As our state continues to recover from a period of economic downturn, NSHE's community colleges have taken on an even greater role in building Nevada's new economy and helping Nevadans achieve their career goals. With the conclusion of the 2013-14 academic year, the graduation data from NSHE's institutions has come in. I am thrilled to see so many skilled graduates from our programs.
Over the past school year, 2,905 students earned a skills certificate and 572 were awarded certificates of completion. Certificates of completion require 30 or more credit hours of instruction and are often the stepping stone toward an associate of applied science degree. Skills certificates require less than 30 credit hours of instruction and lead directly to industry certification.
Currently, there are 260 certificate programs available within NSHE's community colleges...and that figure is constantly changing as our colleges work to meet the dynamic demands of their communities. Some certificate programs may be offered once to meet a short-term need, while others may be offered for years.
Through our certificate programs, NSHE students can earn professional-level skills in a wide range of topics such as healthcare, information technology, sustainable energy, business, hospitality, and media, as well as skilled and industrial trades.
In our larger urban population centers, the College of Southern Nevada and Truckee Meadows Community College continue to provide training for in-demand and critical occupations. Nearly 40 percent of CSN's 1,800 skills certificate recipients were for nursing assistants and 25 percent were in the field of information technology. Of TMCC's 583 skills certificates, nearly half were for certified nursing assistants and more than 25 percent were in the field of phlebotomy. TMCC also awarded 71 certificates of completion, with 28 percent in the field of dental assisting.
Our colleges with large rural service areas, such as Great Basin College and Western Nevada College, must provide not only highly specialized certificate programs, but must also be able to meet the unique needs of small rural communities.
GBC's Maintenance Training Cooperative (MTC) is a longstanding partnership between the college and local mines and businesses. The program is designed to "home-grow" a technically skilled workforce in instrumentation, mill maintenance, welding, electrical and diesel technology. Local industry provides scholarships to GBC students who are then often hired by their supporting businesses for full-time employment.
Western Nevada College students have achieved success in a variety of certification-based programs throughout the college's broad service area. Popular programs include nursing, law enforcement, automotive technology and deaf studies, whereby students go on to become highly sought after American Sign Language translators.
I am once again impressed by the great work of our four community colleges. These institutions provide a vital service to Nevada students and businesses and continue to be a powerful engine for both personal and economic development.