LAS VEGAS (FOX5) — Although Nevada has the second-highest unemployment rate in the U.S., one industry needs skilled workers.
The president of the Nevada Mining Association Tyre Gray says the Silver State's founding industry needs labor.
“We are defiantly still rerouting,” said Gray. “The mining industry typically runs about 300 jobs beneath where it should be. Even in the pandemic there are still mining companies still looking for employees.”
The industry needs a diverse workforce of mechanics, accountants, lawyers, and more. The industry also has a global reach, which is something a pandemic can wreak havoc on.
Gray says pandemic preparations from before COVID-19 have helped keep transmission at bay in mining workplaces.
“Our ability to adapt to the pressures of the pandemic has been marvelous,” Gray said. “A lot of people would be surprised to know that we had people trained in Ebola protocols and other protocols here in Nevada because mining is part of the global landscape. So, when the pandemic happened, we were in a good place to respond and act quickly.”
Mining is the twelfth largest industry and is present in 15 of the 17 counties in the state, according to Gray.
Although the global economy and manufacturing slowed overall, Gray says mining still has a demand for skilled workers. To try to fill the need, the association has partnered with local partners to recruit.
“One of the things we are doing here in Clark County with Nevada Partners and Project 354 workforce connections to create opportunities for young people to enter into the mining center,” Gray said.
Gray is the first African American to be the president of the Nevada Mining Association. He said he is taking his experiences both to get the industry the skilled labor it needs, and to diversify the workforce.
Gray said there is a low percent of workers in the industry who are African American.
“A really low percentage, unfortunately. And we are doing a lot about that in order to diversify the workforce,” Gray said.
As Nevada moves out of this pandemic and looks to diversify its economy, Gray is pushing for the industry that has been with the state since the beginning.
“If we are not looking forward to the future, then we are going to get caught in the past,” he said.