The Northern Wyoming Community College District Board of Trustees approved a bond issue Monday that would renovate and expand upon the existing Technical Education Center at Sheridan College. Sheridan Media's Chris Foy was there and has the story.
At the special board meeting, trustees heard public comment from current students enrolled in technical education programs at Sheridan College, their teachers, former students and other members of the public – most strongly in favor of the move. Ultimately, the board unanimously approved a bond issue that would add onto the existing tech center and renovate certain areas that are falling apart.
But this is no simple renovation. There is a national demand for educated, skilled workers in programs from diesel, welding and machine tool technologies to construction and carpentry. And some of the educators who spoke out during public comment said Sheridan College doesn't just produce some of the best workers in these fields in the state – they rank highly in national competitions through programs like SkillsUSA.
Sheridan College President Paul Young says this bond issue would help fill a void in the technical and skilled trade areas from workers retiring and feed the growing demand as these jobs once sent overseas return here to the United States.
The project would cost an estimated $15.85 million and the issue is expected to go forward to the Sheridan County taxpayers in a special election this August. Young says the bond issue would proceed in the form of an increased property tax that many at the meeting said would benefit the greater good of the community.
Also released were the results of a poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies. Based on findings by strategist Lori Weigel, three-in-five voters in the County indicated support for funding the tech center, while one-third said they would vote no on the proposal. Young says he invites those who might be on the fence regarding the project or those who are openly opposed to it to visit with him and meet some of the program's current students.
But what's the next step moving forward?
Just this year, some 50 qualified students were turned down for admission to the college's technical education program due to lack of space for them to learn.
Editor's note: For an in-depth story on the results of the recently completed public opinion survey, visit http://www.sheridanmedia.com/new....