Tesla contacted the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) in December 2014 just a few months after the announcement that Northern Nevada will be the location of their new Gigafactory. The motive? Tesla has a standard university internship program that they conduct in many universities as a way to find top talent. Applicants from across the country came for a chance to join Tesla following their announcement that they’re looking to fill 350 internship positions this summer in California. This is one way Tesla keeps a pipeline of skilled workers coming by partnering with academic institutions. Tesla hosted a prelude informational meeting the night before the “Summer Job & Internship Expo”. The event was hosted at the UNR campus with more than 50 businesses ranging from non-profit organizations to Fortune 500 companies attending.
It was standing room only as attendees jammed into a room to hear what it would be like to work for Tesla. The next day there were more than 300 applicants who waited in line for three hours just to be able to make a brief introduction to Tesla. Applicants were advised to ‘dress to impress and have a well-polished resume as interviews might be offered on the spot.
Tesla is staging a job fair at UNR this semester pic.twitter.com/07MTt6fPOl
— Brian Duggan (@brianduggan) February 4, 2015
Tesla was looking at three primary areas: the College of Business, the College of Science and the College of Engineering for positions such as accountants, human resource professionals, project managers, chemists, and engineers trained in high-tech advanced manufacturing. They’re looking to develop a talent pipeline that could potentially be trained in the Bay Area but relocate to Reno once the Gigafactory is up and running. The Tesla Gigafactory is projected to open in 2017 with completion anticipated for 2020. This opens the door to a permanent job with the company.
Because of the popular response, a bigger Expo with more than 100 employers will be hosted on March 12th, 2015 from 10am to 3pm at the Lawlor Event Center. For those who missed Tesla’s previous hiring event and/or looking for a 2nd chance to interview with Tesla, this will be the event to attend.
The demand for lithium will drastically increase once the Gigafactory is fully operational. “Right now world consumption of lithium is pretty constant, we use it in a lot of different ways – for batteries in cameras, phones, computers,” Carl Nesbitt, associate professor of mining engineering in the College of Science at UNR said. “What the Tesla plant shows is a huge increase in demand for lithium, estimated at perhaps twice the current consumption. It’s got to come from somewhere, and Nevada is poised to start producing.”
“Nevada is the only place in the northern hemisphere that mines and produces lithium, competing with South American mines in Chile and Bolivia. A mine located near Tonopah currently produces lithium carbonate, the precursor product for lithium batteries, and many prospects have been found in northern Nevada, north of Reno, that will be ready for production to meet the increased demand.” Stated UNR.
“Nevada is number four in the world producing gold and we’re a leading producer of silver, but what this allows us to do is put a spotlight on the potential we have for lithium,” Nesbitt said. “Chemists in the College of Science are also exploring the electrochemistry of battery technology and how to improve the chemical reactions that make batteries work.”
The choice of Nevada for Tesla’s Gigafactory, the resources our land provides and the skills from the University of Nevada, Reno students and professors creates a partnership that compliments the area.