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Strong support from industry for GIS at CWC

Jun 3, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

More than 40 area industry representatives say they are interested in the new Geospatial Information System credentials that will be available at Central Wyoming College this fall.

"They overwhelmingly support (what GIS) would do for them as future employers of these students," said Jason Wood, CWC's executive vice president for student and academic services.

According to the supplier Esri, GIS integrates hardware, software and data for capturing, managing, analyzing and displaying geographically referenced information. GIS allows users to analyze data

to reveal relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts.

Burl Gies, manager of the Riverton and Lander centers for the Department of Workforce Services, said government employers including the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the National Weather Service often have openings for people with GIS skills.

Local engineering, surveying and energy companies also are interested in people who know GIS, he said, adding that the jobs usually garner a good salary.

"These positions are usually at or over the county mean wage as well as the state mean wage level," Gies wrote in a letter to CWC. "The frequency and volume of job openings in these fields ... will continue to grow as we move forward in an ever expanding technological age."

Wildlife biologist Sue Oberlie confirmed that the BLM wants GIS users. She also wrote a letter to CWC to support the new offering at the school.

"The use of GIS is an integral part of my agency's daily operations," Oberlie said.

It also is useful for businesses, natural resource groups, and environmental and conservation organizations on a daily basis, she continued.

"GIS is used to map city utilities, gas well pads, wildfires, weeds, housing subdivisions, evacuation plans and a myriad of other resources," Oberlie wrote. "It has become an essential component of doing business."

Representing private industry, Christopher Mowry of Mowrey Seismic Inc. in Riverton said GIS skills are currently "in demand" throughout the country.

"The need does arise in which we have a position that needs to be filled by a candidate that possesses this knowledge base," he wrote to CWC. "I am also frequently asked by co-contractors for referrals to people with GIS skills to fill open positions within their companies."

He said he would "definitely" consider applicants who complete CWC's GIS program. Currently, he said his company has to look statewide or regionally to find a candidate who can perform required GIS tasks.

"This creates a burden on us as we must provide compensation for travel expenses in order to interview a potential candidate," Mowry said. "If we had a local pool of candidates to consider it would greatly benefit Mowrey Seismic Inc."

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