Courtesy of Steve Yingling, Western Nevada College
Western Nevada College’s Realizing Opportunities for the American Dream to Succeed (ROADS) pilot project is now a nationally recognized program.
The Rural Community College Alliance recently honored the ROADS program, which assists underemployed and unemployed Nevadans, for its innovation and access. With students creatively receiving financial assistance from WNC and the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) to help with day-to-day expenses, accessing higher education became possible for more students.
Through the ROADS program, WNC has removed the day-to-day cost-of-living obstacles so individuals can focus on higher education training. Students have received gas cards to help with the rising cost of driving to and from WNC. Other students have received assistance with their rent and car repairs, and referrals to community and college services for food donations.
“This award acknowledges and showcases innovative/access programs and projects that have had a significant influence on institutional and student success and that demonstrate a commitment to excellence,” the RCCA states in its contest rules.
Since ROADS’ launch in early 2022, a partnership between WNC and DETR has been assisting individuals with customized educational training and professional skills development needed for positions that are in high-demand occupations and industries in northern Nevada. That partnership will continue for another four years.
“We couldn’t be happier to see ROADS continue to make positive impacts to assist unemployed and underemployed Nevadans by providing training for positions that are currently in high-demand occupations and industries,” said DETR Employment Security Division Administrator Kristine Nelson. “After nearly doubling expected outcomes during the pilot, the importance of continuing the program became evident and we are very proud to continue our partnership with WNC, allowing ROADS to positively impact the lives of more Nevadans.”
WNC President Dr. J. Kyle Dalpe accepted the award on behalf of the college at the Rural Community College Alliance national convention at Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles, Ore.
“As a community college, our job is to help students access and succeed in higher education,” President Dalpe said. “The ROADS program at Western Nevada College does just that — it helps students train for good careers in our community. This semester, the college is at the highest enrollment in 10 years thanks to programs like ROADS.”
Specifically, the ROADS program provides unemployed and underemployed students with funding to train in Automotive Mechanics, Machine Tool Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, Construction, Computer Information Technology, Truck-Driving (CDL) and Welding. Students can elect to take accelerated training to earn certifications and skills to enter the workforce sooner. Additionally, the program guides participants to wrap-around services that support students through obstacles that may prevent them from completing their certifications.
Mentorship and guidance are critical parts of the program providing personal and professional growth. As participants are completing their customized training, the ROADS coordinator works with them to gain interviews with area businesses and facilitate a smooth transition to their occupations of interest.
“We are incredibly grateful to DETR for providing the funding for the ROADS program,” said Niki Gladys, WNC Executive Director of Advancement, who manages the program. “It’s allowed us to fully support students and employers during a time when a strong workforce is needed more than ever.”
Individuals interested in the program can apply at wnc.edu/roads/. For more information, contact Kara Spracklin, ROADS program coordinator, at email@example.com.