The importance of the emerging technologies working group

Nevada has long been a state with a diverse population. However, following the recent economic storm front that hit the Silver State in the wake of the pandemic, new calls are underway for Nevada to diversify its economy as well.

To meet the challenges ahead, State Senator Pat Spearman (D-North Las Vegas) introduced SB110, which was passed by the Legislature and created an “Emerging Technologies Task Force.” The task force’s sole mandate would be to attract new technology-driven companies to Nevada. Under this legislation, “emerging technologies” include industries such as robotics, AI (artificial intelligence) and blockchain.

States compete to attract tech companies

As states continue to compete to attract businesses to the growing tech sector, Nevada must provide a welcoming business environment and a properly trained workforce to meet the needs of the IT industry.

The new task force will propose strategies to attract emerging technology companies, recommend ways to streamline barriers to opening these new establishments, and help develop leading practices and standards for these emerging companies. In particular, the working group will also make recommendations for developing a workforce trained to meet the workforce needs of these businesses. Recognizing the recent impact of economic disasters, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the task force will also prioritize accelerated training and employment for those affected.

The group will be made up of six people, including the director of the Ministry of Business and Industry. The director will also have the power to appoint as many additional members as he deems necessary.

The essential role of post-secondary education

Post-secondary institutions would undoubtedly play a vital role in providing the necessary training to Nevada residents seeking future employment in these emerging tech companies. As dramatically illustrated last year, online education, including at online universities such as Western Governors University (WGU), can continue to play a flourishing and vital role in improving skills, recycling and the development of the local workforce.

WGU offers numerous programs and degrees in high demand career fields including information technology, education, business, health and nursing. WGU also goes beyond conventions to identify, develop and implement programs, systems and technologies that open the door to more opportunities for all. WGU is unique in the state in that it uses a skills-based approach to education, which has been shown to help students accelerate their degrees and enter the workforce faster.

Additionally, in today’s educational landscape, there are several avenues for students to take to create their resumes, including micro-accreditation, a future certificate program that WGU plans to launch.

Micro-accreditations are certifications that verify, validate and attest that very specific skills have been acquired. Micro-accreditations are sequences of achievements that typically match the needs of the employer and / or industry and can be pursued in a stand-alone format, or they can be subsumed by a greater WGU accreditation, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Once in place, micro-accreditation certificates will help students master specialist subjects quickly and efficiently, thus bolstering their resumes with new skills to start or advance their careers.

And, according to the Center for Online Education, even when the pandemic is history, it is estimated that more than a third of college students will study online. An additional third of students are expected to combine online and in-person study. Quality online education, including technology and STEM subjects, will be essential in training, upgrading or retraining Nevada residents to meet high-demand tech jobs.

Support offered for emerging technologies

The task force will also attempt to integrate blockchain technology at all levels of government to help promote emerging technologies. Blockchain technology is basically an information recording system that makes hacking impossible.

Although it is relatively new, governments around the world are intrigued by its transparency allowing the public to see and verify sensitive data. Additionally, if used correctly, blockchain solutions could reduce redundancy, streamline processes, reduce audit load, increase security, and ensure data integrity.

In recent years, the issue of workforce development has gained tremendous momentum as cities and states across the country have attempted to ensure that their workforce is well prepared to respond to challenges. needs of emerging technologies of the 21st century.

In his book, Purpose of the rentalDeanna Mulligan, CEO of Guardian Insurance, noted that AI (artificial intelligence) could eventually become more proficient than human professionals with specific work tasks. Companies like AT&T and Google are already preparing their employees for the widespread use of AI in their business practices. These companies and others offer internal training programs for employees to help them update their technology skills..

Diversification of Nevada’s economy is (still) essential

In Nevada, more than 400,000 workers are employed by the casino industry. As a result, when an unforeseen disaster such as the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacts this industry, the lack of diversity in the workforce makes Silver State one of the hardest hit globally. national.

The new task force plans to promote workforce training for emerging technologies that would ultimately result in a better-trained job market – and a Nevada economy with jobs less dependent on one industry: gambling. The result will be a diverse economy and a better trained workforce to meet the labor demands of the booming technology sector.

Rick Benbow is the regional vice president of Western Governors University Nevada.

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