Special to The Ely Times

The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved funding for Great Basin College to offer a diesel technology associate degree and certificate program in Ely beginning in the spring 2019 semester.

The funding from the NGOED will cover tuition costs for the participating students through June 2019.

In an announcement to key supporters of the program, GBC Dean of Business and Technology Bret Murphy said Diesel Instructor Mike Whitehead began work in Ely on Dec. 3 to prepare for classes, which are scheduled to start Jan. 7.

“Our target is to have 10 White Pine High School students and six people from the public for the first class,” said Murphy. “Please spread the word about this fantastic opportunity.”

The classes will be housed in the White Pine High School diesel shop.

Robinson Mine Human Resources Manager Kim Kammerer said the idea of growing maintenance employees in the area sprouted a couple years ago. Specifically, Kammerer said Robinson wanted to approach White Pine High School students, whom they often lose to competitors after students leave the area to work and go to school elsewhere.

“In concert with GBC, WPHS Superintendent Adam Young and concerned Ely residents and business leaders, the idea of petitioning the Governors Economic Development Committee for funding began to emerge earlier this year,” Kammerer said.

“Robinson Mine has determined that we could support hiring 6-8 diesel program graduates per year for the next 5 years. Other business representatives also made similar statements with different numbers. This collaboration by so many interested and vested representatives along with the Governor’s Economic Committee’s funding will allow local business to “Grow Our Own” diesel mechanic program graduates and assist us with meeting our employee skills gaps as the economy continues to grow. We believe many of these graduates will remain in their community where they grew up and where they can have a good paying career.”

In addition to GBC, White Pine County School District, supporters for the Ely diesel program include Wheeler Machinery, Flore Gold, Nevada Northern Railway and numerous community and civic leaders.

Already in place at the Ely Center is the GBC Electrical Program, which began in August and taught by local instructor Sam Leyba.

For more information or to register, contact the GBC Ely Center at 775-289-3589.