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Second Wind to focus on skills for energy industry

Jul 7, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The program is meant for students ages 18-21 who have been through the juvenile justice system.

Students in this year's Second Wind program at Central Wyoming College will have the chance to develop job skills specifically related to the regional energy industry.

CWC is partnering with the Fremont County Board of Cooperative Educational Services to provide classes and training for about a dozen students in Second Wind's six-month Foundations of Energy course that begins in August.

"There will be a lot of field trips," workforce specialist Erika Dierking said. "They'll go explore the solar and wind energy industries, the uranium industry, and they're doing an oil rig training in Casper. ... It's one of the most exciting programs."

She said the students likely would be ready to start working in the energy industry after the course, which offers certifications that are valuable to potential employers.

"A lot of companies have to put employees through (those trainings)," Dierking said. "So if we have (the students) taking care of that already, that makes them that much more vital to hire."

Training courses include generally industry safety; SafeLand basic orientation; hazardous waste operations and emergency responses; trenching, excavation and confined space safety; defensive driving; wilderness first responder; and cooperative work experience. In the classroom, students will complete a team building challenge and learn about human relations; exercise, health and wellness; personal financial planning; entrepreneurial mindsets; communications and employability; speed of trust; and standard first aid and safety. In total, they will earn almost 35 credits, or one year's worth of schoolwork.

"These courses (will) give them a leg up when they go out to find a job," BOCES executive director Sandy Barton said. "Plus, they get stipends while they go to school -- up to $200 a week."

The money is part of the program's effort to simulate a real-world work environment, she explained.

"They need to be good employees," Barton said. "They need to show up on time (and develop) all those good habits our employers would like to see."

The program, funded through the U.S. Department of Labor, is meant for students ages 18-21 who have been through the juvenile justice system. According to CWC, the school was awarded a $1.2 million grant to provide the training free of charge to Wyoming residents.

"If a student needs assistance with lodging, we help them," Dierking said. "We have done some dorm arrangements and helped with apartments, and we also provide transportation if that's a need, or even a day care."

Dierking said CWC will accept applications to the Second Wind program through mid-July. Other course offerings focus on facilities management and customer service.

For more information, call 855-2335.

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