Grant helps GBC students pay for school

Students at Great Basin College — 181 to be exact — have been able to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with the help of the Supporting and Advancing Nevada’s Dislocated Individuals (SANDI) grant. 

The SANDI grant was designed by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation (GOWINN) and other collaboratives to “support career pathways for dislocated, unemployed, and new job-seeking Nevadans who have been adversely affected by the pandemic.”

The grant is helping to address Nevada’s workforce issues by providing skills to recipients for “in-demand” fields and helping students to reach their education and career goals. So far, more than 500 students have had access to free education programs for STEM careers through the SANDI grant. 

Nevada’s current unemployment rate is 4.4 percent as of July, 2022, compared to the national rate of 3.5 percent, according to stats from Nevada’s Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation. 

“The whole purpose of this program is how we can help individuals — not just with jobs, but getting into a career,” said the Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation Grants and Programs Manager, Kristen Dwyer. 

Great Basin College student, Bailey Raabe, was able to receive total reimbursement for a Certified Nursing Assistant course she took at GBC. 

When asked how the SANDI grant has influenced her career path, Raabe said, “College has gotten a lot more expensive within the last couple years, so it has really given me the opportunity to pursue the field I want since it’s a field that is a little more expensive.”

According to GBC Career Navigator, Antonio Villalobos, GBC has been able to approve over 90 percent of all the applicants that have applied for the SANDI grant.

Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation, Lisa Levine, said in a press release that “The SANDI grant has helped to transform the lives of Nevadans by equipping them with the skills they need to succeed, while strengthening a workforce development infrastructure in the State that is innovative and responsive to employer needs,” and “We are committed to continuing to support career pathways for Nevadans to increase labor force participation and diversify Nevada’s workforce.”

Another GBC student and SANDI grant recipient, Kaylene King, said in an email that “as a recipient of the grant, it made my semester experience much smoother. Don’t fear that your ambition to develop or refine your skills are displaced because of finances. I highly encourage anyone who wants to enter direct patient care to take advantage of this amazing program.”

King was awarded the SANDI grant in the summer of 2022 and has used it to cover costs as she goes through GBC’s Advanced Emergency Medical Services program with the goal of working at Humboldt General Hospital. 

“The SANDI Grant was able to give me the final push to jumpstart my transition process towards direct patient care. I achieved new skills that will benefit my community, and in turn, eased the financial burden education can be,” said King. 

GBC student, Cody Vess, is also pursuing certifications to be an Emergency Medical Technician and an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician in the future. He said the SANDI grant covered all the expenses for his courses like lab fees, uniforms, and books.

Like King, he said that the grant helped him financially and encourages other students to apply. 

Students interested in GBC courses like commercial driving, nursing, emergency medical services, welding, data analysis, becoming a millwright, coding, or a multitude of others, should apply for the grant. 

Villalobos said that those interested can contact him directly through GBC or go to to send in an application. After review, applicants will be reached by phone for an initial interview to further determine eligibility.