A new program in Wyoming is aimed at giving adult learners resources to get the skills they need for good jobs.
Wyoming Works was signed into law following the latest legislative session. The Wyoming Legislature allocated $5 million to support the program. That includes $3 million for individual student grants, with the balance supporting program development. The allocation will be shared by all seven Wyoming community colleges.
“This is the type of bold leadership that demonstrates the strength of the partnership among education, industry, and policy-makers. Employers are sharing with us their needs and our community colleges are ready to respond,” Sandy Caldwell, executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission (WCCC), said in a release.
The WCCC is managing the program.
Program participants receive last-dollar grants to help cover their education, up to $1,680 per student per semester. They can enroll in non-credit or for-credit qualified programs—those that meet labor and economic development need. Some of those programs may be two-week certificate programs; others may be two-year associate degree programs.
At Laramie County Community College, the list of qualified programs is long, ranging from cybersecurity and computer information systems to EMS paramedic to speech-language pathology assistant. Wyoming Works students enrolling at Casper College can get trained in addiction studies, agri-business, automotive technology, hospitality and tourism management, pharmacy technology, web design welding and on and on. More programs are under development.
“Businesses across the state are eager to demonstrate their workforce needs to community colleges to ensure the Wyoming Works program is a success for the newly trained employees, the schools that train them, and the businesses that hire them,” said Katie Legerski, executive director of the Wyoming Contractors Association.