Job Corps Internships Prepare Sierra Nevada Students for Success

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Work-based learning (WBL) opportunities or internships are crucial to a Job Corps student’s success. At the Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center in Reno, internships and developing apprenticeship opportunities are giving students the experience they need to succeed in their new careers.

“An asset, absolutely,” is how Chad Cairo describes auto-tech student Jimmy Cortez.

Mr. Cairo is the maintenance shop manager at Signature Landscapes—Northern Nevada’s largest and most successful landscaping company. He brings in students like Jimmy from Sierra Nevada Job Corps to do a variety of work. Jimmy keeps the company’s equipment in tiptop condition.

“He picks up a lot of the small engine repairs that we get backed up on,” adds Mr. Cairo.

For Jimmy, the internship has been outstanding.

“Working at Signature Landscapes has been a great experience,” emphasizes Jimmy. “It’s taught me a lot about what to do with small engines, even working on bigger trucks. It’s taught me responsibility and integrity, definitely; to keep doing what you need to when nobody is around.”

Jimmy uses the skills he’s learned at Sierra Nevada Job Corps to replace motors, blades, belts and many other components.

Because of the work Jimmy is doing at Signature Landscape, the company is seeing higher productivity.

“With over 1,000 pieces of equipment, all different types, from handheld to ride-on mowers—there’s just a large array of repairs that need to be done on a daily basis. And with Jimmy here, we’ve seen a noticeable change already in the equipment that’s been stacked up for repair. So, there’s been a lot of turnaround, a lot of productivity.”

Jimmy is the eighth student from the center to work at the giant landscaping company.

“We’re really happy,” says Sierra Nevada Job Corps Work-Based Learning Supervisor Joy Erdelt, “to have Signature Landscapes as one of our intern employers. We’ve always been able to rotate students into their program. They’ve been really great about teaching our students.”

MTC Senior Vice President of Education & Training John Pedersen along with Center Director Rocky Flanary and Ms. Erdelt visited Signature Landscape and several other employer partners to see the training students receive.

The group toured Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, where student Jameson Hatheway is completing his pharmacy tech internship.

They also visited Daehan Solution—a tier one Tesla partner contracted to produce all the insulation and soundproofing for the Tesla M3 and MX auto lines.

Daehan and Sierra Nevada Job Corps are working on a three- to six-month apprenticeship program that will give students excellent training in a variety of fields.