First WNCC certificates of completion are awarded |

First WNCC certificates of completion are awarded

by Joyce Hollister

The first certificates of completion at Western Nevada Community College, Douglas were awarded this week.

Jamie Sommer earned an animal production technician certificate, and Gerald David Colgate earned a computer information systems certificate.

The certificates represent 15 academic credits earned in specific courses in the new First Step program. The certificate may be shown to a potential employer as proof of certain skills and knowledge gained.

According to WNCC Douglas Dean Bus Scharmann, “The certificate gives employers something to see as people go out for job interviews.”

In addition, Scharmann said, the certificate program leads to the 30-credit certificate of achievement program already in place in the WNCC system. After earning that certificate, students may go on to earn an associate (two-year equivalent) degree.

“We were really happy to get it started,” he said. The program is being piloted in Douglas County after being researched and suggested to the college administration by the Douglas Advisory Committee.

“The whole thing was stimulated through the advisory committee, which is our group of citizens who are listening to what industry wants and what the people want in their college here,” Scharmann said.

The dean gave presentations on the certificate of completion program to a WNCC department head committee and a curriculum committee, and the response was highly favorable.

“They expressed interest that this should be a college-wide program, not exclusive to Douglas, so we are changing our brochure so that it reads all the campuses,” he said, “even though we’re just piloting it here.”

What citizens, faculty and industry like about the certificate is that it is short-term and aimed at getting students into jobs right away. Most students at WNCC are part-time. Some students are just out of high school while others are returning to school to upgrade their skills.

Students who want to enter the First Step program may utilize credits they may already have earned at WNCC, Scharmann added.

There are six other certificates in the First Step program, including accounting technician, early childhood education, electronics technology, general business, office administration and word-processing-computer applications.

For information, call WNCC Douglas at 782-2413.

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