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No competition between Job Corps and CWC, leaders say

Jan 27, 2016 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

First in a series

When the Wind River Job Corps opened last summer in Riverton, some wondered whether it would compete with Central Wyoming College for students.

For example, both institutions offer coursework in welding and accounting. But Patrick Edwards, director of admissions at CWC, says the duplication provides the potential for cooperation as opposed to competition.

"I definitely see some potential synergies there," Edwards said. "I'm excited to see what comes of it. ... Really Job Corps and CWC want the same things - to help the students in our area get the education they need so they can get a job and be an effective part of the community."

He said many students who graduate from Job Corps move on to achieve additional degrees at community colleges or universities.

"So if the students want to continue the education they got at Job Corps they can certainly do that at CWC, especially in those two programs," Edwards said, referring to the welding and accounting courses.

The Job Corps students are more likely to be prepared for the rigors of college, he added. During a recent meeting of the Job Corps community relations council Edwards had the opportunity to meet several Job Corps students. He said he was impressed by their positive response to the Job Corps program, which requires participants to adhere to a relatively regimented daily schedule.

"A lot of young people need that - they need that structure (and) that environment," Edwards said.

He also was able to visit the Job Corps math and reading labs, where students who have struggled in those subjects are able to receive extra assistance with their studies.

"That right there will help them so much," Edwards said. "Job Corps definitely fills a void that has been in the state for a long time that will really help a lot of young folks get the help they need."

In the past, CWC administrators have expressed a desire to decrease or eliminate remedial coursework for students who haven't yet reached college-level learning benchmarks in subjects like reading and math.

Making friends

Riverton Chamber of Commerce executive director Jim Davis, who also is a member of the Job Corps community relations council, said competition with CWC was a concern for local leaders who began working to develop the Job Corps in Fremont County more than a decade ago.

"They had that on their radar from day one," Davis said of the Job Corps representatives. "They don't want to make enemies - they want to make friends.

"They're keeping that door open to partner with the college."

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