Wyoming is growing and building, but is the workforce keeping up? As the current workforce nears retirement will there be enough skilled laborers to keep things running smoothly while the next generation is trained?
Beginning this fall, Laramie County Community College will offer three new credit diplomas in Industrial System Technology, Electrical Technology, and Plumbing Technology.
According to ONETonline.org, Industrial Systems is forecast to have a 10 percent growth between now and 2026, which is about 40 new positions a year here in Wyoming. Electrical Technology is predicted to grow by 14, percent which is about 33 new positions a year. Plumbing Technology is forecast to grow its Wyoming workforce by 24 percent, or 34 positions a year.
“Short answer yes. The longer answer comes best from our industry partners. Unfortunately, there are more open job positions than we have students to fill them with,” Dave Curry, industrial maintenance instructor at LCCC, said. “In many cases, LCCC receives calls on a fairly regular basis from employers in Wyoming and Colorado looking for our graduates. We have had many occasions where students in our current CTE programs have jobs or job offers prior to graduation. As this region of Wyoming continues to grow, we will have to continue to ramp up our training offerings to meet industry needs.”
Beginning the fall of 2019 all new students going into HVAC, Industrial Maintenance, Electrical or Plumbing programs will complete the Industrial Systems Technology (IST) credit diploma first. This is an 18-credit-hour program designed to give the students the foundational skills required to succeed in any of the CTE programs, Curry said. Upon completion of the IST credit diploma, a student may elect to enter the workforce or return in the spring semester to continue in his or her chosen trade.
The IST credit diploma will introduce the students to objectives including: AC/DC Electricity, Hand/Power Tools, Safety, Workplace Success Skills, as well as Introductory Mechanical Drive Skills.
With the Electrical Technology credit diploma (upon successful of IST credit diploma), a student can enter the electrical track and receive training in skills such as: electrical symbols, wiring diagrams, electrical test equipment, how to calculate electrical loads and proper installation of electric circuits in health care facilities.
With the Plumbing Technology credit diploma (upon successful completion of IST), a student can enter the plumbing track and receive training in skills such as: how to understand and interpret construction drawings, piping materials, fittings and valves, equipment of the plumbing trade, proper installation procedures all with heavy emphasis in the uniform plumbing code.
LCCC has been working with Laramie County School District No. 1 to offer these programs to high school students through concurrent enrollment. These are skills that can help lead students to a well-paying career. They can start in high school and graduate from LCCC with an associate of applied science degree.