By John Seelmeyer, Northern Nevada Business Weekly
College students in Northern Nevada are looking west — far, far west — as they develop skills that will help them do business in China after graduation.
But the number of grownups who are taking Chinese-language classes through adult education has slumped in recent months.
College students who prepare themselves to do business in China will find a growing opportunity, says the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
In 2011, exports from Nevada to China totaled more than $600 million. The state’s exports to China are larger than its exports to Mexico and Japan combined, and they are growing quickly.
Lead by items ranging from copper ore to sophisticated electronic assemblies, exports to China from Nevada last year rose nearly 26 percent from a year earlier, the state says.
Students at the University of Nevada, Reno, are preparing to seize the opportunity.
Chinese-language classes — a series of four courses, each one semester long — have been filling rapidly, says Darrell Lockhart, the chair of UNR’s foreign languages and literature department. Enrollment in each class is capped at 25.
A class on Chinese culture, which is taught in English, also has been drawing strong interest in recent years, says Lockhart.