Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) could be facing scarcity of skilled workers in Nevada, where the company has decided to setup its Gigafactory that will create 6,500 full-time jobs in the area. Nevada had to make a big push for Tesla as the state faced 14% unemployment just four years ago. However, Nevada is already struggling to diversify its economy, and skilled workers are one of the prerequisites for the new facility.
Tesla partly to blame for shortage
The problem was first cited by a new report released by Brookings Mountain West on Wednesday, which noted the “STEM deficit” in the state would be further heightened by the Tesla effect. According to the report, Nevada is facing challenges in finding skilled workers in the field of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). According to Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director of Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy program, Nevada will find it difficult to diversify its economy unless it finds skilled workers. And the problem will only get worse after Tesla decides to set up its Gigafactory, as other companies are also looking forward to Nevada.
“Nevada has a plausible economic diversification strategy that’s beginning to work,” Muro said. “Now it needs a serious people strategy — and STEM has to be part of it.” The report noted that on an average 30 days are required to fill a STEM job opening in Nevada against 24 days to fill a non-STEM position according to the report.
Tesla should be concerned over the skilled worker shortage in the state, and the report suggests that around 170,000 or approximately 15% of the total available jobs require a high-level of knowledge of at least one STEM skill.
Education level need upliftment
One of the issues is that many jobs require only a community college certificate, so very few Nevadans have gone for STEM training. This means that few Nevadans are eligible to participate in the state’s emerging STEM economy. According to the study, the roots of “STEM proficiency crisis” can be traced to the prekindergarten level.
Along with university trained scientists and engineers, Nevada requires “thousands of more blue-collar STEM workers” to operate and run high-tech machines, as does Tesla. “There will be designers and developers and engineers, but also thousands of middle-skill assembly line people that will make it all work,” Muro said.
Dale Erquiaga, Nevada’s superintendent of public instruction, said that the report is a warning to the state’s school districts that they need to enhance instruction in math and science.