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Meeting in Riverton focuses on post-secondary education

Apr 15, 2012 - Staff

A meeting at the Riverton Holiday Inn is scheduled to happen Tuesday, April 17, to discuss initiatives to promote post-secondary education in the state.

The meeting is from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

Access Wyoming 2012 meetings are scheduled throughout the month and early in May in Gillette, Casper, Cheyenne, Cody, Pinedale and Rock Springs.

The public meetings are supported by the Wyoming P-16 Council and the College Access Challenge Grant.

The University of Wyoming administers the $1.5 million Wyoming College Access Challenge Grant, which provides funding for 12 different initiatives to assist current and prospective Wyoming college students.

The goal is to increase access to and persistence in higher education.

"At these meetings, we want participants to share what they are doing in their region, what they wish they could do and how we, as a community, can make this happen," Becky Vinzant, assistant to UW's vice president for Student Affairs and the program's director, said in a press release issued this month.

Vinzant said best practices will be highlighted in a "white paper" that will be forwarded to Gov. Matt Mead.

Vinzant in the press release said all regional meetings are open to anyone who has an interest in access to higher education, including educators at all levels, community groups, community leaders, legislators, parents and students.

She said the challenge for Wyoming is that 36 percent of adults have college degrees but, by 2025, 62 percent of the state's population will need degrees in order to meet workforce demand.

"What can we do to help reach that goal? That's what we will discuss in these meetings," Vinzant said.

The number of Wyoming college graduates needs to increase faster to keep the state competitive, according to a report, "A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education," released by the private, independent Lumina Foundation.

The foundation advocates for increasing students' access to higher education.

The report projects that about 62 percent of jobs in Wyoming will require at least an associate's degree by 2018.

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