Labor Market Troubles Looming, Nevada Stands United

Nevada’s current workforce is a scene characterized by dynamic change and dramatic upward mobility. A staggering number of jobs are being created in the Silver State, with thousands of positions ready to be filled by prospective applicants. However, many of these jobs are remaining vacant. It would seem that the number of people who have completed the right training or education for these jobs is paling in comparison to the sheer number of positions that are becoming available.

As Nevada continues the push to expand and diversify its economy, the jobs that are being created are becoming increasingly more specialized, requiring applicants to have completed technical training more specific to the job., effectively narrowing the pool of suitable applicants. Among the professions in Nevada most in need of properly trained workers, the top four include computer systems analysts, licensed nurses, industrial engineers, and industrial machinery mechanics.

One solution to keeping up with this shifting landscape could involve a fundamental change in the way these companies approach the hiring and training processes. The corporate world has long since benefited from the adoption of learning management software which presents training material in a way that encourages feedback, providing a clear picture of how the trainee is progressing at each stage. Upon completion of these programs, there is a pool of hard data from which the company can assess the trainee’s potential future success in that position.

A similar hands-on approach to training can be seen in Nevada’s construction industry today, in which there is no shortage of specialized positions in need of specific recruits. Operators of heavy machinery, for instance, naturally must go through extensive training to ensure that they operate the equipment safely as any small error could result in injury or death. In the past, a forklift operator would only receive hands-on training with heavy equipment after gaining years of experience as a general laborer. Today, The Nevada Chapter of Associated General Contractors is pioneering a new program which will grant recruits the ability to operate these machines fresh out of training. Making this feat possible is a pair of simulators manufactured by Caterpillar, which not only provide a safe, controlled environment in which recruits can gain experience operating this equipment but also give supervisors the chance to see how well the individual will do once out in the field. There is also the hope is that these types of forward-thinking programs might carry the added benefit of attracting a generation of tech-savvy millennials to the job.

One key responsibility many believe to be a crucial component for bridging the gap rests on the shoulders of Nevada’s academic institutions to get students interested in these particular occupations in the first place. In turn, businesses across the state are offering a lending hand in the form of scholarships to these institutions in which students will have the opportunity to gain actual work experience while earning their degrees. Businesses and colleges are also partnering on new longer-term programs, such as the LEAPman Program, which is designed to get students on the path to a career, often beginning as early as high school.

Organizations within Nevada’s governing body are also taking steps toward a solution. The Southern Nevada workforce development board Workforce Connections, along with the LVGEA and the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, are all working together to create the Workforce Blueprint 2.0. This report will describe Nevada’s workforce in detail, shedding light on which positions need to be filled most urgently and by what number of applicants.

There seems to be a consensus among those invested in the state of affairs that the only viable solution will need to be broad and far-reaching in scope and will realistically call for a confluence of efforts from all of Nevada’s major industries toward a common goal. Though it could take some time before these efforts are realized, the state of Nevada certainly isn’t waiting around for any dust to settle before taking action. Those involved in the state’s workforce are working diligently to set the younger generation on the right path today to secure a brighter tomorrow.