(Riverton, Wyo.) – “We’re number one,” said Wind River Job Corps Director James Whitmire to members of the center’s Workforce Council last week. “Of all the Job Corps centers in the country, and there are 124 of them, Wind River ranks first in the wages paid to graduates on their initial placements,” he said. “This was as of the end of June.”
Whitmire noted that Union apprentices start at $22/hour after leaving the center while truck drivers are making “$15,000 a quarter right out of the gate. The jobs are there, employers are looking for skilled and trained workers,” he said.
Overall, the WRJC Director said the local center ranks in the top 30 of all Job Corps Centers with all measures combined. “That proves that what we are doing works. Students still have our support when they leave here, for up to a year and that’s a key,” he said.
Whitmire said the center will achieve the 200 student mark in early October. The center was built to accommodate 300 students.
To address adding more students, Whitmire said a new Health Care program is starting this fall and a new program of Hotel/Restaurant management is in the works. Noting that the center comprised of mostly male students, he said the new programs should attract more female students.
The Health Care program is in association with Central Wyoming College as is the Hotel/Restaurant proposed program, along with the Wind River Hotel and Casino.
“Right now we are at a level of about 40 percent Wyoming Students, and we’d like to see that percentage upped to 60 to 70 percent,” Whitmire said.
The Wind River Job Corps is the only center in the country that offers a Petroleum Technology program. Other courses offered include Heavy Truck Driving, Heavy Equipment Operator, Heavy Equipment Mechanics, Office Administration, Building Construction, Electrical, Carpentry, Welding and Health Care. “We’re waiting on Department of Labor approval before we launch the Hotel/Restaurant program,” he said.
Job Corps is a voluntary no-cost education and career technical training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor that helps eligible young people ages 16 to 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training. Opened in 2015, the Wind River Job Corps Center is one of the program’s newest and most modern campuses located on 135 acres surrounded adjacent to the Wind River mountain range and the Wind River Indian Reservation. – WRJC Web Site