We, at NCLab, address a broad spectrum of STEM education, with our primary focus being addressing the shortage of qualified STEM employees. Our college-level job-ready career training programs have proven successful in preparing students for the workforce while also strengthening the skills of existing workforces.
At NCLab, as students learn new skills, they simultaneously obtain practical experience, to the point that they are proficient enough to fill jobs when they graduate.
Our programs are being used by higher education institutions in two manners:
- Distance Learning, where students work independently but have ready access to subject-matter experts for guidance and support
- In-Classroom Learning, where an instructor leads the class and provides guidance and support
Today, NCLab partners with colleges and universities to serve their marketplaces. While NCLab provides all student support activities using subject-matter experts, NCLab and those institutions divide other responsibilities that include promoting the availability of the training, providing career and financial counseling, and providing each student a career certificate upon completion of the training.
10 Years Of History
In 2010, Pavel Solin, UNR (University of Nevada, Reno) Mathematics Professor, started working with K-12 schools to help them prepare students in STEM. He understood that many K-12 schools lacked qualified STEM instructors and so built a platform that was hands-on practice-based and overlaid Karel programming on top of it as his first product.
- It taught students programming without the need for STEM-qualified teachers
- It was self-paced to allow students to progress at their own rate
- It included verified learning so teachers could see the progress of students
Schools and libraries across NV implemented it. Schools in other states and countries followed.
In 2017, NV State’s Economic Development Department surveyed companies to identify needed STEM job skills. Data Analytics stood out as a STEM career path needing attention. The State teamed up with TMCC (Truckee Meadows Community College) to get the training in place. NCLab was identified as the partner to deliver the training. NCLab developed a college level Data Analyst career training program and TMCC incorporated the training into its curriculum.
Also in 2017, Python Developer career training content was created on the demand of NSLAPR (Nevada State Library, Archives and Public Records), as part of a federal grant whose objective was to provide the Nevada public with workforce development opportunities at the Nevada libraries. Since then, individual courses have been offered at UNR (University of Nevada, Reno) and the training has more recently been incorporated into Python Developer career training at Nevada community colleges.
NCLab’s self-paced learn-by-doing platform has also become recognized as the place to go to solve industry-specific recruitment problems. Because NCLab training incorporates practical experience and verified learning as part of its training programs, it is uniquely qualified to help grow the available workforce for specific STEM careers.
As an example, streamlined training of dialysis technicians was identified as a serious problem, in part because dialysis equipment can now be installed in residences, assuming that qualified technicians are available to operate the equipment. Unfortunately, current training of dialysis technicians is lengthy, severely limiting the number of qualified technicians who can be trained.
A partnership of CSN (College of Southern Nevada), Nevada State Libraries, and a large international dialysis equipment manufacturer, a virtual reality provider, and NCLab was formed to attack the problem head-on, with NCLab providing deep learning of technical skills required to produce qualified dialysis technicians. It is projected that the new self-paced training will produce qualified dialysis technicians with only one week of classroom time, replacing the current 16 weeks of classroom time and thereby make it much easier for interested people in remote communities to participate in the training.