Nevada's Workforce Innovation News
July 19, 2021 | Issue 1
I am incredibly honored to serve as the Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Workforce Innovation (GOWINN) and it is my pleasure to share our new newsletter with you. As Nevada transitions into recovery, our office will use this newsletter to share opportunities for collaboration, calls to action, requests for proposals, and system-relevant updates and announcements from industry, education, non-profit, and public sector partners. This first issue will address some big news from our office, feature the scope of our work, and introduce you to our stellar staff. It is our honor to work for Nevadans, develop and provide innovative workforce opportunities in collaboration with our amazing partners, and create well-lit pathways for Nevadans to find meaningful careers. We look forward to sharing more information in the coming months.

Warmest Regards,
Isla Young

Executive Director
Nevada Governor's Office of Workforce Innovation
Major Updates!
In June 2021, Governor Sisolak signed AB459, establishing an administrative relationship between the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) and the Governor's Office of Workforce Innovation. This relationship will strengthen the HR and financial management support for the Governor's Office of Workforce Innovation and the more than $20M in grant funding the office is now managing. Director Young will continue to report to the Governor and the office and staff will remain the same.

With that, OWINN's acronym was formally changed to GOWINN! Bear with us while we change our logo and graphics.

As of July 1, 2021, the Nevada State Apprenticeship Council and State Apprenticeship Director, Richard Williams, will be housed within the Office of the Labor Commissioner. Director Williams can be reached at

GOWINN can be reached by email at or by phone (702) 486-8080.
GOWINN's Key Priorities
Established in 2016, and codified in state statute in 2017, the Governor's Office of Workforce Innovation (GOWINN) helps drive a skilled, diverse, and aligned workforce in the state of Nevada by promoting cooperation and collaboration among all entities engaged in workforce development.

The following responsibilities are administered by the GOWINN team as directed by State Statute, Executive Order, and operational policies:

In addition to these formal responsibilities, GOWINN supports a number of inter-agency projects:
  • Collaboration with the Nevada Department of Education to integrate Nepris into Nevada middle & high schools and engage Nevada employers
  • Collaboration with the Nevada Department of Education to support the state's Teacher Externship Program
  • The expansion of non-construction apprenticeships

GOWINN is currently managing several important workforce development grants to support the alignment of resources and reduction of barriers for accessing well-lit career pathways for all Nevadans:
  • Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant (Project SANDI): $13,818,298.92; SANDI will support training dislocated workers, the underemployed, and new job seekers in high-priority industries. Under SANDI, work is also being done to strengthen the Nevada Career Explorer tool to round out and align the robust resources. SANDI supported the purchase of 500 Virtual Reality goggles that are housed in the state library system and is supporting the development of VR curriculum aligned to in-demand occupations.
  • State Apprenticeship Expansion, Equity and Innovation Grant (Project ANAA): $3,999,997; This recently awarded grant will create new, and expand existing, Registered Apprenticeship Programs to connect underrepresented individuals to in-demand career pathways. It will also help reduce the risk for the adoption of these programs with resources for employers and intermediary management support.
  • H-1B Rural Healthcare Grant: $2,500,000; Working in partnership with the Northern Nevada Workforce Board, this grant will increase access to healthcare training in rural communities.
  • State Apprenticeship Expansion 2020 Grant: $450,000; This award is designed to support related technical instruction, tuition, outreach, and other resources to expand the number of Registered Apprenticeships in Nevada focused on non-construction apprenticeship programs in healthcare, IT, manufacturing, and more.
  • National Governor's Association, Workforce Innovation Grant: $100,000; Inspired by Governor Sisolak's vision for a Nevada Job Force to assist adult and dislocated workers impacted by the COIVD-19 recession, this grant brings state agencies together with a contractor to identify gaps and opportunities and outline a strategic plan for moving the state systems forward.
  • National Governor's Association, Work-Based Learning Mentor State Grant: $100,000; This grant recognizes Nevada's leadership around several Work-Based Learning initiatives and resources and provides space for GOWINN staff to mentor, and access resources to learn from, other state teams.
Secretary Walsh Visits Las Vegas
On June 22, 2021, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh made an announcement with Governor Sisolak that GOWINN has received a $4M grant for apprenticeships. “This is going to give us an opportunity to help people retrain, restart their lives...,” Governor Sisolak said.

This apprenticeship grant will target the healthcare, technology, and advanced manufacturing industries.
Meet the GOWINN Team
Isla Young, Executive Director
Isla has more than two decades of experience in education, workforce development, and developing opportunities to support positive change for people and communities. A native of Hawaii, she joined GOWINN in 2018 and was appointed Executive Director by Governor Sisolak in 2021.
Ansara Martino, Senior Program Administrator/Officer
Ansara has been part of the GOWINN team since its inception in 2016. She provides financial, administrative, and operational leadership to the team and is the lead for navigating the state and federal systems and processes.
Kristen Dwyer, Grants and Programs Manager
Kristen joined the GOWINN team in May 2021 and oversees the programmatic and fiscal management of all of our grants. She is the point of contact for our grantees.
Andres Feijoo, Policy Analyst, and Liaison to the Governor's Workforce Development Board (GWDB)
By leading the operations and implementing the strategic direction and priorities of the Governor's Workforce Development Board, Andres helps the board serve its role in developing and continuously improving Nevada's workforce development system. Andres joined GOWINN in 2018.
Amy Fleming, Program Development and Engagement Specialist
Amy joined the GOWINN team in March 2021 and is responsible for program development and partner and employer engagement. She is overseeing the revitalization of the state's industry sector councils, industry engagement for teacher externships, and the rollout of Nepris.
Chelsea Galvan, Executive Assistant
Chelsea supports administrative activities for Director Young and the rest of the team. She transitioned to the team in May 2021 from the state's Department of Welfare and Social Services and is engaged with all of the various meetings and programmatic activities of the GOWINN team.
Zachary Heit, Strategic Data Manager
Zach has also been with the GOWINN team since 2016. He manages activity and engagement related to the state's longitudinal data system, NPWR.
Caryn Swobe, Northern Nevada Policy and Community Strategist
Caryn is another member of the team that has been with GOWINN since 2016. As most of the GOWINN team is based in Southern Nevada, Caryn maintains important relationships with business and education leaders in the Reno and Carson City areas.
Gabriela Villafuerte, Grants and Contracts Manager
The newest member of the team, Gaby joined GOWINN in June 2021. She supports the grant management team and manages all of the various partner contracts, as well as fiscal and programmatic reviews and audits.
Eileen Woltz, Assistant Coordinator/Apprenticeship Assistant
Eileen ensures the timely completion of administrative responsibilities for grants and projects through effective time management, recordkeeping, and working relationships with GOWINN staff, grants and projects fiscal and programmatic staff, workforce development partners, and other state agencies.
What's to Come
GOWINN Updates
We'll send periodic updates and announcements regarding GOWINN's work related to grants, the Governor's Workforce Development Board, Industry Sector Councils, and many more topics!
Partner Updates
We are delighted to have a platform to share the incredible work of our employer, education, workforce, and agency partners across the state. Please send updates to
Opportunities, Resources, and Calls-to-Action
GOWINN will be using this space to share RFP announcements and other opportunities to engage with our agency & partners.
Between newsletters, updates are shared regularly via our social media channels. Please follow our pages listed below to stay informed.