Following the completion of its 65th graduation ceremony in Sheridan, college officials announced this year’s total awards earned by graduates topped 750.
The breakdown was Sheridan College with 466 and Gillette College, with 302, which was a record number for the Northern Wyoming Community College District.
Awarding 1,000 certificates or degrees per year by the year 2020 remains a central goal in the district’s strategic plan, adopted by the Board of Trustees in March of 2010.
“The diploma earned by each individual signifies persistence, sacrifice, self-discipline, intellectual accomplishment, and a major life milestone,” said the district's President Paul Young. “It is also a reminder that we must remain focused on doing our part to help Wyoming and the nation as a whole to prosper by continuing to help more and more students reach this milestone.”
According to the most recent Lumina Foundation report, 37 percent of working-age adults, qualified as ages 25-64, in Wyoming holds a 2- to 4-year college degree, which is an increase of nearly one percent over one year ago. The national average is 39.4 percent.
According to Young, the college trustees and leadership remain committed to their strategic plan which includes several initiatives aimed at increasing student success.
Initiatives include improving methods of testing readiness to ensure early and accurate course selection, new awards to recognize career-oriented learning, increased emphasis on student engagement with faculty and co-curricular activities, strengthening advising and creating realistic academic plans.
“While it is good to see progress,” he said, “we must continue to work with our industry partners and others to ensure we are building capacity to serve our region well into the future.” He went on to say, “We know an estimated 65 percent of jobs in the state will require a credential by 2020. We have to continue to do our part.”