With the ongoing need for trained IT employees in northern Nevada – the opening of the Reno Technology Academy bringing the ability to earn an IT certification in a semester or two couldn’t have come at a better time.
Steve Andreano, Director of Technology Programs, explained the simple but pivotal mission of Reno Technology Academy.
“We want to create an education system for people in northern Nevada to come, get an education that will allow them to be qualified for positions in the growing technology industry and apply for those positions,” he said.
The Academy functions under the license of Multnomah University out of Portland, Ore., which also has a location in Reno. The Academy got its start after Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval announced he wanted to expand educational opportunities that would positively impact Nevada’s jobs and industry.
“At that time, there was no career, technical-focused school offering industry certifications in the area, so our director volunteered us to take part in the technology section of that development,” Andreano said.
Phil Holland, Development Consultant, echoed the need for a trade and skills training organization in northern Nevada that, at the same time, also helps to fill a need for qualified technological workers in our region.
“I think what Steve is trying to accomplish is very helpful for the community and fills a void that has been here for a long time and for that reason I wanted to come here,” Holland said.
Andreano explained a benefit to a potential employer who has a need for a qualified, trained employee is they won’t have to wait 2-4 years for that individual to finish school. And as such, the ability to earn a certificate in two semesters is also one of the things that attracts students to the Reno Technology Academy.
“Students can come here for as little as a semester or two, get the training that they need to get a Certification, and apply that to a potential job and become productive employees at a business,” Andreano said. “As the advancement opportunities open up for more qualified employees, those people can come back and add to their skill set without having to commit to a 2 or 4 year degree program.
The Academy’s first class of 10 students started on Feb. 5 and all of the students enrolled through word of mouth. Currently, the Academy has two class offerings – A+, a computer certification and Network+, a beginning network certification. They are now working on a more robust selection of classes for the summer and the fall including Cyber Security, Linux Administration, Introduction Web development and Software development, Introduction to Python and C++.
“The number of people we talk to is growing every day and those we talk to are excited and want to be involved,” Holland said. “I think that is important and validates what we are doing. It’s not just something we want to do, we are actually getting a lot of feedback saying, ‘thank you for doing it.’”
As they continue to expand in course offerings, enrollment and outreach to local technology businesses, the Academy is looking to connect with both people in the community to help qualify them for jobs and while also working with the employers in the community to build what they need to train their own workforce.
“We want to provide a qualified workforce, but at the same time if an industry here came to us and said, ‘we need 1,000 robotics technicians in the next two years and we don’t have a place to train them,’ we would look at them, shake their hand, say help us build a facility and we’ll train them for you.”