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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

College Scholarships Help Fill WY High-Demand Worker Pipeline

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Tuesday, August 1, 2023   

Fall semester is just weeks away, and many adults age 24 and older are tapping up to $72-hundred in scholarships to start or finish a college degree or certificate.

Ben Moritz, deputy director of the the Wyoming Community College Commission, said the Kickstart Wyoming's Tomorrow scholarship can be a pathway to good-paying, high demand jobs. Colleges have teamed up with businesses across the state to create credential programs that give students the training they need to succeed in a wide range of fields.

"They need welders, they need construction workers, they need folks for wind farms," Moritz explained. "Having that certificate - that short term credential, which you can complete in three to six months a lot of times - that's what they're looking for."

The Wyoming's Tomorrow Scholarship initiative was passed by state lawmakers in 2021, but the endowment has just $30- million of the $50-million needed to launch. Lawmakers approved funding in this year's session to get money to students who need financial aid now through a bridge program. Moritz said residents should ask their local college's financial aid office about "Kickstart Wyoming's Tomorrow."

Because many Wyomingites age 24 and older tend to have jobs, kids, and other responsibilities, Moritz said each college has created strategies to meet older students where they are.

"There are a lot of programs that can be done online," he said. "You can't learn to weld online, but you can learn to weld in the evenings. So there's a lot of flexibility. It's definitely not 'Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 10am to 11am you've got to be at this class at this time.'"

Wyoming's goal is to ensure that 6 in ten adult residents have an industry-recognized credential by 2025. When the work started under Governor Mead, just 40% had credentials. That number is now over 50%, and Moritz says scholarships are key for reaching 60% because they remove one of the biggest barriers for people of all ages to get good-paying jobs.

"In this day and age, the economy is changing so rapidly that everybody has to be a lifelong learner. Everybody has to be adaptable and be learning new skills," Moritz said.


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