Mike Rowe, skilled trades, and Casper College

By: Lisa S. Icenogle
Image for skilled trades/Mike Rowe press release.

Casper College offers a variety of programs that fall into the category that well-known TV personality Mike Rowe often refers to as “dirty jobs.” What Rowe is talking about are the skilled trade jobs that are in demand and valued by society.

From the Mike Rowe Works Foundation website, Rowe said the following: “Our crumbling infrastructure, our widening skills gap, the disappearance of vocational education, and the stratospheric rise in college tuition — these are not problems. These are symptoms of what we value. And right now, we have to reconnect the average American with the value of a skilled workforce. Only then will the next generation aspire to do the work at hand.”

Training for many of those skilled trades jobs is available at Casper College. Students typically can earn either a certificate or degree, or both, in their chosen field. Of the 19 programs approved by the Mike Rowe Works Foundation to qualify for the foundation’s Work Ethic Scholarship, Casper College offers 10 eligible programs.

Those programs include agriculture, automotive technology, construction technology, diesel power technology, electronics technology, emergency medical technology, fire science technology, machine tool technology, manufacturing and automation technology, and welding technology.

According to Rachel Chadderdon, dean for the Casper College School of Business and Industry, all Casper College industry programs have a cooperative work component included in the curriculum. “Students can earn credit while working at a local shop, which gives them hands-on, on-the-job training that directly relates to their coursework,” she noted.

The Casper College School of Health Science offers several programs related to emergency medical technology. The EMT Basic is a one-semester course that prepares students to sit for the national registry exam. The EMT Advanced is a one-semester course and a prerequisite for students enrolling in the college’s paramedic program. Finally, EMT Intermediate is a one-semester course with a level of licensure specific to Wyoming beyond the EMT advanced. According to Jeff McCarty, dean for the school, work is underway to develop a certificate option for paramedics since that is the national standard.

The Casper College Department of Agriculture, for the last 10 years, has seen a trend in students seeking the department’s applied associate degree to go directly to work in the industry. “Most of the time, students willing to work find employment easily. We get calls every week from ranchers and businesses in the area seeking help. Every winter, we have potential employers call seeking full-time employees after they graduate,” said Heath Hornecker, agriculture instructor.

In addition to applying to the Mike Rowe Works Foundation for a scholarship, students are encouraged to apply for scholarships provided through both Casper College and The Casper College Foundation and Alumni Association. A large number of scholarships directed towards industry students that are available include the Michael and Joan Burger Trades Scholarship, the Charles C. and C. Dwayne Raymond Agriculture Scholarship, the CHS Foundation Scholarship, the Joa L. Sasser Scholarship, the Lee and Felicia Castellow Diesel Mechanics, Auto Mechanics, Welding, and Trades scholarships, the Mark Steinle Scholarship in Construction, Welding, Drafting and Engineering, and others.

To find out how a skilled trades job might be right for you, contact Steven Shaffer, senior admissions representative at Casper College, at 307-268-2117 or steven.shaffer@caspercollege.edu.

Mike Rowe will also be in Casper on Thursday, Oct. 26. Tickets are still available for “An Evening with Mike Rowe” and can be purchased here.

Media contact: Lisa S. Icenogle

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