Southern Nevada Trades High School to open next fall

Dive Brief:

  • In a little under a year, Southern Nevada Trades High School will welcome its first students. Nevada’s Public Charter School Authority board voted unanimously last month to approve the creation of the facility. 
  • The public charter school comes as the demand for construction workers, both in Nevada and nationwide, continues to increase dramatically. “In the next 10 years there will be a need for a 34.5% increase in construction workers in Nevada,” Julie Carver, executive director for SNTHS told Construction Dive. “There is a demand for workers that is not being met.”
  • The initial student body of 200 ninth and tenth graders will get hands-on career technical education in the classroom and workshop and on the jobsite, with the goal of moving into construction-related careers immediately upon graduating.

Dive Insight:

SNTHS will model some of its curriculum after ACE High School in Reno, Nevada, another construction-focused charter high school. Carver worked with ACE to get a sense for how it operates and what to take away from it.

Bob DeRuse, director of ACE, said the 20-year-old school has roughly 230 students between ninth and twelfth grade. The challenge for ACE has always been showcasing to the local population, especially younger people, the vast number of high-paying, highly technical careers in construction, DeRuse said.

At ACE, students have worked with various tools and machinery, built houses (roughly one every two years) and taken car engines apart.

Carver said SNTHS will rely on the community to hear more about what programs to include in its curriculum. Nevertheless, she said in 2026, the first graduating class would be “career and college ready,” meaning prepared to find a construction job or pursue higher education. 

Modeling ACE’s approach, SNTHS will ensure students obtain their OSHA 10 certification, as well as other trade credentials. 

“They will have marketable skills to support them and their families,” Carver said. “We surveyed local families and found that … over 71% felt that it was important for their student to be prepared to get a high-needs job directly out of high school.”

DeRuse said the community benefits from ACE’s career technical education when students graduate and work locally. 

“I’m always impressed with the construction industry,” DeRuse said. “It always steps up and tries to help the community. If you just keep working at it, it’ll pay off.”

Leave a comment