Efforts to increase the number of people in the state with advanced degrees has earned Wyoming support from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).
Following a competitive application process, Wyoming was selected as one of three Western states to receive funding and technical support to look at gaps in educational attainment.
Wyoming’s WICHE-sponsored task force will work with diverse stakeholders from education, industry and state government to develop policy recommendations.
Jerimiah Rieman directs ENDOW, the committee initiated by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead to promote economic diversification. Rieman said Wyoming’s economic well-being relies on getting adults, and other underserved populations, to pursue advanced degrees.
“As we’ve gone through our work it’s becoming more and more apparent that it is going to take a highly educated workforce in Wyoming in order to pursue some of the vectors that we want pursue,” said Rieman.
Rieman said WICHE will help the state create policies to grow the highly skilled workforce necessary to support advanced manufacturing, computing technology, financial services, and value-added natural resources.
“In particular, if we want to pursue this higher level of educational attainment it’s going to demand that we look at policies like need-based financial aid programs specifically for adults,” said Rieman. “Something that we don’t currently have in place.”
The goal is for 67 percent of Wyomingites to have advanced degrees by 2025.