Role of WY Community Colleges in Workforce Development
New Governor’s Commission formed; Cora's Ann Noble appointed
by Governor Freudenthal’s Office
March 30, 2007
(Cheyenne) Citing the need for a comprehensive examination of the role of Wyoming’s community colleges in meeting the state’s workforce development needs, Governor Dave Freudenthal today announced the creation of the Governor’s Commission on Community Colleges. The commission will embark on a series of meetings around the state in the coming months, and is expected to offer its recommendations to the governor and the legislature later this year.
”We need to take a hard look at our community colleges,” Freudenthal said. “The issues surrounding our colleges’ mission, governance and funding are complex. It is my belief that the colleges have a great role in this state that needs to be particularly expanded in the concept of workforce training.”
The state must also reexamine the relationship between the colleges and the Community College Commission, Freudenthal said, and consider funding options for capital construction projects.
”I’m confident the talented group of people who have agreed to serve on the Governor’s Commission on Community Colleges will move forward with an aggressive examination of those challenges, to be followed by concrete proposals for change,” Freudenthal said.
Freudenthal named Western Wyoming Community College President Tex Boggs as the commission’s chairman. Those appointed to the commission include legislators, business people and education professionals. They are:
Jim McBride, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Cheyenne
Sen. Michael von Flatern, Gillette
Rep. Debbie Hammons, Worland
Ann Beaulieu, Eastern Wyoming College, Torrington
Lynn Birleffi, Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association, Cheyenne
Greg Dundas, Peabody Energy, Gillette
Reed Eckhardt, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Cheyenne
John Hay, III, Rock Springs National Bank, Rock Springs
Tom Kinnison, Accountant, Sheridan
Ann Noble, Community College Commission, Cora
David Reetz, First National Bank, Powell
R.C. Reiman, Reiman Construction, Cheyenne
Richard Robitaille, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Casper
Jane Sullivan, Casper College Board, Casper
”The community colleges have the potential, and the responsibility, to annually train hundreds of Wyoming men and women for full-time, high-paying, benefited jobs that will continue to be available in Wyoming after the boom has ended,” Boggs said. “I am pleased that the governor has created a commission to explore what Wyoming community colleges can do to better position themselves to meet the state's workforce training needs and to determine what role the state should play in that process.”
An important item on the commission’s agenda, Boggs said, is for the group to work to form stronger partnerships between the state, the private sector and the community colleges to identify and provide the most effective workforce training programs for students throughout Wyoming.
Freudenthal called for a renewed focus on the state’s community colleges during his 2007 State of the State address, but a bill establishing a task force stalled in a Senate-House conference committee during the closing days of the legislative session. As a result, the legislature’s Management Council directed the Joint Interim Education committee to review the state’s community colleges following receipt of a report from the executive branch.
The Governor’s Commission on Community Colleges report will be submitted to the governor by Nov. 1, but Freudenthal said he expected the Governor’s Commission to develop draft recommendations by September, which could then be reviewed with the interim legislative committee in a possible joint meeting.