On January 26, 2018, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed an executive order to boost the level of higher education attainment by the state’s population. Based on recommendations from the Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming (ENDOW) Executive Council, Mead’s executive order calls for 67 percent of the state’s population between the ages of 25 and 64 to hold a post-secondary certificate or degree by 2025, and for 82 percent of the population to hold a certificate or degree by 2040.
At the signing, Governor Mead called upon the seven community colleges and one university in the state to “work together and implement a plan to provide post-secondary opportunities our citizens need and the prepared and skilled employees businesses are looking for.”
University of Wyoming’s President Laurie Nicholls was present at the signing, as were many presidents of the community colleges. Joe Schaffer, President of the Laramie County Community located in Cheyenne, WY, proposed 6 recommendations to help achieve these goals. Among those proposals, he suggested adding incentives for adults to return to higher education. “If you go on to a community college to a technical program or apprenticeship, that’s the next step,” Schaffer said. “We need to broaden our focus beyond just the university pathway.”
Currently, 92 percent of Wyoming residents have at least a high school diploma, but only 26 percent have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Additionally, while 37 percent of residents have some college, 27 percent of residents have not finished a degree. It is with these statistics in mind that Governor Mead made the Executive Order to increase the overall education attainment level of the state. As stated in the executive order, “In the next seven years, over 60 percent of America’s workers will need education and training beyond high school graduation.” With this signing, Governor Mead signaled his commitment to post-secondary education in Wyoming.
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