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Opportunities to further education in Wyoming

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Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 7:51 AM CDT
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Sam Shumway, AARP Wyoming, and Dr. Ben Moritz, Wyoming Community College Commission spoke to Wyoming News Now about some opportunities to pursue higher education. There are some programs available now, like LinkedIn Learning and another program in the works.

Below is some information provided by AARP Wyoming on the topic.

The combination of COVID-19 and the oil price war between the Saudi’s and Russians has translated into state revenues that will be far below what was expected. This means cuts in state services at every level, and job cuts unlike those previously seen. However, there are some workforce training opportunities, which may help those suffering from job losses.

The Good News: For Wyomingites who are unemployed or underemployed, there are several new opportunities for free or subsidized training programs. During these uncertain economic times, many traditional industries are shrinking, and job seekers frequently need to learn new skills to keep up with the changes. The Wyoming Works program through the Department of Workforce Services highlights the offerings.

Notes:

Due to economic pressures, Wyoming is seeing tremendous job losses. Those include 130 jobs lost at the BNSF Railway; 227 layoffs at the Powder River Basin Coal Mines; 200 layoffs at the HollyFrontier plant in Cheyenne and a 13 percent workforce reduction at the Wyoming Machinery Company.

Governor Gordon recently called the downturn of the economy as “the largest loss of income in our history after our second largest loss of income.

State funds are so low that even if we RIF’d every state employee, we would still run out of funds by next year.

There are a number of opportunities available for those who are looking to acquire new job skills.

Last year the State Legislature approved a new grant program aimed at working adults, called Wyoming Works.

Wyoming Works is a need-based grant available for any Wyoming resident enrolling in a Wyoming Works approved program at one of the community colleges. These programs are focused on workforce training and were chosen to align with industries that are in need of qualified workers.

For qualifying students, Wyoming Works will cover up to the full cost of attendance for the duration of the program.

Those interested should apply through their local community college.

Another program that may help those interested in attaining new job skills is LinkedIn Learning.

Through money from the CARES Act, the Wyoming State Library has obtained a state-wide subscription to LinkedIn Learning. This is the educational arm of LinkedIn, the online job seeking webpage, and offers over 6,500 online courses in career development fields.

Anyone with a Wyoming library card can access these courses through the GOWyld website.

Among the highlights of LinkedIn Learning is 672 courses and 378 video tutorials.

The program is normally a $30 a month cost.

Another big program is still in development and called the Adult Learning Grant.

The adult learning grant would utilize CARES Act funding to provide college grants for any Wyomingite that has lost their job due to COVID-19.

This project is still in development, but reflects the need for Wyoming's workforce to continue to improve and update their skills and education.

More information should be coming out within the next few weeks.

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