In the wake of unprecedented civil unrest, Nevada Partners launched in 1992 as a solution to the despair and hopelessness that destroyed the Westside during the West Las Vegas Riots. Rioting erupted the day after four Los Angeles Police Department officers were acquitted in the highly publicized beating of Rodney King. Even though the West Las Vegas Riots existed in the shadows of the more famous Los Angeles Riots, it was just as damaging and dangerous. West Las Vegas rioters destroyed an entire strip mall, two police substations and torched a gas station. Fire crews and ambulances were escorted by police in the riot areas to battle blazes and carry out the injured but retreated due to gunfire. Two dozen people suffered injuries and an 18-year-old Rancho High school student lost his life. As a result, sixteen schools were closed, mail delivery was canceled, government offices were shut down, and numerous privately-owned businesses were destroyed. The Las Vegas Fire Department officially assessed the damages to be approximately $6 million.
While the destruction negatively affected many lives, the emotions of being oppressed and treated unjustly emerged as the central pain point. Governor Bob Miller, City of Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones, and many others met with pastors and community leaders to address the real issues plaguing Westside residents, like high unemployment, trauma, violence, food insecurity, crime and under-performing schools. The idea of establishing Nevada Partners, a trusted organization dedicated to responding to community needs, was born. Many others contributed to the momentum, including the Mirage Corporation, Nevada Power, Bank of America, the Horseshoe Hotel, MGM, and particularly casino developer, Kirk Kerkorian, who personally donated more than a million dollars to establish the 10-acre campus where Nevada Partners still calls home in the heart of West Las Vegas.
Nevada Partners’ mission is to build a healthy, sustainable community where all residents achieve their full potential through effective education, meaningful employment, safe and affordable housing, and vibrant civic and cultural engagement. Since its founding nearly 30 years ago, Nevada Partners has trained thousands of residents for the workforce and administered more than $40 million in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs and services, while exceeding federal measures. One of the state’s largest workforce development agencies, Nevada Partners has been recognized by the White House as a model workforce program. Over the last five years, our services have resulted in a return on investment of over $50 million in wages earned by residents.
Additionally, Nevada Partners works to increase economic empowerment among residents and helps residents reduce debt, increase savings, improve credit and establish safe banking relationships. Ultimately, the key to building wealth is homeownership. As a result of our work in this area, Nevada Partners has been recognized by the United States Senate for our contributions and achievements in the real estate industry through our first-time homebuyer program generating more than $3 million annually in down payment assistance. Over the last five years:
In alignment with our growth strategy, last year, Nevada Partners opened a 16,800 square foot Community Learning Center (CLC), which is a site and strategy for our place-based, collective impact approach, the West Las Vegas Promise Neighborhood. Promise Neighborhoods are successful in breaking the cycle of generational poverty in areas of concentrated poverty. Ultimately, Nevada Partners creates opportunities by simultaneously equipping families with a cradle-to-career continuum of educational and employment opportunities that propel distressed communities toward economic equality and long-term economic success.