A Pathway Back to Employment
Having been in the workforce development business for almost 25 years, when the pandemic hit, FIT anticipated that massive unemployment was around the corner. With the closing of all business except that deemed essential, more and more employers laid off and furloughed staff. The hospitality industry was especially devastated. Its shutdown left lower and mid-level employees without jobs, without any idea of a job to which they could transition, and even more devastatingly, without any training to transition into alternative employment if they could identify it. FIT created this program to offer a way back to employment.
We began by research identifying what transferrable skills those furloughed or otherwise unemployed southern Nevadans might possess that could transition into a different job sector. From there, we identified new job sectors, not the same old jobs in the stumbling economy, but new areas in needs of qualified employees.
We then identified accredited vocational programs of secondary education offering education leading to industry recognized credentials and employment in the new job sectors. If we could not find such a program, we created one, frequently in conjunction with an employer. We secured accreditation of that curriculum both from the accrediting institution and the Nevada Commission on Post-Secondary Education and, if appropriate, the Nevada State Board of Nursing.
In all of this, we were creating new pathways back to employment and self-sufficiency for displaced southern Nevadans. Specifically, the new job sectors and accreditation include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Automotive Technology. This 4-month course, created in conjunction with a Nevada employer, enables students to acquire ASE certifications and ultimately employment as an Automotive Technician. This is a high paying job on a very strong career ladder.
• Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). This 6-week program leads into a final week of externship at a local healthcare facility. Graduates achieve certification through the Nevada State Board of Nursing as Certified Nursing Assistants and employment on this career ladder.
• Certified Logistics Associate/Certified Logistics Technician (CLA/CLT). With many manufacturing plants being constructed in the southern Nevada area, this is a growing demand job sector. Graduates earn certifications and are prepared to enter the manufacturing and warehouse workplace.
• Forklift Operation. Through this course, the student will achieve their forklift operator's license. This is in much demand as we see our economy beginning to rebuild and construction demands growing.
• Certified Long Distance Truck Driver (CDL-A). Through this 4-week course, students not only acquire a learner's permit for their CDL-A license, but ultimately the license itself. Including both traditional classroom education and behind the wheel experience, this curriculum leads to employment with a local employer, filling the needs of our workplace and economy as well as employing the student on a strong career ladder.