you love engines or you want a well-paying and stable job in HVAC/R, these two events are the perfect occasion to explore your next career move—or to make your commitment to—one of these exciting industries.

What is CTE Exactly? 

It’s not what it used to be: while students in TMCC’s CTE programs still learn skills specific to automotive, diesel, architecture, construction, machining, welding, HVAC/R; however, these industries are no longer fueled by elbow grease alone. Instead, due to advancements in technology in each, those looking for a career in one of these industries must be tech-savvy, be able to work with their hands and possess an array of soft skills that will enable them to fit into a company’s culture. 

A manufacturing job, for instance, isn’t standing in an assembly line: it’s working with robots and other advanced technologies. HVAC/R technicians don’t just take a heating unit out of a box and install it. These days, HVAC/R systems require extensive set-up and testing that resembles the work of a computer programmer just as much as it is connecting ducts and pipes.

Do you envision yourself as a future welder? Training involves more than holding a wand and donning the protective eye gear. At the CTE Open House, you can experience this kind of training firsthand with our Virtual Welding Machine where you can learn how to make a simple weld without a single spark.

Why Pursue CTE? 

Career and Technical Education can open doors for traditional college students as well as for adults returning to school looking to advance in their current profession or to switch careers entirely. The job market for CTE graduates is promising: in Nevada alone, students can expect to see remarkable growth in these career paths in the next four years. For example, line supervisors, mechanics, installers and repairers will see 1,210 new positions become available while HVAC/R technicians will grow by a projected 1,540 positions.

According to a recent article published in Workspan Magazine, pursuing a technical certificate or degree can be appealing for its quick turnaround (sometimes students can earn a certificate in as little time as one semester) and avoid high tuition costs or taking on student loan debt. 

“So many students drop out of school and they don’t want to do the traditional route of going to a university. Often, they don’t know that CTE programs are available,” said Paul Seybold, Interim Director of TMCC’s Applied Technologies Department. “There’s a huge demand for hands-on skills in today’s market.” 

Additionally, these fields also require not only technical skills, but a variety of “soft skills” such as effective oral and written communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, basic computer aptitude, punctuality, reliability, and the ability to work on a team. 

“There’s this stigma that a skills-based education is ‘lower’ than other traditional educational paths,” said Applied Technologies Instructor Randy Walden. “In reality, there are several high-paying and highly technical jobs waiting for the graduates of these programs. Even apprentices are earning $33 per hour. These workers are a benefit to the region, the city, and the community. These students are ready to work.” 

Pursuing educational pathways in CTE can also be a great way to try a particular field or interest to see if it is a good fit for you before investing in a traditional four-year degree program. “CTE gives you an opportunity to try a field at a much lower cost,” said Walden, who cites the example of electrical engineering, which is typically pursued at a university. The hands-on skills of working with electrical circuits can help students to learn the practical applications behind the theories, and how theories play out in real-life scenarios. 

Another benefit of CTE education? “You can end up with a usable skill when you walk out the door,” said Walden.  

Stop by the CTE Open House on Feb. 19

Bottom line: how will you know until you try? Stop by the CTE Open House for free pizza, snacks, and TMCC-swag while you learn more about these exciting and fast-paced career paths.  And who knows? You could walk away with more than just a degree—you could have a stable career. 

If you’re interested in attending the CTE Open House, RSVP online or call 775-673-8236.

Make Your Commitment to a CTE Pathway Public

If you’ve already made up your mind, we would love for you to attend the National CTE Letter of Intent Signing Day, happening February 20 at 4 p.m.  Be sure to RSVP to save your spot.

To learn more about the Applied Technologies at TMCC, contact the department at 775-856-5300.