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Community Colleges Will Play A Role In Wyoming's Recovery

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J. Stephen Conn via Flickr Creative Commons
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Last week, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead mobilized state agencies to respond to layoffs of nearly 500 coal workers in the Powder River Basin.

Two community college campuses served as sites to connect dislocated miners with services, Gillette College and the Eastern Wyoming Community College Campus in Douglas.

But Wyoming Community College Commission executive director Jim Rose says the state’s 7 community colleges will continue to be a long-term resource for displaced workers amid the downturn.

“Our colleges are well-acquainted with—and a have a history of—stepping forward in these kinds of situations and assisting in ways that bring more immediate opportunities for education and retooling and honing skills, and maybe even developing new career choices—by virtue of the programs they offer,” Rose says.

Rose says when unemployment rises, enrollment at community colleges tends to rise as well, as workers seek out new skills.

Wyoming’s unemployment rate rose to 5 percent in February, above the 4.9 percent national average. Campbell County’s unemployment rate rose from 3.6 percent to 6.3 percent over the past year. 

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