Energy Jobs May Threaten Community College Enrollment

Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming community colleges face a pair of enrollment challenges in the near future. Every year, there are fewer students graduating from the state's high schools. Plus, high-paying oil and gas jobs may be drawing potential students away from college. Northwest College in Powell believes a six percent drop in students this year is a result of energy job opportunities. Across the state, Casper College also believes it has had some enrollment fluctuation due to the energy industry. The Executive Director of Wyoming Community College Commission Jim Rose says a long-term energy boom could definitely impact enrollment. But he thinks the schools can look at it as an opportunity. Western Wyoming College is an example of making the most out of the energy boom. The Rock Springs school is offering classes in Oil and Gas Production Technology, and has another energy related field of study ready to start up. Casper College, meanwhile, is looking beyond Wyoming's borders for students, and recruiting in five other states.