|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Assistance to Coal Communities||1||$768,024|
|Economic Adjustment Assistance||2||$3,136,000|
Sheridan and Gillette, WY - Northern Wyoming has long been economically dependent on the energy industry. The historically low unemployment rates and remote location limits the available workforce for new industry growth not tied to the energy sector, although some small manufacturing firms have grown in the region. The recent decline in the oil and gas activity and significant downsizing of the coal industry has caused economic distress, but also provides an opportunity to train available workers and a pipeline of new high school graduates to support a more diversified economy. Many of the occupational skills required in the energy industries are also key to the manufacturing industry. Meeting the demand for skilled workers and expanding the capacity to train a skilled workforce is needed to help the region recover from the job losses in the energy industry and to become more resilient to economic changes.
In June 2017, EDA invested $3,000,000 in Economic Adjustment Assistance funds to the Northern Wyoming Community College District (NWCCD) to fund the acquisition of equipment necessary to expand the college’s workforce training centers at their Sheridan and Gillette campuses. Training in specific occupations aligned with the demand in existing industries will help the region adjust to the changes in the energy industry. NWCCD will train students as machinists, welders, diesel and hydraulics mechanics, electricians, HVAC mechanics, and in construction technology methods. NWCCD will also create an innovation center to support technology. Northern Wyoming Community College District estimates 1,037 new jobs will be created and $5,980,000 in private investment will be generated as a result of the project, enabling the region to diversify its economy and become less dependent on the energy industry, leading to a more resilient economy.