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Nevada’s workforce not meeting the needs of in-demand occupations

Updated November 13, 2017 - 7:29 pm

Nevada’s graduates are not adequately prepared to enter the workforce, according to a new report commissioned by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.

The top five in-demand occupations in Southern Nevada — managers, general and operations managers, software developers, business operations specialists and registered nurses — could collectively support 1,733 additional workers to meet current demand, according to the report.

Recent graduates or soon-to-be graduates should leverage whatever skills and training they have and “repurpose” it in a way that can help meet demand, said John Snow, principal at Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based consulting firm Emergent Method, which produced the report.

Snow said a skills gap is “a function of economic success.” In most successful economies, and especially in economies, like Nevada’s, that have shifted focus in recent years, there is a workforce pipeline lag, Snow said.

But success is not sustainable without the workforce needed to actualize the economy’s potential.

‘Dynamic industries’

Earlier this year, the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance identified seven target industries as key areas for growth in the next five years: business headquarters and services; emerging technology; logistics, manufacturing and supply chain management; autonomous systems; finance, banking and insurance services; health care services and medical education; and gaming, tourism and conventions.

“When you look at some of these industries and sectors that organizations like the LVGEA have targeted, they are very dynamic industries with dynamic workforce needs,” Snow said.

Jonas Peterson, CEO of the alliance, said this is the first time Southern Nevada has a detailed road map for the local workforce.

“We have a detailed look at occupations and skill sets that we need to support our economy today,” he said. “Southern Nevada is going to have massive needs for managers, software developers, nurses, computer systems analysts. We’re going to have a lot of opportunity for workers.”

One of the most encouraging things for Southern Nevada, Snow said, is that there is a “strong level of cooperation” among different stakeholders in the state to address workforce demands.

The Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation is working to improve apprenticeship programs and help align workforce needs with offerings at educational institutions; corporations are partnering with universities; private sector leaders are partnering with Clark County School District leaders; and many training programs are underway or in the pipeline to help provide the skills needed to fill workforce demands.

“Southern Nevada is really poised to address these challenges,” Snow said.

Opportunity or burden

And these challenges are very real for employers.

The report identified a current shortage of 103 computer systems analysts in Southern Nevada.

Debbie Banko, CEO of Las Vegas-based Link Technologies, an information technology consulting firm, said hiring has been “very, very difficult.”

“Schools and universities are not giving students the real-world knowledge they need,” Banko said. “Students are coming out of universities not knowing enough to get the certifications that they need.”

The report also identified a shortage of 164 financial managers.

John Fobes, managing director of Northwestern Mutual in Las Vegas, said he sees the shortage as a great opportunity. The financial services company has an internship program, which Fobes said helps the company mold new grads into its preferred workers.

“There’s a large amount of millennials and graduating students that I think are pretty well-prepared through the various business schools, and we’re just giving them more specific training in financial management,” Fobes said.

Contact Nicole Raz at nraz@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @JournalistNikki on Twitter.

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