Mining industry seeks license plate to help engineering students |

Mining industry seeks license plate to help engineering students

Staff Reports

A new Nevada license plate to support Earth science education in the state has taken the first step toward approval.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has accepted an application and $5,000 bond from the the Northern Nevada Section of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration to begin the process.

A preliminary design of the license plate features the Greg Melton bronze “Tribute to Nevada Miners” that stands on a granite boulder in front of the Nevada Supreme Court Building in Carson City.

The effort is prompted by the retirement of between 200 and 400 professionals a year, which is causing a shortage of mining engineers. According to a press release issued by the organization, in 2004, 13 mining schools graduated only 87 engineers. Meanwhile the demand for mining and geological engineers is projected to grow to 8,200 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

UNR associate professor of economics and director of the Natural Resource Industry Institute John Dobra estimates the mining industry generated over 63,900 Nevada jobs. The report shows the average number of direct jobs in mining in 2010 totaled 12,210.

“After this plate is issued we expect more than $20,000 per year to be added to our scholarship fund and all of that will be given to university and K-12 Earth sciences students in Nevada,” said NNSME Chairman Ron Starr. “As a graduate student at UNR I see no end in sight to the escalating expenses of pursuing a degree. When tuition increases are not authorized fees are fabricated such as the engineering differential per credit fee, the technology per credit fee, and the surcharge per credit fee. Geology majors can be especially hard hit. Imagine learning that the $3,400 mandatory six-credit Geology 451 Field Camp has been canceled, like it was summer 2011, and you must travel to Africa, Alaska, Australia, Canada, or New Zealand at up to five times the cost, or wait a year to graduate. We’d like to be able to step in and help Mackay students financially and the special license plate proceeds will give us that ability.”

The next step is authorization by the Commission on Special License Plates presently composed of five voting legislators: Chair Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop (District 5), Vice Chair Senator Shirley A. Breeden (District 5), Senator Don Gustavson (District 2), Assemblyman Richard Carrillo (District 18), and Assemblyman John Ellison (District 33). The third step is the design of the artwork and lettering in collaboration with the Nevada DMV and subject to Nevada Highway Patrol approval.