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Transcript for February 2016

>> Alright so I want you to welcome Mechelle Merrill who's here from Nevada Division of Employment Training and Rehabilitation and she'll talk about employment opportunities with Nevada CPR agency. So we've got a small crowd here, but Michelle you will be our [inaudible] so I'm sure future students are going to look at your video and will be contacting you in the future. But we may have some other folks who will join in. But really want to thank you for taking the time and talk about employment opportunities here in Nevada, there in Nevada and welcome. So, so thanks so much.

>> Thank you very much Don [inaudible] I have really been looking forward to this presentation. And it's somewhat tongue and cheek why work in Nevada? I know that probably seems like a weird way to start, but there really are a lot of great reasons to consider employment with the State of Nevada in our Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation. I start with a picture of myself just so you know I'm real and I am a CRC, CPM and most importantly FDSU interwork Alum and it's served me really well in my career in Nevada. But one of the things I want to mention is that Nevada is a pretty big state in territory but we're pretty small state really when it comes to the number of people here.

 

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So you can be a relatively big fish in this pretty small pond, and I think that really is meaningful. I start by telling you that there are three very different Nevada's. A lot of time when people think about Nevada they think about Las Vegas. That's the thing that comes to mind most. But we really have three very different Nevada's by geography. Obviously there's Las Vegas and everything that you think about Las Vegas but we also have Reno or northern, northwestern Nevada which is although it does have gaming it's a really different place then southern Nevada and we'll get more into that. Then there's rural Nevada, which couldn't be more different then the other two if it tried. And each are uniquely beautiful and completely different. I start with some statistics about Las Vegas itself. Over two million people in Las Vegas. It's huge and that was in 2014. But it continues to rise. We suffered a lot through the economic downturn, as a state but, but we're certainly on the, on the growth spurt now. We've gown a lot and at a growth rate of 1.9, so it's not a huge percent. Housing prices in Vegas you can certainly buy million dollar mansion and you certainly can get fixer uppers but the median home price a little under $200,000.

 

 

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>> Yeah.

>> And housing prices have increased almost 10% in the last year. So you can see that they're rising again. And here in Nevada we worry about another bubble in the housing market. I want it to be relevant, to you, to you in Sand Diego so I did a little bit of cost comparison of what cost of living is. Pardon?

>> We were just laughing. That really stands out because there's nothing you can buy here for the median price 194.

>> And I thought that would be really relevant to you guys and it gets better. You can see that the blue line represents what San Diego costs to live at that Las Vegas is less in every way except for groceries. You know perhaps you have to truck things or plane things in a little further to get seafood and what not but you can certainly get everything. I think the housing prices would surely make up for the difference in groceries. But those two snapshots really show you something. Vegas is huge and most people have been there and they understand it's a huge desert valley and it's not high above sea level so it's going to be traditional desert. Very urban, you can certainly live in the outskirts but it's a huge city. And then you have Reno. And please stop me if you, if you want to ask questions. But Reno is the northwestern Nevada. It's at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It's a very different topography, geography every ography is different about northern Nevada from Southern Nevada.

 

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We sit here my house is almost 5,000 feet above sea level and so you do have to use the different, the different instructions when you bake a cake for example. You really do have to consider your altitude. It's, it's a very different place. It's a lot more like maybe Colorado in that respect. It feels a lot more like that. You get four seasons. It's very pretty. Las Vegas is not very green. Northern Nevada is very green. So again our population is much smaller 230 probably by now 235,000 annual growth rate is faster than Las Vegas. It's almost 3%. And housing prices are more expensive. Probably because there's not as much of it so you know smaller supply will create a more expensive housing market and our home values are going through the roof. 15% in the last year. So talk about a bubble. But you can see in the comparisons of San Diego to Reno blue line being San Diego again we're pretty, pretty below everything including groceries. So for you in San Diego it's going to be a pleasant surprise if you chose to come here. And I'll talk more about some of the perks of living in each of these communities. Any questions at this moment?

 

 

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>> No [inaudible].

>> Okay. I want to spend some time talking about rural Nevada. The largest city in rural Nevada is called Elko. It is if it means anything it's about the top third of the state on the very eastern border close to Utah. It is a pretty small community. 52,000 53,000 people. So to do a comparison that gives you a community that will have some major shopping is they will have grocery stores and you'll have hotels, you'll have gas stations and all your normal fast food type things. You're not going to probably have the major shopping center with a big anchor store like Bloomingdale's or Macy's. It won't be that big. But it will have everything that you will need to live and Amazon will bring you everything doesn't have. And the annual growth rate is, is healthy. I mean it's healthier than any other place else in the state. But keep in mind that Elko is driven by the mining industry. So mining is booming in Nevada right now. A very reasonable median home price $184,000 clearly you could spend more but you don't have to. And their housing prices have actually gone down because they've closed one of the copper mines out there, so you'll see a crazy roller coaster that almost means nothing because it will follow the whim of the mines. But if you work for state service you don't have to worry about that. Your job is safe. It's not based on mining economy and so you're buffered from that.

 

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And here you can see the comparison. I had to go to a different website but you know again most things are considerably cheaper then living in San Diego. I was frankly really surprised utilities are so much cheaper because they get snow out there and you don't. But overall it's still going to make your earnings stretch a little bit further. I put this slide up so you can really get a visual of what Nevada looks like because we are a big state. If you look at how big we are compared to Utah or California it's a big state but Las Vegas is at the very southern tip, Elko being in that top far right in northern Nevada Reno is being in that left corner. And it's far. People think oh we had literally we had people accept jobs in Elko and assume that they could drive to Reno. You cannot it's, it's about a 5 hour drive, no commute, but people really don't realize how big the state is. Well, hopefully that gives you a sense of, of where it all sits. If you live out in the eastern corridor of Elko we also have an office in Ely there, you would find that for most of your you know if you were going to fly out for example, you'll probably fly into Salt Lake City, that's a closer airport, for example then driving across to the other side of the state if you go to the airport in Reno for example. We have 13 offices state wide. So we have four in the north urban area, two in Reno, one in Sparks and one in Carson City and those are all within a half an hour's drive of each other, 30 miles. We are fortunate in every place except Las Vegas the number of miles will equal the number of minutes, because traffic is not a concern. You can assume that you're not going to sit in traffic.

 

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I know in Vega you never talk miles you talk minutes on the freeway. In the eastern part of the state we have four offices one in Elko, Ely, on in Winnemucca and Fallon. All of them are very rural, Ely being probably the most rural. It's a very small community. Elko probably be the biggies. And in Southern Nevada the urban center we have five offices. So we'll talk more about vacancies. I want to talk about where we have our current job opening. And this is just a snapshot of today. Nevada is a very transient state meaning that people come here for a lot of strange reasons. Some people come here literally because of the gambling and get stuck. Some people come here because of a boom of one industry or another being mining or right now a lot of it is renewable energy and solar and wind power. People are flocking here for those industries. People have flocked here for IT because we have Apple and Microsoft here. And so people flock here for different reasons, but as things ebb and flow they'll leave. So right now we have jobs in Elko front line services counselor. We have a job in Carson City for both rehab counselor with the general population, a supervising counselor in our Reno office on the general population. Actually that one may be transition as well. We have supervising counselor in Las Vega in the general population and we anticipate an opening for a rehab instructor with visually impaired in our Reno office. We also anticipate an opening for a VX supervisor in our Reno office and other openings that I'm liberty to talk about that I know are coming down the pike. So most importantly I'm sure you want to know what does that pay?

 

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Now remember be kind because it does not cost as much to live here . An entry level counselor and really we have an entry level counselor considered a rehab counselor too and our pay grade starts at pay grade 34 will be a range of $44,000 to $68, 000 or excuse me $65,000 and that is based on ten steps each year representing a step in service. Most of the time a person straight out of school start at step one. Then you let's say a few years experience working in another program perhaps in another state something that made you unique we might be able to argue -- start you at a higher step. But you top out at step ten. So if you started as a counselor two and started at step one and put ten years in you would be at $65,354 so and then a counselor three it's a higher grade so their step one starts a little higher as does there -- as there step ten is a little higher. There's a lot of opportunity for mobility in the state meaning that if you started with a two there's no reason to believe that you would not progress up to a three in within a fair frame of time. I myself started as a counselor two here and now I'm bureau chief. So again it's that big fish in a small pond concept. If you were a rehab counselor here in our state and this is kind of state wide statistics our averages are pretty low. We run about 75 clients on a case load. There have been times in our history where we been up to 120 on a case load and that is crazy making. I always say that when I'm training somebody that anything over 80 makes me personally uncomfortable because I like to see your face and remember your whole story. I don't want to have to pull up your file and as me as an individual I start to lose that ability after about 80 people. It's getting worse with age. We work on a two to one ratio meaning two counselors are served by one technician. So you get lots of attention from your clerical technical staff.

 

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We are not an order of selection state which is a beautiful thing. We really encourage innovations. A lot of our best ideas for program development and new ways of looking at things come from suggestions from our field staff. We have a team supervision structure, meaning that a team will be two counselors and a technician and then several teams will be supervised by one supervisor who does not carry a case load. There whole career is based on supporting their team to get lots of, of supervision and support. We believe in a culture of transparency. I don't like secrets with my staff. I like them to know what we're doing and I want them to know what I'm doing because that's the only way we can support each other. I think that's really important. Being a state agency you need to understand that if you work here what our legislature is doing that has impact on our careers. What is our governor doing? You know what's going on so that you understand how to plan accordingly? I think that's really important. And we offer flexible schedules. Some people work four tens some people chose to work you know come in a little later and stay a little later in the evening. Our offices are open from 7:30 in the morning until 5:30 in the evenings so clients can see us before work or after work a little bit and so you can flex within that, that as needed and with approval. We do have dedicated lines, transition and customized employment case loads. Those are three different kinds of case loads.

 

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Those you might find customized and transition in a blind case load. And so we do have the opportunity for people to specialize and really become subject matter experts and I think that's wonderful. I think that makes for a fulfilling life as a counselor because you can really become a master of your trade. We have strong collaboration with our partner agencies. Having worked in California I can tell you that it's so big that's it's hard to know necessarily who all the players are. In your community in Neveda, we're small enough even in Las Vegas that you really will know who your partners are and you'll have a fist name basis relationship that you can pick up the phone and have a conversation about your individual client with their service worker over at the regional center for example. So that's a real strong plus to me because you can get things done. We have a public employee retirement system PERS is offered in many states so it's very strong and very solid so your retirement is important. You get retirement a full 75% of your highest three years so let me put it this way. Let's say you work for 20 years with the agency. If your three highest years of pay will what they will base your retirement on and at retirement either you do 30 years service it doesn't matter how old you are. So myself I will retire at 60. I will have my 30 years in. And it doesn't matter for most people you don't retire you know until your 65 but I can retire at any point with 30 years or you can retire less as long as you meet the age requirement.

 

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And for people just joining state service now you would be able to get maximum 75% of your highest wage. We also allow people to be vested into the retirement system after five years of service. I know some places require ten years so we think that's still pretty good. We offer eleven paid holidays in addition to fourteen days that you can call in sick for no reason and fourteen days of vacation every year. So it's I think that pretty good. I'm not sure what California offers. I want to go in a little bit about each community. Some of the things that you might not know. In Reno we are the home to the Burning Man Counterculture Festival which is a huge it's a second picture of the huge statue of the women. It's an amazing festival that bring people from all over the world. When it is session for the week that it's in session it's the third largest city in the state so many people come to it. We have a pretty amazing B league baseball team. They don't less us have at least I should up until this point they have not allowed us to have major league baseball or football because of the gambling thing but we'll get to that. Tesla the automobile maker is here in northern Nevada. Switch which is the largest data warehouse in the country is here in northern Nevada. They also have a division in southern Nevada and Amazon dot com is here all their warehouses. We have four season and we have mountains so there's snow. We have Street Vibrations which is the largest motor cycle rally short of Stugis. We have snow skiing 20 miles away. 20 minutes up into the Sierra's which is very close to Reno and Lake Tahoe is about 25 minutes away by car. We have balloon races the Hot August Nights which is the largest classic car rally that lasts for a week.

 

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There's a picture in the bottom left there. It's amazing. Hundreds of classic cars come into the city and everybody just goes out and about. You have to love the parade. Everybody will go out in the streets in the summer time and look at the cars. It's pretty cool. We have hiking and water sports and camping and gambling and night life and museums. It's a small place but it's got everything. And we have a great university The University of Nevada Reno which unfortunately does not have a degree program in rehab counseling that's why we depend so strong on our partnership with San Diego State. In Las Vegas lots of cool things but lots of very different things. I say Riders with a question mark because everybody's talking about will we get the Raiders. I now we would like to have the Raiders. We'll see what happens. We're a little bit sports deprived here because we don't really have teams so literally on the evening news they will talk about what happened in the high school football games. It happens in Vegas too because they're so starved for sports. Kind of funny. Obviously there's gambling and gaming in Vegas. All the music you could want I mean JLo's in residency right now. There's always somebody in residency. There's always going to be the latest Broadway show will be there. All the European shows. Entertainment is certainly not at a loss there. Zappos everybody buys their shoes at Zappos. Zappos is in Vegas. Hoover Dam, the Red Rock Canyon is amazing for hiking. They have warm winters. I mean they have them into the 70's even in the winter. So it's a probably a lot more similar to what you're familiar with in Las Vegas.

 

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They filmed American Ninja Warrior there. We've got Lake Mead which is amazing for water sports. They ski up on Mount Charleston. That's about 11,000 feet. The largest domestic Ferris wheel called the eye it's like the one that they have in London which is really an observation wheel, you won't get car sick. And did you know that in Nevada they have no fleas or ticks? Your pets are safe. You supposed to think that's funny. Rural Nevada is again couldn't be more different then the other two. The other side of the state they have cowboy poetry festivals, and they've got Lamoille Canyon which is just the most beautiful canyon where just wild flowers all over the place. It's great for you'll see wild horses just walking out in the range. Wide open spaces great for hunting and fishing. There's skiing. Again the mining industry. There's a lot of old ghost towns from the 1800's that people love to go and go on archeological digs and find old glass and things. Lots of cowboy related stuff. There're opal mines and gold mines where you can actually go out there and mine for things on people's property. You pay for you know the opportunity to go out there and you can keep what you find. We have the Ichthyosaur State park because at one time Nevada was all underwater so our state dinosaur is actually a fish, which is great because we're a land locked state so. It's this enormous fish and you can go see its remains. The great Basin National Park which is a nation treasure. The Lehman cave with its stalactites and stalagmites are gorgeous. It's a small town lifestyle. You will know your neighbors. Your kids can play outside. You know not everybody locks their cars. It's that kind of a lifestyle. Very different. You will bump into your clients in the grocery store and you will know the businesses and the vendors on a first name basis. So it's different. And for some people it's the perfect fit. We have no state taxes. That's a good thing. You can thank gaming for that all that is paid for by gaming. And we're at 7.73% overall state tax. So it's not too bad. I don't' know what California's is. We have a really good looking state flag.

 

 

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>> It is --that is nice.

>> And I figured if you want to know a little bit more about us, these are our websites. And We Are Nevada is -- we have two websites really. We Are Nevada is the site that we always direct employers too. It has success stories and videos from our clients. It talks about all of the programs that we're running, the innovations that we're doing about our new branding and logo. So that would be one site to look at and we also have NVDETR.org which is our state web page where you want to see our policies and procedures and see how the nuts and bolts of what we do work. What a vendor would see those kinds of things. The state web page is Nevada.gov and if you wanted to look up our job postings at any given time it's that fourth bullet right there. It's the NEATS program and you can go in there and register and take a look at all the openings. We are under social services and rehabilitation so when you get to the page that shows you all the different kinds of jobs, remember social services and rehab that's where you'll find our openings. We have Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. Look at We are Nevada. And I've included a -- the last bullet is a link and I'm not sure if IT can play it or you can go to it on your own. They've put out a lot of videos talking about Nevada. And they're brief little commercials but they're pretty cute.

>> Michelle we're trying to play it right now.

 

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>> Great.

[ Silence ]

>> Which one Michelle?

>> The last one.

>> The last one.

[ Background Noise ]

[ Inaudible Comment ]

>> Is it a video Michelle or is it pictures?

>> It's a video from Nevada Chapel Website the state put together. And it's really not a big deal. I mean maybe after I sign off if you have the ability to get to it you could. It's mostly just cute. If you haven't noticed yet, Nevada really likes Nevada. I grew up in southern California and never in my life would I have worn like a sweatshirt with the name of California written on it. Everybody wears Nevada gear here. Nevada loves Nevada. And you don't have to be from here to feel that way.

 

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[ Background Noise ]

>> Should I take it as a no on the video?

>> Yeah. Yeah. I'm [inaudible].

>> Okay. I can.

>> We'll share the link.

>> Yeah just share the link and take a look at them. They're pretty cute. The tourism board put together some cute videos but mostly I just wanted to thank you for your time and leave some time for questions.

>> Yeah, we've got a three students here. So let's open it up to you guys. What questions do you have?

>> At least they have their own questions.

>> A lot of great information thank you.

>> Your welcome. Please keep checking back to our job posting web site or you can literally just communicate with me too and Chuck knows how to find me because we're desperate right now. I've got an opening in my Carson City office that's been open for months now. I, I cannot find people who are CRT qualified. Our state does not require that you have your CRT but we require that you be eligible to sit for it, which basically means your masters in rehab. And I'm telling you I cannot get somebody who's qualified. So you would be very beloved and appreciated if you chose to come to Nevada.

 

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>> Hey Mechelle?

>> Yes. We might help with moving expenses.

>> Yeah, I was just going to ask about that. Yeah.

>> Yeah it's in our policy. We do have the ability to help with it. Typically what they would tell a person is if they accepted the position then we would ask them to go out and get the quotes what is it going to cost? And we you know like a moving truck and things. They would pay for the truck and they would provide a per diem amount so that you could you know drive the truck up here and get here. They've been pretty generous about that over the years. They know that we're pretty desperate, so they want to help us when they can. That's about it.

 

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>> Mechelle?

>> Yes.

>> You know so in California to apply for DOR positions, they require you to take a, a state exam which is more or less like kind of a doing a self examination of your different skills and competencies. To apply for any of the jobs you talked about, like do they do the students have to take --is there like a Nevada state exam or how -- how, how exactly does that work?

>> Great question. We are not that complicated. They will ask you -- when you go to the web site and you click on the specific job opportunity at the bottom there will be a place that says apply. And there's a format which is really the job application that you can fill out on line, sign it electronically and submit it. You can also upload like if you wanted to upload your CRT or anything else you wanted to upload a resume, you can upload them in that same place and that would -- what it does on my end it the human resources folks will go through and they will certify the applicant as meeting the minimum requirements for this job and put them on the list and then I will schedule interviews or my team will we'll schedule interviews and we'll probably do phone interviews if the person doesn't chose to come up here in person. And there is no state test.

>> Okay. That's great. Makes it a lot easier.

>> Yes it does. And we do a lot of interviews by phone. And sometimes it will turn into a second interview, sometimes we just know and we hire the person on the first interview.

>> Wow. Nika [phonetic]. And you talked about the re-out counseling two and three positions from the the different range of funding.

 

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>> Uh huh.

>> So you -- the applicant comes in with a CRC would they be bumped up to a higher level?

>> No unfortunately no because you know it has more to do with experience.

>> Okay.

>> So if the person started out at a rehab two I think they have to have I can't remember if it's one or two years experience then they can promote. They have to apply and be interviewed and then promoted to the, to the counselor three. It happens all the time. It's kind of the natural progression of things. We want to see that happen. We like to promote from within.

>> Yeah. Yeah, I would guess the, the, the progression to, to get into supervisor positions, it could go pretty quickly compared to other places.

>> Yeah it can. And I think it I'd have to check. I apologize for not having on the tip of my tongue. I think it is one year minimum experience as a supervisor and you can get the by being a counselor two. And really I've been with this agency 19 years and started as a two and, and I think that's it's really a healthy system in that it, it gives you a chance to learn the job. It takes and I've seen it over and over again, it takes at least a year or two to really learn this job. When a person first gets hired, they will sign their first work performance standard that they agree to is really a probationary work performance standard and it has -- because obviously all we have worked on quotas of how many people we expect you to get successfully employed, but we drop that requirement in half for our first year counselor because we know. You're, you're going to be absorbed with learning the job. And with all deference to my alma mater school prepares you but it's not the same as doing it on the job.

 

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>> Yeah, absolutely.

>> And so we know that it takes some time to really get it down in practice to apply what you've learned in school and put it to practice. So we give you that year, we give you a significant break to kind of learn it and get good at it.

>> Yeah.

[ Inaudible Comment ]

>> Do you have any paid internships right now? Is that a possibility?

>> At any given time we have two paid internship positions that we hold and I don't believe either of them is full. I think we just the last intern we just promoted up to a counselor.

>> Yeah.

>> So I think there are two of them. And if somebody was interested, because I'm not sure if they're posted right now I'd have to go post them. But I could.

>> So could the, could the student talk to you to see if that's possible when they get to that point.

>> Yes.

>> Okay. Okay.

>> Yeah. IN fact we hire lots of San Diego interns over the years.

>> Sounds great.

 

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>> How does that work? Mechelle how does that work? My name is Maria and I lived in Nevada for 25 years. My family's here in San Diego so I thought I would come back. But I'm really missing Nevada. So I'm in my first year and second semester, so I wondered how do, how do you handle the interns?

>> When it gets to the point in your, in your course work that you meet your internship requirement, you could come do it here. We have CRT's that would be willing to supervise and we pay our interns. It's, it's the end of your program.

>> Okay. Okay.

>> And you know we've had students do internships out of the state, out of the country so definitely you know Maria you could do that.

>> Okay.

>> You could take part of the internship discussion by Skype or by phone with the instructors so that's not a problem.

>> Oh okay great. Yeah. Yeah my motivation -- my, my daughter lives in Spark so I'm kind of I have.

>> There you go.

>> Yeah. Yeah. So. Thank you.

>> Yeah it's, it's a pretty common thing and San Diego State is our contracted training provider. So the learning you're getting would probably really resonate if you worked in Nevada because Nevada is probably most heavily influenced by Interwork Institute and San Diego State. That's our training provider.

>> Good.

>> In fact San Diego State staff are the ones that come ask Chad Compton is our liaison for training and he's my next phone call when I hang up with you.

>> And you know Mechelle I think you may have said this you have a lot of the staff around the agency that are from San Diego State you know like yourself but there's other, other counselors who've graduated from our program.

 

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>> Uh huh.

>> Yeah.

>> Absolutely. And like I said it's your education is very valued to us here in Nevada and unlike a lot of program that we all know are kind of shady, San Diego is not a shady program. We are very proud of the program and, and proud to be affiliated with it.

>> Whew. We're laughing thinking ah that's good.

>> Hey that's my school be nice.

>> So.

>> Either.

>> Oh I didn't mention that we have about I guess between counselors, technicians, support staff all told probably around 175 staff here in Nevada working for the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation and Services to the Blind. We're kind of we're a combined agency. We're not separate. Which is probably the bigger than than some counties in California but. But there's something to be said about being the big fish.

>> Yeah. Yeah.

>> Any other question I can answer for you?

>> Alright Mechelle we really appreciate your time. It, it was very interesting and it makes me want to visit Nevada I mean like, like it's been a while since I've been there. It seems like there's a lot of great opportunities and we really appreciate you know sharing your time. We defiantly will promote all the things going on in Nevada. We, we have your presentation recorded and we will put it on our website. You know we really appreciate you spending time with us. It was really interesting material.

>> Thank you and please make sure you share the hand out of this presentation. Anybody interested we need people.

>> Okay. Alright.

>> See you. Bye.

>> Alright.

>> Thank you all.

 

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