Oct 28, 2012 The Associated Press

College plans to boost grad number

SHERIDAN -- The Northern Wyoming Community College District board of trustees has endorsed a new strategic plan with a goal of increasing the school's graduates to 1,000 per year by 2020.

Last May, the college graduated 573 students from all of its locations. According to a report by the Lumina Foundation, only about 37 percent of Wyoming's working population, ages 25 to 64, has at least an associate degree. School officials want to do their part to help more Wyoming residents get degrees.

NWCCD President Paul Young the college's strategic plan focuses on helping students complete their coursework once they've enrolled. He says work to increase student retention and improve the delivery of remedial coursework is already under way.

The NWCCD administers Sheridan College and Gillette College.

No change in state's rig count

HOUSTON -- The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped this week by 13 to 1,826.

Texas-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday that 1,408 rigs were exploring for oil and 416 were searching for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, Baker Hughes listed 2,021 rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas dropped seven rigs and New Mexico fell by 5. Alaska and Oklahoma lost three apiece, and West Virginia was down by two.

Louisiana (four) and North Dakota (one) were the only states to gain rigs.

Arkansas, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wyoming were unchanged.

The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.

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