A $200,000 grant from the the Governor’s Office of Science will go toward a new learning tool for those in the construction trades: a virtual reality training facility.
Two new simulators are expected to provide reality-based training for heavy equipment operators. The Nevada Chapter of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) secured the funds as part of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) challenge grant.
“Our industry here is rebounding right now, in a pretty big way,” said Lance Semenko of the Nevada AGC. We need to fill the pipeline of qualified workers. But we are lacking sufficient secondary school curriculum and technical education training to meet the growing demand for skilled workers.”
“The Construction Access Program is being created to meet that demand and will provide construction and mining companies with workers qualified to safely and effectively use heavy construction equipment, one of our most critical needs areas, now and into the future,” Semenko added.
A 1,200 square-foot training classroom will feature two Caterpillar Simformotion heavy equipment simulators, which AGC will provide to students to use as part of a six-week course.
AGC expects that students from ACE Charter High School, Truckee Meadows Community College, Washoe County School District trades curriculum and students from Carson City and Lyon County will use the simulators.
The first classes are expected to begin by late spring 2018.
The ultimate outcome is to provide secondary and post-secondary students, along with older workers needing re-training, access to well-paying employment opportunities in the construction sector, Semenko said.