STEM Workforce Challenge Grant Round I
100 North Stewart Street, Suite 220
Carson City, Nevada 89701
Telephone: (775) 687-0989
The purpose of the STEM Workforce Challenge Grant is to spark the creation of lasting partnerships between industry and workforce training providers. These partnerships must result in the identification of STEM-specific skills needed by employers in Nevada and the creation of programs that provide the education and skills training to workers that match the needs of employers, are aligned with present and future labor market information (LMI) needs in Nevada, and are sustainable after grant funds have been exhausted. Proposed projects should provide training for and develop the STEM-specific, in-demand skills of incumbent or displaced workers and/or traditional postsecondary students (18-24), leading to new or improved employment opportunities in Nevada.
Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) will partner with Switch, Inc. to develop a new training program for data center engineering technicians in anticipation of workforce demands created by Switch’s new SuperNAP site in northern Nevada. Graduates will be trained in operations and maintenance of commercial heating and cooling systems. TMCC received a grant award of $149,435 that will facilitate the acquisition of training equipment and simulators for the TMCC Applied Technologies Center and for the development of the new curriculum. Additionally, Switch will donate a cooling tower to TMCC so that students can work with the same equipment in the lab they would at Switch and will provide training to TMCC faculty. Graduates of this program will be qualified to work for a variety of industries including advanced manufacturing, distribution and healthcare. Data from the Governor's Office of Economic Development shows that workers with these skills earn a median hourly wage of $22.58. Specific project outcomes include:
- Installation of one commercial cooling tower for training at the TMCC Applied Technologies Center.
- Acquisition of three commercial-grade heating and cooling systems and three training simulators for the TMCC HVAC/R lab.
- Completion of faculty training and an externship at the sites of industry partners.
- Development of new courses and course content based on the advice of industry partners leading to a new AAS degree emphasis.
- First students enroll in Fall of 2016.
Western Nevada College (WNC) received a grant award of $150,000 to build a Mechatronics Training Center and implement the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program, creating the only Siemens certified training center in the western United States. Training will focus on advanced automated systems used in advanced manufacturing. Grant funding will be used to purchase equipment and fund instructor training by Siemens. The program will cover fields of electricity, mechanics, fluid power, and programmable logic controllers while also teaching important skills for advanced manufacturing including project management, process management and optimization, cost controlling, safety, and effective teamwork. Students may graduate at one of two levels: Level 1 trains students to understand the full system, the components of the system and each device's role within the system and how to keep the system running at maximum capacity. Level 2 emphasizes systems management, investigation, repair, and troubleshooting. A recent study by the Brookings Institution found that the jobs requiring STEM skills and training less than a bachelor's degree pay on average $53,000 compared to $33,000 per year for non-STEM jobs requiring similar a similar level of education. Specific project outcomes include:
- Expanding and remodeling WNC's campus to house the WNC Mechatronics Training Center (paid for with matching funds from the WNC Foundation).
- Purchasing the Advanced Mechatronics System (AMS), a training system fully aligned with the Siemens training program.
- Developing Mechatronics curriculum and integrating best practices from Siemens. This will include WNC faculty participating in Siemens-specific training.
- Marketing and recruiting students, enrolling an initial class for Fall of 2016. WNC estimates 40-60 students will enroll during the first semester and extended lab hours will allow WNC to reach 200 students per year.
Nevada State College (NSC) received a grant award of $35,540 to increase the number of STEM teachers in rural Nevada. Rural postsecondary students will be able to complete their teaching degree online, via distance education. Funding from the grant will be used to convert traditional courses into an online and interactive video format, and for the purchase of specialized camera equipment. Students with a STEM-related associate's degree will be eligible to participate in this special program designed to equip them with the skills necessary to teach math and science in the classroom. The plan is supported by rural school district superintendents in Lyon, Storey, Churchill, Carson City and Douglas counties. NSC will begin recruiting students to start the program in July, 2016.