Get the skills for a job in the Reno Nevada area!

We are in a recession!  No, wait.  We are in a recovery!  Our economy is growing! But wait.  Are you thinking, “My situation doesn’t fit with what I hear in the media?”

Of course it doesn’t fit.  The media probably did not interview you and ask how you’re doing.  Why should they?  There’s plenty of economic data coming out of Washington D.C. to report on, and that’s how they sell ad space.  It’s not the media’s job to improve your situation.

Let’s talk about some of the data we keep hearing from various sources and how that affects you.  How can you use the economic data to improve yourself and your family’s situation?

1. Employment is up. Unemployment is down.

Compared to what?  Are they counting the workers who want to work but just gave up looking?  And what about underemployment?

Prior to the “Great Recession”, the Reno-Sparks unemployment rate was hovering somewhere around 4%.  The economy was good; tourism was strong, and economic development was creating jobs.  All of this led to a strong construction industry, which made it easy to find work without investing time and money into an education beyond high school.

Nevada was one of the last states to succumb to the recession, and Nevada was one of the last to recover.  Some question if we have recovered.  In August 2015, four months prior to the writing of this blog, the unemployment rate for Reno-Sparks was right at 6.1% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Unemployment peaked sometime around March 2011 at 13.4% and has slowly but steadily declined since then.  While our labor force did decline during and after the recession, it rebounded to a slightly larger number than it was in January 2008, before the recession.  Today there are close to 230,000 people in the labor force in our market.  Employment is somewhere north of 215,000.  This tells me there are as many 15,000 or more people looking for and eligible to work, and the trend in unemployment data shows jobs are recovering.

2. Employers are looking for qualified applicants and can’t find them. People are looking for work but can’t find the jobs.

Using the numbers cited above, we find slightly less than 15,000 of the labor force is unable to find jobs.  Yet employers say they can’t find qualified applicants to fill the job openings they have.  Does this tell us that there are 15,000 unqualified people looking for work?  My guess is there are more who are simply unaccounted for, but that’s a topic for another discussion.  So are all 15,000 sitting in classrooms in the universities, community colleges and trade schools?  Where are those 15,000, and why are they not connecting with employers who need skilled or trained workers?

There are resources in the community to bridge the gap.  The Federal Government makes funds available to each of the states to invest in worker training programs through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  In Northern Nevada, these dollars are managed by NevadaWorks which allocates portions to various agencies involved in worker training and retraining programs such as Job Connect (, Community Services Agency (, Northern Nevada Literacy Council ( and many more (see  NevadaWorks is responsible for managing what is called an Eligible Training Provider list which can be found at

3. Do you keep hearing some big employers are coming to town, and do you think, “Where are those jobs?”

In the past few years, I have seen more activity than ever in my 30-year history in this town created by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN).  EDAWN has been instrumental in attracting some large and some small companies that are bringing jobs to our community.  EDAWN also works with existing companies to expand business in our market.  This blog doesn’t have the room to discuss the great things EDAWN is doing for our community but you can see a list of what was recently announced at .  These are NEW jobs coming to our area.  What is that going to do to our unemployment rate?  If every one of these jobs gets filled by people from our local labor market (see numbers above) this would cause a 2% reduction right there.  That’s just the most recently announced list.  There are more to come.

So how can you get one of those jobs?  Well, first the companies have to finish construction projects, open facilities, expand the operations, and so forth.  This can take some time, and each business has different timelines to complete.  I can’t speak about the hiring criteria of any of the companies on the list.  But what I hear when I attend Economic Development meetings is that these companies are committed to hiring from the local community first.  Many companies are working with local training providers to develop training programs to meet their specific needs.  Many of those training programs are supplemented by the WIOA monies we discussed earlier.  If you’re eligible for that, I suggest you get involved in training programs so that when employers begin recruiting you’re ready to fill that job as a “Qualified Applicant”. Training seems to make the difference between those who are working and those who are not.

4. Qualified Applicant! What is a “Qualified Applicant”?

Some of these jobs simply require a High School education.  There are approximately 70,000 people in our community who do not possess that basic requirement.  Some may ask “How do I get my GED?”  Northern Nevada Literacy Council ( is there to assist these people with free classes to obtain their High School Equivalency, formerly known as the GED.  Obtaining this High School Equivalency could become a stepping stone to further opportunities.

Career College of Northern Nevada has training programs that can provide the skills needed to obtain entry-level employment in our local market.  These programs are reviewed twice each year by local employers, who provide feedback on the skills taught in classrooms and labs/shops.  If you’re wondering if you are ready to begin training in one of the fields we offer training for, take the Career Readiness Quiz at, or visit our website at where you can get more information on the success of our recent graduates.

The Career College of Northern Nevada (CCNN) is committed to developing competitive professionals who excel in their respective career fields. One component of CCNN’s approach to building career-ready professionals is ensuring that our students are not only exceptional in the workplace, but are also active, informed, and engaged citizens. That’s why CCNN is committed to instilling an understanding of and appreciation for the processes and institutions that inform our government at the federal, state, and local levels. This understanding is an essential part of the CCNN experience, and helps to prepare CCNN students to succeed in the workplace, and to contribute as participants in their communities.

Recently, a group of CCNN students, representing multiple programs, showed their civic pride and patriotism by attending a U.S. Naturalization Ceremony, held at the U.S. District Courthouse in Reno. U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie Cooke presided over the ceremony, and spent a few minutes talking with CCNN students while friends and family of America’s newest citizens celebrated. During the special event, more than 50 individuals representing more than 20 different nations took the oath of allegiance and became proud U.S. citizens. This special occasion was especially meaningful because one of the new U.S. Citizens was a CCNN student currently enrolled in the Medical Assistant program!

The Naturalization Ceremony offered CCNN students in attendance, who are all currently enrolled in a U.S. and Nevada Constitutions course, the opportunity to see first-hand each branch of their government at work. President Obama had prepared a special video greeting for the ceremony in which he highlighted the important role immigrants have played in shaping America’s history. President Obama encouraged each new citizen to be active participants in the democratic process and congratulated them on their achievement.

In addition, each of Nevada’s U.S. Senators, Senator Harry Reid and Senator Dean Heller, as well as U.S. Representative Mark Amodei, also sent special messages congratulating the new citizens, and the Washoe County Registrar was on-hand to assist them with registering to vote. With the participation of Judge Valerie Cooke, the ceremony included each of the three branches of U.S. Government, and helped to illustrate how citizen engagement is at the very heart of America’s democracy.

The CCNN students who were able to attend the naturalization ceremony had the chance to interact with Nevada’s leaders and see first-hand how the institutions that support our systems of government operate, and how they benefit everyday Americans. This is a great example of CCNN preparing informed citizens equipped with the tools and experiences to make a positive difference in their communities.
CCNN is immensely proud of each of the students who took time out of their day to attend the event and show support for their colleague. Way to go, team!

CCNN is NOW Enrolling for the following upcoming classes:

Diploma Programs

Associate of Occupational Studies Programs

Career College of Northern Nevada classes are taught by experienced, caring instructors dedicated to providing you the knowledge, skills and attention you need to succeed.

If you’re searching for a new career or are simply looking to advance in your current field, then this career training school may be the perfect option for you.

We recently attended an economic development presentation hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. The discussion centered on solving the skills gap in our local market. It’s estimated that 11% of businesses believe that recent college graduates are prepared for work. Interestingly, 35% of those graduates believe they are prepared.

What does it take to be prepared? Who is responsible for what it takes?

If I was considering further education or career training I would want those answers. I’m not sure there’s a single answer though. Every career field is different. Just within the medical field there are differences in training requirements for various jobs. A doctor attends university level training in stages. First he has to earn a Bachelor degree to learn how to learn. Then several years of medical school after that to learn the mechanics of science and medicine. After that he has to do a residency where he gets a chance to apply what he learned in a learning/employment setting. And for the rest of his career he has to keep learning as new research develops new techniques to perform his job.

If you want to train to be a nurse it may not take as long but there is a similar process. Go to school to learn the nursing profession, the language, the biology. Then you do your ‘residency’ to validate your training. Then you apply for a job. Are you ready? According to studies, 89% of employers may not think so.

Career College of Northern Nevada uses a similar approach in the Medical Assistant training program and Pharmacy Technician training programs. You go to school for an even shorter time frame and capstone the training with an externship at the end. The externship is a class that is graded like any other class in the allied health training program, but it’s not held on campus. It is held in a real world employment setting. This course gives an employer an opportunity to judge your job readiness. The employer’s feedback is used in determining the grade earned for that course.

So what does it take to be ready for a Medical Assistant job or a Pharmacy Technician job? Employers tell us they want an employee to be confident and ready to step in. Employers have limited resources and don’t have time to waste waiting for an employee to become productive. In the medical fields patient care is critical. Patients don’t have the patience to wait for the practitioner to become confident. That is why we attempt to set up real world experiences in our classrooms and labs. Our labs are designed to simulate the job site so the students can practice in real world settings and become confident before we send them to an externship.

In the 1950s employers were responsible for providing job training. In the 1980s the responsibility was outsourced to community colleges and vocational technical schools. In today’s job market it is the responsibility of the employee to be well trained. If you want to work as a Medical Assistant or Pharmaceutical Technician because you care about people, consider beginning your training with Career College of Northern Nevada. Our teachers have been where you want to be and have a passion for healthcare.

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