Wyoming’s community colleges should work more closely with the state’s Department of Workforce Services to address the state’s shortage of trained workers, a state official says.
Joan Evans, director of Workforce Services, addressed the Governor’s Community College Study Commission Wednesday in Casper. She said it might be beneficial if her department, the state’s community college commission and the state’s eight community colleges worked together more closely.
“What I’m trying to say is all three can bring a different dynamic to the table to help determine what’s needed,” Evans said.
Gov. Dave Freudenthal in April called on the study commission to be bold in examining the state’s community colleges and the ways they are operated and funded. He said revenue from Wyoming’s energy industry makes it possible to take the colleges to a higher level. Wednesday was the commission’s third meeting.
Evans said that working together would help all the parties identify what’s needed.
“It’s my feeling we don’t lack the data but we lack the coordination,” Evans said. “I think it needs to be at some level coordinated so overall we know what the climate of our economy is.”
Laura Driscoll, dean of continuing education and community partnerships at Casper College, said community colleges already use an intensive review system in developing new degree programs.
Driscoll said nondegree programs don’t go through that same review process. She said the nondegree programs generally offer training for which there is an immediate demand. She said they can last between a few days up to several months.
Colleges generally create such short-term programs in response to requests from companies, Driscoll said. She said that if a college had to go through an intensive review process before creating the programs it couldn’t meet the immediate needs of the local economy.
The study commission’s next meeting is scheduled for July 25 at Northwest College in Powell. A final report is scheduled to be completed by August.
Information from: Star-Tribune, http://www.casperstartribune.net
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