At your Service

Every day, the news media emphasizes the need for well-trained workers to fill the jobs within the manufacturing industry continuing to grow as the Tahoe Regional Industrial Center (TRIC) continues to expand. The most famous tenant at the TRIC is Panasonic/Tesla, and the hopeful theory is that this company and others on this vast land will gobble up workers at a pace previously unseen.

Another industry needing “educated workers” is the once again robust building trades that flourishes and dies with economic trends. There’s a call for professionals to oversee projects and direct the many workers needed to bring the projects to successful completion.

How does a worker get to the top of the employment line in either of these industries? Certification and degrees may be the short answer.

Western Nevada College, again, has heeded the call to train students to operate the various machines needed in manufacturing and has reincarnated their 4-year Construction Management degree program that lay dormant as the economy lay dormant. CTE curriculum — once thought to be irrelevant as society was convinced by educational institutions only a 4-year college degree would do — is once again on the front burner at high schools and within the community college system. Seems “they” realized not everyone is college material.

Nevada’s largest and growing industry, however, is the hospitality industry and receives almost no attention and little r-e-s-p-e-c-t when it comes to educating workers for careers in this very varied field that can propel workers to the top of the earnings chart.

Like the manufacturing and building trades, many of these jobs — unless trained — may begin at minimum wage until the skill is acquired — much of it on-the-job — and then, the sky is the limit if one chooses to advance and consider this a career path. Working within the hospitality industry in most parts of the world is considered a highly-respected career and requires considerable people skills.

But, not everyone is cut out to work with people day in and day out. It’s hard. People these days can be rude, impatient and “in your face.” Those working in hospitality must have patience, be quick-witted and possess the temperament to handle all sorts of situations not found in repetitive work behind a machine or pounding nails all day

Still today, when you walk up to an airline counter, you expect a friendly, “How can I help you.” When you arrive at your hotel, you expect the front desk attendant to be pleasant and efficient. When you enter Olive Garden, you expect to be greeted by charming hosts and served by a friendly and efficient wait staff. Go to a local bar often enough and you feel as though this is YOUR bar, since like in Cheers, everyone knows your name. Nothing nicer than Kenny at Glen Eagles greeting you by name and saying, “How’s it going!

The Nevada Governor’s Office on Economic Development (GOED) shows 413,000 are employed in Nevada’s largest employment sector and make an average of over $32,000 annually. The report states, “Hospitality and Tourism is the state’s iconic consumption-oriented industry and a major economic engine that creates tens of thousands of jobs for Nevadans.

Hospitality jobs are part of the bigger picture of service industry jobs in which 70 percent of Americans are employed.

What jobs comprise the service industry?

Thoughts turn immediately to those who directly serve us — the wait staff, chefs/cooks, bartender, hotel front desk clerk, cashier, hostess and others considered an integral part of the hospitality industry. Many of these jobs require certification and all receive on-the-job training specific to their respective business philosophy.

Rarely does one think of that very important — these days — roofer, handyman, plumber, electrician or other service most of us cannot provide for ourselves. Each of these jobs require extensive training, certification and licensing and are well compensated and, yes, they are part of the service industry.

How about that wonderful nurse, lawyer, veterinarian, computer tech, financial adviser, personal banker, insurance agent and others that may require advanced degrees or special training and certification, as part of the service industry? Most are well-paid.

Your favorite beautician, massage therapist, nail tech, tattoo artist, and others in the beauty field must be well-trained and comply with state law to be licensed to touch you. Most in this field are self-employed and can make significant dollars earning more than $100 per hour if they are in demand.

Bill Anderson, Chief Economist for the Research and Analysis Bureau, Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) recently released a study showing Nevada still is dominated by service industry employment showing a need for 2,278 salespeople, 2,124 waitresses or waiters and 1,792 cashiers a year. Anderson noted a 12,000-15,000 job growth in the leisure and hospitality industry in the past year, outpacing all other industries.

As more and more robots take over repetitive manufacturing jobs, the need for humans will decrease. As for the building trades, if there’s a downturn in the economy, poof, those jobs are history. Most of those jobs are hourly and weather dependent and once the job is done, it is done. Service jobs will be around for a long time, as reported in numerous studies. It may take a bit longer to eliminate their tasks by robots.

Service/Hospitality industry employees are people-oriented, outgoing and can make our days more enjoyable giving us the break we need from an otherwise hectic lifestyle. They are special people and we ask you to R-E-S-P-E-C-T those who make life a bit more pleasant for each of us.


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