For over 50 years, students from Wyoming and across the country have come to Laramie to learn automotive skills. But on November 8, the Zenith Education Group, which owns colleges across the country announced plans to close 21 campuses, including WyoTech.
The eventual layoff of 65 employees and the loss of over 300 students in the community will mean hardship and lost revenue in Laramie. No new students will be admitted, according to a press release, but Zenith said currently enrolled students will be able to complete the nine-month program. WyoTech will graduate its last class in June of next year.
Caleb Perriton, Campus Director & Academic Dean for WyoTech’s Laramie campus, said those who work in admissions and enrollment will be the first to be let go in early January.
But Perriton said Zenith supports figuring out ways to keep the campus open.
“Besides just shutting them out and liquidating, that would hopefully be our last opportunity,” he said. “We are actively working with community leaders, industry, and hopefully we will see something through that. We’re at the very beginning of that process.”
JJ Harris, CEO of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance, confirmed that meetings are being scheduled between WyoTech and Laramie officials, along with local business leaders.
Perriton is heartened by the rapid response.
“That has been no surprise to me, that tremendous response from both industry and community on how can they help.”
Perriton said they are asking, “Have you thought about this concept, have you thought about that?”
Perriton, said there’s an ongoing demand for mechanics in the workforce and he hopes WyoTech can continue to fill that need.