Sustaining the Healthcare Talent Pipeline for Pershing County


Contact: Gregory Bortolin, 
Director of Communications (775) 687-9917

March 28, 2023

CARSON CITY, Nev. – The Supporting Advancing Nevada’s Dislocated Individuals (Project SANDI) Certified Nursing Assistant program through Great Basin College is now available to Pershing County’s youngest emerging professionals. A renewed set of partnerships facilitated through the SANDI Project, has landed four high school seniors in a Certified Nursing Assistant training program through Great Basin College’s distance education program. Class starts today.

Administered through the Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation (GOWINN) and the Governor’s office of Economic Development (GOED), Project SANDI’s priorities include full virtual reality experiences that function as a supplement to training programs leading to industry recognized credentials. Gina Johnson, BSN, RN, and the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Program Coordinator for Great Basin College (GBC) in Elko, is leveraging virtual reality course enhancements as a cutting -edge approach to distance learning. In tandem with virtual reality publisher Lifeliqe, they’re credited for covering human body organs, body system monitoring and infection control in headset virtual reality.

Pershing County High School Librarian, Shelly Nee engaged high school seniors in exploring the world of work through a SANDI library of virtual reality resources, including healthcare field trips to various clinical environments. Librarian Tammy Westergard, now Governor’s Office of Economic Development Project SANDI Coordinator, and Nee aligned community partners to include the Pershing General Hospital Board, hospital administration, the Pershing Healthcare Foundation, Pershing County High School administration, teachers and volunteers to support the seniors at Pershing County High School.

“One of Nevada’s limiting factors to economic development is healthcare,” said Pershing County General Hospital Trustee Ted Bendure.” The hospital relies on travel nursing to main proper levels of care, which is costly says Brandon Chadock Administrator of the Pershing General Hospital.

“Ideally, everyone lives in the community. That would be the perfect situation,” said Bendure.

Training course listings in the SANDI catalog, surface through the Nevada Career Explorer a career information database accessible to all Nevadans through their public library, raises awareness among students about the availability of courses eligible for SANDI tuition and those with instructional virtual reality components.

“I can assign students to go to the library to check out a virtual reality headset and when worn the CNA content will function like a second teacher, the clinical work environment, and the textbook all in one,” says Johnson.


About the Governor’s Office of Economic Development

Created during the 2011 session of the Nevada Legislature, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development is the result of a collaborative effort between the Nevada Legislature and the Governor’s Office to restructure economic development in the state. GOED’s role is to promote a robust, diversified and prosperous economy in Nevada, to stimulate business expansion and retention, encourage entrepreneurial enterprise, attract new businesses and facilitate community development.


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