Wyoming's seven community colleges buttress the state's workforce needs by offering two-year transfer degrees, customized certificate and industry-specific programs that provide the state with a trained and skilled workforce.
In 2013, more than 28,000 students were enrolled in Wyoming's community colleges.
Overseeing the seven colleges is the Wyoming Community College Commission, which works to anticipate and respond to business and industry needs by developing pertinent course curricula for students looking to progress into emerging careers.
“Wyoming is a minerals-driven economy with oil, gas, coal and trona, and it's been important to develop a good relationship with those type of companies to better prepare future workforces in those sectors,” says Jim Rose, Wyoming Community College Commission executive director.
One of the many companies the commission has collaborated with is petroleum refiner HollyFrontier. The firm is teaming with Laramie County Community College on an 11-week Process Technology program that teaches would-be employees about safety regulations prior to ever getting hired by HollyFrontier.
“The students must complete the certificate course before ever being considered for hiring,” says Kevin Burke, vice president and refinery manager at HollyFrontier.
The LCCC course teaches students about OSHA requirements, environmental guidelines and different technologies, such as how to make gas and diesel from crude oil, and how to move such products from point A to point B.
“There are plenty of great jobs in the minerals field – working in refineries, power plants, with pipelines, gas compressor stations, chemical plants, trona mines and more,” Burke says. “If a student completes the LCCC program, we know they are interested in this field, and HollyFrontier hires 10 to 15 people every year to begin high-paying careers.”