Congratulations to NC3’s June 2022 School on the Rise, Truckee Meadows Community College! With four campuses located throughout Reno, Nevada, Truckee Meadows Community College continues to prove their commitment to creating valuable educational opportunities for students throughout their community. Since becoming an NC3 Leadership School in 2017, TMCC has offered their students valuable industry certifications in automotive, welding and more! TMCC’s flexible pathways allow students to explore their individuality while gaining the skills necessary to start a career.
TMCC’s partnership with NC3 began in their automotive department and has since expanded to other technical programs. Since becoming a member of NC3’s network, TMCC has issued over 1,900 Snap-on and Festo certifications to their students! TMCC’s success is largely due to their staff’s devotion to the field of education. Dr. Karin Hilgersom, president of TMCC, began exploring the world of education after discovering her passion for communication studies. Despite her work as an administrator, she retains her passion for educating students. She said,
One thing I realized during those years was that many students in the career and technical trades had a lot of anxiety about communications. It was fun to be the bridge and build their confidence to succeed in their studies and communication skills. I think they realized I was there to help them and that I wanted them to leave with the tools necessary to communicate on their jobs.
Dr. Hilgersom looks forward to NC3 National Signing Day each year. She’s experienced the excitement students have when they’re committing to a career and technical program. She enjoys reaching high school students and encouraging them to explore their career options. NC3’s National Signing Day helps start them on their pathway to a prosperous adult life. She said, “Partnering with NC3 and our local high schools is what we need.”
After attending TMCC as a student, Wyatt Ziebel became an automotive instructor. He credits his skills learned in community college with helping him realize what’s necessary for a career. He said, “The program made me realize that not only a passion for what you’re doing is important but there’s also a huge amount of places that are looking for qualified people. Once I realized that, I got more interested.”
Kreg Mebust, Interim Dean of Technical Sciences, helps oversee the automotive programs at TMCC. He has immense respect for the field of education and has enjoyed his time working as an educator for over a decade. He said,
The change to administration was inspired by me wanting to impact students on a broader scale. I can now oversee other programs throughout our Applied Technology Center including manufacturing and diesel. I can apply the skills I learn in the classroom to affect a broader population of students. There are always situations that require problem solving skills and I love the challenge. It’s something I’m very passionate about.
Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Jeffery Alexander, started out his career in education as a history teacher. After being involved in both two-year and four-year institutions, Dr. Alexander has had an opportunity to identify the similarities and differences between the two. He noticed more similarities than differences. He said, “both are often serving the same communities, such as underrepresented minority students.”
The word about NC3’s valuable certifications has gotten out to other programs at TMCC. Mr. Mebust discussed his colleague’s surprise at what institutions are able to do with industry partners, and they can’t wait to take part in it. The ability to stack certifications creates flexibility for TMCC’s technical education curriculum practices. Mr. Mebust said, “eventually, they may have an associate’s degree before they know it. They may not have known they could achieve a goal like that. Students can look back and notice how far they’ve come. To be part of that is where the joy is.”
TMCC strives to keep up to date with northern Nevada’s economic and workforce needs. Their staff consistently attend meetings discussing economic development in the region. Their advisory boards, specific to each technical trade program, develops curriculum based on the region’s workforce needs. In addition to NC3’s curriculum, TMCC includes soft skills training to help round out students’ educational experiences. Mr. Mebust said, “we include things like time management and teamwork, which is something that students will encounter in the workforce.”
A large part of TMCC’s goal is to look for new ways to make credentials more sequential and logically connected. The staff involved with TMCC are looking to change the rigid perception of education. Rather than training for one occupation and only having a skill set pertaining to that, students at TMCC have the ability to connect their skills to different programs. Dr. Alexander said, “we’ve built the kinds of rewards that create mobility. You can start off in one discipline and move to another, and that’s okay.”
After TMCC’s recent awards at Nevada’s SkillsUSA for diesel mechanics, Mr. Mebust is proud of the impact the Applied Technology Center has on students. With NC3’s help, TMCC brings authentic industry equipment into the classroom to parallel what students will see in their future workplaces. He said, “that itself adds a lot of credibility to the programs and creates word of mouth.” As an instructor, Mr. Ziebell appreciates having the equipment on hand. Once his students are finished with classes, they’ve handled the tools multiple times and know how to do so correctly.
With the assistance of the community, business partners and NC3, TMCC looks forward to continuing their journey of diversifying career and technical education while addressing the region’s economic needs.
Congratulations to Truckee Meadows Community College for their outstanding success in career and technical education! We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your accomplishments.
Stay tuned for our next School on the Rise recipient in July 2022!
Questions about NC3’s School on the Rise? Please contact Erika Staackmann, Customer Success Coordinator, 847.533.6985, Erika.Staackmann@nc3.net