CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Two executive orders supporting efforts to diversify Wyoming’s economy and edge away from the mineral extraction industry are now in effect.
Gov. Matt Mead signed an order Friday aimed at increasing the number of people in the state with a post-secondary degree or certificate and another one that would require the state to use technology products and services from Wyoming companies, when possible, The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported.
He also directed the Department of Transportation to look at how it might facilitate the installation of broadband conduits while highways are being built or repaired.
The recommendations came from the Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming, or ENDOW, council. The council is tasked with finding ways for Wyoming to diversify its economy so it isn’t as reliant on the volatile mineral extraction industry.
Mead signed the orders at the ENDOW Executive Council meeting at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne.
“All of the actions taken today are critical first steps to diversifying our economy and recruiting, returning, and retaining young people,” said executive council member Barbara Sessions.
The education goal aims for 67 percent of Wyoming workers — those between the ages of 25 and 64 —to hold a post-secondary certificate or degree by 2025 and 82 percent by 2040. It calls on the University of Wyoming and the state’s community colleges to work on a plan to achieve that goal. Laramie County Community College President Joe Schaffer suggested providing incentives for adults to return to school as well as recruiting out-of-state workers who already have degrees.
While Wyoming spends between $100 million and $150 million a year on technology related services, the ENDOW council found only 3 to 5 percent of that was spent on companies inside the state.
The order Mead signed mandates all state agencies, boards and commissions to look to Wyoming companies first for technology products or services. If there isn’t a company available, there would be a notification process that would allow people to create a business to bid on the contract. If a contract is awarded to an out-of-state company, agencies would be required to document why.
Mead also signed a letter to the Department of Transportation asking Director Bill Panos to research a “one dig” policy to facilitate the installation of broadband conduct as part of highway construction and other projects.
Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com