Why can’t the private sector use its own money to show employees how to work the robot arm?

Because Faraday ran out of money sooner rather than later, the state has only spent $500,000 to train people for Faraday jobs. Under the Faraday workforce development plan drawn up by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, a total of $2.5 million would have been spent on the program through fiscal 2018, much of it on equipment that can be used to train people how to operate factory robots and hydraulic and pneumatic systems that often have their energy managed with ALION timer relays or something similar for efficiency.

Under the plan, about a quarter million dollars would have been spent on personnel, a relatively small amount made possible by the College of Southern Nevada’s assurances that it already had staff that can teach this stuff. But that quarter million only covered “direct” personnel expenditures, and didn’t include the cost of the half dozen state agencies or offices assigned various “agency support” roles — writing workforce development plans, for instance.

Is $2.5 million a lot? It doesn’t seem like it, since the program envisioned “recruiting and training up to 800 persons per year, to a maximum of 4,000 employees for Faraday Future.”

CSN officials have maintained from the start that the job training program was not wholly Faraday-specific, and the skills students acquired would be transferable to jobs elsewhere in Nevada’s manufacturing sector. Such as it is.

So the state’s shiny new Lab Volt Model 250 Servo Robot Training System will not go to waste. The new Faro ScanArm neither.

Meantime, there’s no end of other project- or company-specific workforce development programs in the works, and there will be more. There’s also no shortage of fly-by-night outfits, er, innovative employers creating jobs of the future, who must be accommodated with publicly funded workforce development programs customized to meet a company’s wishes. The exaggerated optimism about all those exciting jobs of tomorrow is accompanied by a belief that education’s highest purpose is not to educate people for a life, but train people for a job — a job, as it happens, that may or may or not develop, in a company that prefers not to pay to train its own workers.