RENO, Nev. (Feb. 25, 2016) – The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) and the Washoe County School District (WCSD) Signature Academies and Career & Technical Education (CTE) hosted a tour yesterday of the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center with over 20 middle school leaders and Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) administrators in attendance. These educators play a critical role in helping students develop long-term career goals, advising them about the importance of STEM education, and directing students to appropriate academic choices for future success.

Over the past 10 years, logistics, operations, and manufacturing industries have outpaced tourism, gaming and hospitality industry job growth in Northern Nevada. As companies continue to relocate to the area and existing companies continue to grow, a very different workforce will be required to meet the demand in our community. This changing landscape requires the Washoe County School District, University of Nevada, Truckee Meadows Community College, and Western Nevada College to adjust and align their programs to prepare students for the jobs that will be available in the future, and to deliver graduates ready for new industries.  New collaborative career pathway programs have recently been developed for manufacturing careers and are also being created for logistics. Outreach to industry leaders will play a critical role in helping educators prepare their students for life after graduation. During this week’s tour, middle school leadership teams learned about the skills needed to be successful in current high-demand and future-growth industries. This important step increases WCSD’s understanding of the kinds of skills needed for graduates to enter the future workforce, and will help schools better align classroom practices to real-world career applications.

The group had an opportunity to take a bus tour of TRI Center companies and visit the zulily fulfillment center and the Ardagh Group facility to learn more about the job opportunities and skill sets needed by these employers. zulily an online retailer, offers products for virtually every member of the family, featuring kids and women’s fashion, home décor, clothing, toys and more. Ardagh is a global leader in packaging solutions and locally manufactures metal packaging for products like canned foods and beverages. The next tour is scheduled for April with high school leaders and will focus on growth industries such as manufacturing, logistics & operations, technology, aerospace & defense, and back office support.

“These events are critical to building relationships between school personnel and industry experts,” said Dana Ryan, WCSD’s Director of Signature Academies and CTE. “This helps us to align our curriculum so that students graduate informed and well-prepared with the right skills and knowledge for career and life success. It also gives our school staff members the knowledge they need to talk to students about the opportunities awaiting them in the job market so our children understand the kinds of skills they need to develop.”

“Work like this helps us continue to bridge the gap between schools, businesses, and the community,” said WCSD Superintendent Traci Davis. “I’m grateful to EDAWN, the businesses, and our staff for working so hard to make this happen. This is an opportunity for both education and industry professionals to hear what the other is doing, what each needs, and how we can come together to provide the strongest foundation to grow our education system, our economy, and our community.”

“This is the kind of partnership which will move our schools, businesses, and community forward,” said Dr. Angie Taylor, president of the WCSD Board of Trustees. “Promoting STEM education is a priority for our district, and this represents a great collaborative effort to steer students toward those programs.”

“It is imperative for our school district to understand and align it’s focus on the quality jobs coming to our community,” said Mike Kazmierski, CEO, EDAWN.  “These counselors and administrators now know what exciting new growth is occurring in our region and will be able to better communicate to the students (and their teachers) the amazing job opportunities that await them if they acquire the proper skills. Last year, 50% of the new companies that we assisted in relocating to Northern Nevada were in manufacturing and 18% in e-commerce-distribution. By 2019, we estimate more than 50,000 new jobs will be added to our region,” he said.

A special thanks to zulily, Ardagh Group, and Austin Osborne, Storey County Planning Director for their generosity and time spent with the counselors to help prepare them in providing their students with guidance about job skills, opportunities, and academic choices for planning their future.

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About EDAWN:
The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada is a private/ public partnership established in 1983 committed to adding quality jobs to the region by recruiting new companies, supporting the success of existing companies, and assisting newly forming companies, to diversify the economy and have a positive impact on the quality of life in Greater Reno-Sparks.

About Washoe County School District Signatures and CTE:
WCSD Signature Academy and Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs add value to the high school experience and prepare students for 21st century success. These programs provide rigorous, stimulating curriculum that engages and motivates students; provide opportunities for students to acquire and practice soft skills; and prepare students for success in college, high-skill careers, and life.  To learn more about Washoe County School District Signature Academies and Career and Technical Education (CTE) visit or call 327-3945.

About Washoe County School District:
The Washoe County School District includes the Reno/Sparks metropolitan area, Incline Village, Gerlach, and Wadsworth, Nevada. The District provides each of its 64,000 students with a superior education in a safe and challenging environment and is committed to graduate every child career and college ready. For more information visit: Follow us on Twitter at WCSDTweet.


Valerie Cotta
EDAWN, Manager of Workforce Development