Every student at the University of Wyoming is required to take a general education track early in their college career so they can pick up vital skills in public speaking, writing, cultural familiarity and the arts.
"Our intent is to give students helpful tools early in college before they focus entirely on taking courses specifically related to their career field,” says Jo Chytka, director of the University of Wyoming’s Center for Advising and Career Services. “Our mission is to get students as ready as possible for the workforce, so that several employers will be interested in them.”
Chytka says even though the difficult national economy is impacting the post-graduation job placement rate, more UW graduates were hired in 2011 than in 2010.
"We expect 2012 to be even better than 2011,” she says. “A lot of our grads want to stay in Wyoming, and the university has enjoyed a history of success placing them in challenging and good-paying jobs.”
Hot Career Paths
Chytka says students on in-demand career paths, such as engineering, business applications and health sciences, are always eagerly sought by Wyoming employers.
“In addition, energy jobs in geology and geophysics have always been an area for high placement rates for students, and there is a growing demand in Wyoming for teachers because more people are moving to the state,” she says. “The university is always helping students look for summer jobs and internships, and we host an annual career fair. We do whatever we can to prepare students for today’s and tomorrow’s workforce.”
Seven Community Colleges
Also helping to buttress the state's workforce needs are Wyoming's seven community colleges spread across the state.
“Many credits earned by students attending our community colleges can be transferred to the University of Wyoming and other colleges and universities,” says Jim Rose, executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission. “There are 800 different programs of study offered to students throughout our community college system.”
Robotics, Ag and Extraction
Rose says the community colleges are always looking to increase their curriculum offerings. For example, Casper College will soon be adding a one-year certificate program in robotics automation, and an associate of applied science diploma in computer security. Meanwhile, Eastern Wyoming College is adding several programs associated with the agriculture industry, as well as a certificate in child development.
“In addition, Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs is located in the middle of mining territory, so it is adding programs related to the extraction industry that include compression technology and wellhead technology,” Rose says. “And at Laramie County Community College, a wind energy program is in the works. A lot is going on these days at Wyoming’s community colleges, and a lot more is being planned.”
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