15 Sep Vegas PBS Workforce Training and Economic Development puts people to work

Debra Solt says she’s in the business of changing people’s lives for the better. Solt is director of Workforce Training and Economic Development at Vegas PBS. Her department works with businesses and individuals to help unemployed and underemployed people in Clark County and other communities. Vegas PBS is licensed to the individuals elected as School Trustees of the Clark County School District (CCSD) who additionally agree to serve as public television licensees and works in close collaboration with the district to promote education programs and efforts.

Solt is in her fifth year with Workforce at Vegas PBS, and the department continues to expand, having taken over half the second floor of the PBS building on Flamingo Road while also reaching out to area businesses and organizations.

Solt said, “Whether it’s for personal enrichment, new skill development, or industry certification, our goal is to offer programs and services to help people reach their goals. We are committed to economic growth and improving the quality of the area’s workforce.”

Workforce services appeal to businesses and individuals. “For businesses, we identify key training needs for entry or advancement in the workplace. Knowing those needs also is essential in helping individuals find gainful employment.”

The department’s success has spread nationwide. “We are replicating this program for other PBS stations across the country,” said Solt. In fact, nearly 540,000 people nationwide have been served by Vegas PBS Workforce programs in the last five years. This includes more than 506,000 residents of southern Nevada.

Vegas PBS offers an ever-growing menu of Workforce offerings, ranging from personal enrichment and continuing education to certification programs. Solt is quick to add that her department is not competing with other educational entities such as universities or community colleges. “We are filling a void, and often partner with those entities.”

Vegas PBS Workforce offers everything from a one-hour OSHA class to a 900-hour certification course. Classes range from as little as $3 to upwards of $5,000; the average cost is about $115. All classes are online, either instructor-led or self-paced. Clients can also use computers in the Workforce Training and Testing Lab at Vegas PBS.

Solt is no stranger to workforce development. She ran a similar program in Washington and at the College of Southern Nevada. Her experience also includes mergers and acquisitions as well as owning several businesses.

Solt does not want Workforce to be confused with a job bank, but added, “When you have a relationship with employers and have training programs that they use and trust, then it becomes likely they will hire individuals referred by us.”

Solt has high hopes for Vegas PBS Workforce. “We want to make sure we are evaluating and partnering appropriately in our community. We want to be seen as a partner to empower organizations and individuals.” She added, “It takes a whole community to be successful, and we want to be part of that success.”

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