Wyoming Governor signs orders aimed at economic diversification
Cheyenne, WY. – Governor Mead signed two Executive Orders recently, based on recommendations by the ENDOW Executive Council in their December Preliminary Findings and Recommendations report. The first Executive Order (EO) establishes an educational attainment goal for Wyoming workers (age 25 – 64). The second EO provides contracting opportunities for local technology businesses bidding on state contracts.
University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols and several of Wyoming’s community college presidents were in attendance for the signing of the EOs. The Governor’s action on Educational Attainment, supported by the Wyoming Community College Commission and the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees, calls for 67 percent of Wyoming’s working age population to hold a post-secondary credential (certificate or degree) by 2025 and 82 percent to hold a post-secondary credential by 2040.
“Education is the foundation for diversifying our economy – we need an educated and trained work force,” said Governor Mead. “I’m asking our education leaders to work together and implement a plan to provide post-secondary opportunities our citizens need and the prepared and skilled employees businesses are looking for.”
Executive Council Member Mary Ellbogen Garland, President of the John P. Ellbogen Foundation, said, “Wyoming’s young people are our greatest resource. The Executive Council wanted to be clear from the outset that a highly-skilled workforce, who can command good salaries and afford to stay and raise their families in Wyoming, is a top priority. With this action the Governor has brought together Wyoming’s key higher education stakeholders, including UW and Wyoming’s community colleges, and articulated a shared vision that supports our young people, our business community, and our economic vitality now and long into the future.”
“The State spends approximately $100 million on technology contracts annually. Less than three percent of those contracts are awarded to Wyoming companies – we need to change that,” Governor Mead said in reference to the Technology Contracts EO. “The State should take steps to use more services provided by Wyoming companies, and this EO outlines those measures.”
Executive Council member Matt Kaufman, a Cheyenne attorney focused on startups and entrepreneurship, was pleased to see the Governor’s commitment to supporting Wyoming’s burgeoning technology sector.
“It is absolutely key that we encourage Wyoming technology businesses to compete for state contracts. As the Governor has frequently expressed, Wyoming has the potential to become a hub for information technology, cybersecurity, and the management of big data,” Kaufman said. “The Governor’s action today sends a strong signal to entrepreneurs and established technology firms that Wyoming is forward looking and eager to work with technology industry leaders who choose to live, work, and create good paying jobs right here in Wyoming.”
Governor Mead also signed a letter to Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) Director Bill Panos asking WYDOT to research a “one dig” policy to facilitate the installation of broadband conduit as part of highway construction and other projects.
“It is wonderful to see Governor Mead quickly act on the Executive Council’s recommendations,” said Executive Council Member and Silver Star Chief Financial Officer Barbara Sessions. “All of the actions taken today are critical first steps to diversifying our economy and recruiting, returning, and retaining young people.”