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Too Many Jobs. Not Enough Grads: Majors with hungry Wyoming employers

Wyoming’s economy is bouncing back in a big way, and the state’s major industries are hungry for skilled workers. Thousands of high-paying jobs in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and math—will be created over the next few years, many centered around the energy and construction industries.

Casper College offers the training you need to launch into advanced industrial careers in dozens of fields.

Process Technology

Wyoming’s booming energy industry needs workers skilled in technology and who have an eye for safety and a knack for hands-on work. Sound like a good fit for you?

Coupled with intensive safety training, Casper College’s 15-week process technology program prepares students to be controllers in power plants, water treatment facilities, and the petro-chemical industry.

What is Process Technology? 

“Process technology is converting raw materials into things that are useful to us,” explains Mike Malone, process technology instructor at Casper College. “This can involve coal, food products, chemicals, paper and pulp, and oil.”

“There are many jobs out there, and the baby-boomers are retiring,” he notes. “These are people who’ve been doing it for 20 or 30 years, and we’re trying to get the younger generation in there, well trained, to replace them.”

Through a partnership with Sinclair Refinery, the Process Control Technology program immerses students in an industrial experience. “Students have been getting interviews with Sinclair when they finish the program,” says Malone.

Power plant operators

Median wages (2013) $32.74 hourly
$68,100 annually
Water treatment plant operators
Median wages (2013) $22.70 hourly
$43,200 annually
Manufacturing production technicians
Median wages (2013) $29.12 hourly
$60,560 annually

Boiling oil

In addition to earning a certificate, participants who complete the program will be issued an Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10-hour card, the federal standard for certified safety training.

“Wyoming is working aggressively to improve workplace safety,” Malone explains. “We train people so they are ‘thinking safety’ when they walk in the door. Safety conscious—that is the key.”

Students are prepared for fires and other emergency situations. “We’re not making ice cream, we’re boiling oil,” he adds. “We push safety hard.”

While students have the option of entering directly into the electric power generation field after receiving their certificate, they are also well positioned for further science studies in math, chemistry, and engineering. The program is also ideal for older students looking to retrain for a new career.

Long-term job stability

A high school diploma or GED is the primary educational requirement, says Malone. “Pretty much all you need to start are steel-toed boots.”

Students familiar with technology and good at troubleshooting will excel. “We’ve been using simulators, so there are computer skills involved in the coursework,” Malone states. “The industry needs people who are mechanically inclined, can read diagrams, think systematically, and are good with their hands.

“It’s a very specialized field. Once you have work experience and get a few years under your belt, you can relocate almost anywhere in the country.

“The pay is excellent,” Malone adds. “Once you’re hired on, you don’t leave—you retire.”

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