Wyoming lands federal grant to train health care workers

Wyoming workers seeking careers in health care received a tremendous boost as the result of a federal grant awarded to the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) worth nearly $5 million.

The grant, which was awarded through a competitive process, was announced by U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis last week. It will allow training of 1,410 Wyoming workers over the next four years in occupations such as Registered Nurse, Medical Records Technician, Health Information Technician and Dental Assistant.

DWS is collaborating with two other lead partners: Central Wyoming College (CWC) and CLIMB Wyoming. Several health care employers and other educational institutions are also providing services.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer this training in collaboration with an outstanding group of employer partners, as well as Central Wyoming College and CLIMB Wyoming,” DWS Director Joan Evans said. “This training will provide exciting opportunities for Wyoming workers in emerging health care occupations.”

Lynne McAuliffe, Dean of Workforce and Community Education at CWC, said the timing of the grant announcement is ideal. “It’s very timely in that we will begin construction on our new Allied Health and Science Center in May, and this grant will allow us a rapid expansion of our allied health offerings, which will help ease our shortage of skilled health care workers for the state of Wyoming,” she said.

CLIMB Wyoming is a non-profit organization that has helped more than 1,300 women enter higher-paying careers.

“We are honored that Workforce Services found our case compelling enough to support us with this money, which will go directly to help improve the lives of families across Wyoming,” said Ray Fleming Dinneen, Founder and Executive Director of CLIMB.

Employer partners in the grant include Casper Community Health Center, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Campbell County Memorial Hospital, St. John’s Hospital in Jackson, Hot Springs County Hospital, Lander Medical Center, Riverton Memorial Hospital, and Help for Health Hospice. Other education partners are the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing, Fremont County Board of Higher Education Services and Laramie County Community College.

Training will target low-income single mothers with children at home, Native Americans, veterans and eligible spouses, unemployed workers, low-skilled workers, and those requiring training/education to advance into the health care field.

The grant total of $4,924,221 is through the federal H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant program. Program partners have pledged at least $1,739,200 in additional resources.

Nationwide, 43 grants totaling more than $183 million were awarded to organizations in 28 states.