New financial aid is now available for Wyoming’s community college students — at least some of them.

Gov. Mark Gordon signed the program into law following the Legislature’s most recent session. Lawmakers allocated $5 million for the effort, which is intended to “provide programs and resources for adult students to learn a skill that leads to secure employment,” according to a recent press release from the Educational Attainment Executive Council.

The council is part of a statewide initiative to boost educational attainment rates. Attainment refers to the highest level of schooling an individual has completed, and Wyoming officials have set lofty goals regarding an increase in the percentage of Wyomingites who have completed some form of postsecondary education, whether that’s a multiweek certificate program or a two- or four-year degree.

“By 2025, 60% of jobs are going to need some kind of certificate or credential,” said Lori Ridgway, Central Wyoming College’s director of marketing. “We’re at 48%.”

According to data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, the national attainment rate for at least an associate degree in 2017 was 47%.

The attainment council aims to create both five- and 10-year plans centered on what the state can do to increase attainment rates, Ridgway said. She chairs the council’s public information subcommittee.

The Wyoming Works program gives grants to adult students seeking degrees in approved programs at community colleges that provide skills that are transferable to the workforce. A few of them are nursing, culinary arts and computer science programs.

The grants will award up to $3,360 per year and are payable to students for up to six semesters. Students in some programs qualify for only $1,680 per year.

Interested Central Wyoming College students who want to find eligible programs and learn if they qualify for the grants can go to CWC.edu/wyomingworks, call the college’s financial aid office at 855-2115 or email FinAid@cwc.edu.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-5902 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please note: Online comments may also run in our print publications.
Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Please turn off your CAPS LOCK.
No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view.
No political attacks. Refrain from using negative slang when identifying political parties.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be proactive. Use the “Report” link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We’d love to hear eyewitness accounts or history behind an article.
Use your real name: Anonymous commenting is not allowed.