Steve Sisolak spent Friday in northern Nevada, where he toured the Iron Workers Union Local 118 Training Center. The facility provides a path for people to learn about structural iron working, reinforcing, ornamental iron work or skills as a rigger or machinery mover.
"It's impressive and that they offer this education, I just wish we could get it out there to some of the young folks that are looking for opportunities," Sisolak, D-Clark County said.
About 55 apprentices are taking the four-year training session that provides on-the-job training.
"It's a learn while you earn," Tracy Holland, Business Agent with Iron Workers Local 118 said. "They come in and do 80 hours of training each semester, and they have 700 hours of work hours."
Sisolak says his primary focuses will be jobs and education if he gets elected to become Nevada's next governor. Construction and manufacturing are both growing industries, and he says a skilled workforce is necessary to keep that going.
"If we have the workforce here that's capable of building, the companies are willing to look at Nevada, come in here to locate because they know that that's where they can build the facility that'll work," Sisolak said.
As Nevada's population grows, the infrastructure is also evolving. Iron workers play a role in that because their skills are needed to build bridges and underground infrastructure.
"That stuff doesn't just happen by a screwdriver and a wrench," Sisolak said. "I mean, this is some serious construction."
"We're kind of the best kept secret," Holland said. "With the training that we have available and the schools that we have available, we serve a great need for the community."
Holland says iron workers can earn six-figure salaries per year, as well as pensions, benefits and paid time off. It is also an alternative to college.
"We have a lot of people that decide that's really not for them," Holland said. "They like working with their hands, so we try to encourage and recruit most of those people into the trades."
"You come out of this program with money in the bank and you have a good job that's paying you something, as opposed to on the other side, the formal education," Sisolak said. "You've got a big student debt here and no job. So, this is an option that all students need to be able to take a look at."
With the primary election just over two months away, campaigning is picking up. Sisolak says he is traveling throughout the state and putting campaign ads on TV.
"It's fun to get around the state and talk to different people and have an opportunity to learn something like I'm learning here today," Sisolak said.