This week 37 University of Wyoming employees will be notified their position is being eliminated as of June 30. The layoffs are part of a $42 million budget reduction in response to state funding cuts.
The university is eliminating 15 positions in Information Technology, 12 in Academic Affairs, five in the Division of Administration, three in Student Affairs, one in the Office of Governmental and Community Affairs, and one at-large.
The layoffs stem from the downturn of the oil, gas and coal industries. Tom Gallagher, Manager of Research and Planning for the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services said the job cuts at UW are significant, “both from the persons directly affected to their network of friends, to their families, to the community.” Gallagher added, “You now have 37 people who might not be making as many purchases.”
Gallagher said workforce reductions have been felt across the state, especially in places in Gillette and Casper, whereas Laramie and the southeastern part of the state have been slightly better off.
According to Gallagher, “That part of the state is seeing some gradual growth in conjunction with its integration with the Front Range and Colorado, which is really growing.” Gallagher said there are already people commuting from Wyoming to Colorado for work.
The 37 layoffs are part of a larger effort by the university to reduce spending on personnel. Over the last year, a total of 369 positions have been eliminated through incentivized retirement programs and attrition. Gallagher pointed out that workforce reductions of that scale could mean fewer families in the community with financial implications for local schools, healthcare services, and businesses. But there’s no concrete data on the impact yet.