Nevada Associate Superintendent for School Improvement Justin Gross joined the Nevada School Board Monday night to update board members on the district’s developing apprenticeship program.

Gross has been contacting local businesses to gauge their interest in providing apprenticeship opportunities to Nevada students. As currently planned, students would start an apprenticeship in their junior year of high school, taking classes from either Nevada or DMACC half the time and onsite job training the other half.

Gross is still looking for area businesses to participate in addition to ALMACO and PMI, which are already onboard. The school also hopes to use its own welding and greenhouse facilities for parts of this program when applicable. Gross hopes to have the first student start an apprenticeship next summer.

Gross mentioned that area employers are on board with programs like these; he recently attended a meeting where he learned Story County is expecting 623 new jobs next year – 165 of which will be manufacturing. These numbers don’t take into account any retirements from those currently in the workforce.

Gross also gave a short presentation on the district’s Innovation Camp on June 24-28. The week-long camp is designed to teach students valuable hands-on skills by participating in different modules, from 8 a.m.–3:45 p.m. daily (lunch will be available on site). Past modules include taking old electronics or machines apart to see how they work, making a cupcake launcher and using robots to navigate a customized course. One of the modules for this year is titled FarmTech.

In other news, the board approved an increase in substitute teacher pay to $120 from $110 per day.

The next board meeting will be held June 10 at 6:30 p.m.