CSBG Success in Nevada: Geothermal Industry Job Training

In order to meet a growing need in the geothermal industry, Churchill County Social Services, a CSBG eligible entity in western Nevada, offered a job training program designed to prepare individuals and teach the skills needed for careers in the geothermal industry. Part of a larger employment initiative, the agency aimed to help Churchill County residents who earn below the 200% poverty guideline obtain job skills, such as resume writing and interview skills.

Thirty-eight low-income and unemployed participants successfully completed the training and received entry level certification that allows them to work on a drill rig. Churchill County partnered with local geothermal companies and Western Nevada College to offer the training – the first training class of its kind in the county. Given the success of the training, Churchill County is working to develop strong partnerships with the geothermal companies to encourage them to hire locally.

Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds were used to pay for the geothermal training class (instructor fee, class related clothing, and supplies), further training classes at Western Nevada College, required work clothing, General Education Development (GED) test fees, and employer wage subsidy reimbursements. Along with Western Nevada College, Churchill County also partnered with the local Workforce Academy, which is a workshop that teaches good work habits. Another key partner was Job Opportunities in Nevada (JOIN). JOIN helped pay for a portion of the training and also provided resume writing and interview skills workshops. Churchill Economic Development Authority (CEDA) is working hand-in-hand with Churchill County as well. The program hired an employer specialist, under the umbrella of CEDA, who visits local employers and promotes the employment program. Churchill County also opened up the job training workshops to the community, and Vocational Rehab, Welfare, and Job Connect all send clients to these workshops.

The program took a holistic approach to obtaining employment, focusing on both the client and the employer. While an employee specialist met with the client and focused on meeting all their needs such as food and energy assistance as well as job training skills, the employer specialist focused on meeting the employer’s needs. From the client side, Churchill County offered programs such as Workforce Academy and Job Club, which provided clients with resume writing help, interview skills, and work ethics. From the employer side, Churchill County offered a program that helps match prospective employees (who had gone through the job skills training) with specific business needs. Churchill County provided specific training, as necessary, and sent resumes of qualified clients to geothermal companies. The employer specialist worked closely with the employee specialist in order to make sure that needs were met on both sides. This close partnership allowed the county to provide a valuable and much needed service to both local employers and residents. Of the 38 individuals trained to work in the geothermal industry, at least 16 have found employment so far with geothermal companies in the area. The companies are interested in continuing the training project.

Source:  FY10 CSBG IS Survey.

Edited by Eric Stam