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Grant could help Great Basin College jumpstart workforce

A new grant will allow select students at Great Basin College to get certified for in-demand jobs at nearly no cost.

The Supporting and Advancing Nevada’s Dislocated Individuals (SANDI) Grant gives community colleges in Nevada funding to pay for students’ certification. It’s part of an overall $13.8 million grant that is directed to recovering the workforce that was lost due to the pandemic.

The unemployment rate in Nevada ballooned to 28% in April 2020 during the peak of the pandemic shutdown. The rate has yet to return to its pre-pandemic 3.8% level, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor. Great Basin College applied for the grant aimed at building back employment and was selected to receive a total of $500,000 to go directly to students.

“This was amazing, because it was specific to get people into the workforce as quickly as possible. Antonio Villalobos, GBC career navigator said. “A lot of people think, ‘I don’t have the time.’ ‘Life is too hard.’ You know, ‘I gotta be there two, three, four years.’ These are certified classes that are 15 weeks or less and they can get into the field.”

The funding is designated to assist dislocated and underemployed workers by modernizing Nevada’s workforce. This expands remote access to accelerated training for in-demand occupations using a digital platform by offering paid-for programs through the community colleges.

Great Basin College has five campuses across Nevada, including a site in Pahrump.

Great Basin College is offering future students in Nye County the opportunity to get certified and jump into the workforce. The college has been enrolling students and if the demand in the community is high, the college would respond by opening up more slots for the programs, that include: certified nursing assistant (CNA), two emergency medical technician (EMT) programs, data analyst, Python developer and millwright.

“Thanks to the generosity of the funding, we were able to get $500,000 and then be able to spend it completely on the students,” Villalobos said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

He’s excited to see the funding to the community back into the workforce, as the funding will allow a wide range of the community to qualify to get their certification paid for or nearly fully paid for.

“Out of all the students that we’ve had apply, more than 90 percent were eligible,” Villalobos said. “We can tell you within two to three days if you’re eligible.”

The college is pushing applicants to apply for the summer semester, but even more classes are offered in the fall semester. They have other programs pending, like welding certification, compTIA certification, and a mining focused program.

Applicants must be Nevada residents, a U.S. citizen, and fall into four categories: dislocated workers, underemployed or not employed, new job seekers and limited English proficient adults.

Once a student is eligible for the Sandi scholarship, their tuition and lab fees associated with the class will be paid for. There may be fees that may be associated with some programs. The Python and the data analyst program are completely covered. For the CNA or EMT programs, the program will still pay for the classes, textbooks, fees and up to $100 worth of uniforms and equipment, but health insurance and immunizations are not covered.

“We’re here to serve the students and the community,” Villalobos said. “… With the demand, we can look at this in a whole different way and see what they need, when they want it, and then try to accommodate.”

For more information, visit www.gbcnv.edu. For the application, click here, or email Antonio Villalobos for any questions at antonio.villalobos@gbcnv.edu.

Contact Jimmy Romo at jromo@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jimi_writes on Twitter.

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