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CWC gets grant to boost worker training programs

Mar 11, 2012 - By Joshua Scheer, Staff Writer

One Central Wyoming College employee said expanded health care training provided through a recent grant award could help even out average salaries in the state between men and women.

"I think it will improve wages, especially for women," said CWC dean of workforce and community education Lynne McAuliffe of a U.S. Department of Labor grant.

The nearly $5 million grant was awarded last month to Central Wyoming College, along with the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and CLIMB Wyoming.

CWC, through the four-year life of the grant, will receive $2.5 million, which McAuliffe said would be used to train individuals in about 16 program areas.

Among the programs the college will put together are clinical medicine assistant, medical assistant and plebotomy.

Many of the classes, McAuliffe expects, will involve learning the information technology side of the field, including electronic recordkeeping.

"There's a major shortage of health care workers," McAuliffe said.

According to a press release from CWC, the entire grant is expected to help provide training to 1,410 individuals.

McAuliffe said she believed the college would take care of 1,200.

McAuliffe said in Wyoming there is still a significant disparity between the salaries of men and women.

Many of these health care jobs, she believes, are dominated by women. Training more women in these fields she thinks will help level the wage playing field in the state.

Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 American Community Survey, the National Women's Law Center calculates that women in Wyoming make 63.8 percent of what men do. Wyoming's gap is the largest in the country.

"We hope it will help narrow that gap," McAuliffe said.

The press release stated the college would try to recruit low-income single mothers, American Indians, veterans and eligible spouses, unemployed workers, low-skilled workers and those looking to advance in their respective fields.

In addition to the funds being used to create and implement new programs, $362,000 of CWC's share will go to scholarships, McAuliffe said.

Money will also go to supplies and materials for the classes.

Five additional faculty members will be added to the college payroll through the grant.

"We'll have some (classes) ready to go this fall," she said.

She also noted that the timing for the award is perfect for CWC as construction for the health and science center is expected to begin at the start of summer.

If everything works out as McAuliffe hopes, CWC will be able to offer a health care academy course this summer that will be geared toward helping students figure out what path in the field they would like to pursue.

Despite the fact that the grant will only last four years, McAuliffe believes that amount of time will give the college ample opportunity to find a way to continue all of the new offerings.