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Letter Exchange Addresses Education's Role In Wyoming's Economic Future

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The State Superintendent of Public Instruction is concerned that Governor Mead’s executive council focused on diversifying Wyoming’s economy, known as ENDOW, is leaving out K-12 education.

 

Superintendent Jillian Balow made that point recently in a letter to the governor. She said schools should be a part of the economic diversification discussion because public education is one of the largest employers in the state.

 

Most importantly, she added, “The ENDOW initiative is all about diversifying the economy and building a future workforce so if K-12 doesn’t have a direct voice in that process we are leaving out a key piece of that.”

 

Balow pointed out that while the Department of Education is working to increase STEM education for kids, the data shows that well-trained Wyomingites often leave the state to find jobs. Doing more to increase input from the education community will help, she said, “to ensure that Wyoming’s workforce includes 21st-century jobs and includes a workforce that has been prepared in Wyoming adequately to take on those jobs and really grow our economy and our state.”

 

Currently, House Speaker Steve Harshman is the only ENDOW council member who works in a school. But Governor Mead responded to Balow’s letter, encouraging more participation from the education community in the ENDOW working groups going forward.

 

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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