$5 million set aside for free community college efforts

$5 million set aside for free community college efforts
Great Basin College. Image: Visitor7 / CC BY-SA / Wikimedia Commons

CARSON CITY – Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday said he will put aside $5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to support enacting initial recommendations from a recently formed workforce development committee.

The committee began work in January and was formed following passage of Assembly Bill 450 in the 2021 legislative session. Its goal is to explore ways to offer free access to community college and other training programs for more Nevadans by 2025.

Workforce development and improving access to education have been priorities for the governor’s office, intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic when many people lost their jobs and many industries saw shifts in demand.

“We know that skills training is essential to our workers and businesses,” the governor said during his state of the state speech in February. “A high school education isn’t enough, and we should recognize that it’s no longer ‘pre-school through grade 12,’ but at least ‘pre-school through community college or other post high school training.’” 

The nine-member group includes community college and education leaders from across Nevada along with economic and workforce development experts. It is led by Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Melody Rose.

Initial meetings by the committee have included listening and discussion sessions for members to gather information on current efforts and national best practices. Initial deliberations for recommendations in a final report are slated to begin in June.

The governor’s office said some of the committee’s recommendations may be presented during the 2023 legislative session.