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Dream It Do It Nevada program featured on 60 Minutes

The increasingly large number of jobs available in manufacturing was a problem featured on a recent 60 Minutes. According to the report, as many as 500,000 manufacturing jobs are currently unfilled because employers can’t find qualified workers. The story focused on Nevada, the state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation.

A company featured in the report, Click Bond, makes fasteners that are used in aviation, on ships and on trains. Like many manufacturing jobs today, machines perform much of the work at that factory, but people are needed to program them, fix them when they become broken and perform quality control.

The Head of Strategic Initiatives at Click Bond said that the skills gap at his company was mainly entry level. He said Click Bond was having difficulty finding workers who could construct a sentence. Given that Click Bond deals in precision in its product, he said resumes that showed a number of errors in writing weeded out potential candidates.

Nevada had an unemployment rate of 14.9 percent in 2010 — the highest in the country (it’s currently at 11.8 percent). The solution that some manufacturers in Nevada found was to forget relying on the education system to turn out employable workers and instead to partner with community colleges to offer programs to train workers who were receiving unemployment benefits.

This fast-track training program has connected more than 30 Nevadans with employment as Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Operators with northern Nevada manufacturers.

First implemented at Western Nevada College in January, Dream It Do It Nevada connected more than a dozen employers with skilled workers through collaboration with the Nevada workforce and higher education systems.

Right Skills Now was created by the Manufacturing Institute and equips individuals with 25 hours of college credit towards an advanced degree, five nationally portable and industry-recognized credentials, and work experience through a paid internship. Nevada is the first state to successfully implement this model.

The program teaches skills that introduce the workers to the machines found in today’s manufacturers and other skills like how to run manufacturing computers and read blueprints, and learn trigonometry.

Also featured on the news segment was Alcoa, a manufacturer that’s been hiring skilled labor since 1888. Today Alcoa makes parts that increase efficiency in jet engines by 5o percent. The problem at Alcoa is finding skilled labor. It has resolved to train its own employees in the skills they need to succeed with the manufacturer.

Both employers highlighted the significant wages that employees can get once they become skilled workers, an idea that students graduating high school without a clear career path might take into account.

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