- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval will be adding new stamps to his passport after departing this week for a trade mission to five European countries.

State economic development officials said the trip, which kicks off this weekend and runs through Aug. 6, is aimed at educating foreign business, education and political leaders about opportunities in Nevada. About 60-70 people are going, including higher education and business representatives from Nevada.

First lady Kathleen Sandoval will be doing official business on her issues of interest, including food security and homelessness, and Sandoval’s three children will be going on the governor’s personal dime.

Here’s a sampling of the agenda in each of the countries:

IRELAND AND ENGLAND

Representatives from Nevada’s Water Center for Excellence, which helps match water researchers in Nevada with businesses that can use their expertise, are meeting with water technology experts in Ireland and England.

Steve Hill of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development said Dublin is the headquarters for water research for IBM’s Smarter Cities initiative, which aims to help cities improve their operations with new technology.

Sandoval said the delegation may also meet with members of the British parliament during the trip.

POLAND

Members of the delegation are trying to shore up relationships with Polish businesses, which are increasingly looking to expand into U.S. markets. Poland is expected to open up its first trade offices in the U.S. in Las Vegas and Reno.

Sandoval said he wants any Polish companies who expand into American markets to move to Nevada first.

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GERMANY

Nevada officials want to explore Germany’s workforce development programs, which put teenagers on a path to a vocation early and allows them to leave the workforce for training when they’re ready to move up the career ladder.

“They have some of the most advanced workforce development in the world,” Sandoval said. “We’re going to be looking at what they do and what their practices are.”

The delegation plans to visit BMW and Porsche factories while in Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig, Hill said. Findings from the trip could help form Nevada’s own efforts to prepare its workforce for careers in advanced manufacturing and with companies such as Tesla.

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ITALY

Sandoval said he plans to meet with representatives of GTECH, the Italian company that recently purchased slot machine manufacturer International Game Technology. The company announced it would be closing a plant in Rhode Island by year’s end and consolidating its operations in Reno.

“I want to make sure there are more opportunities to broaden the relationship in Nevada,” Sandoval said. “If there are other consolidation opportunities, I want them here.”

Sandoval said the passage of a bill this legislative session that allows for skill-based gambling on slot machines will also open up more opportunities for companies like GTECH within Nevada.

Hill said members of the delegation may also visit the Vatican to talk about their programs and initiatives to raise people out of poverty.

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COSTS

The cost of sending Sandoval, his staff and economic development officials is projected to be $150,000 to $175,000, which will be paid from the economic development office’s budget and supplemented by private donations through the nonprofit Success Nevada.

Sandoval’s past trade missions have included trips to Mexico, Canada, China and Israel.

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