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Too Many Jobs. Not Enough Grads: Majors with hungry Wyoming employers

Wyoming’s economy is bouncing back in a big way, and the state’s major industries are hungry for skilled workers. Thousands of high-paying jobs in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and math—will be created over the next few years, many centered around the energy and construction industries.

Casper College offers the training you need to launch into advanced industrial careers in dozens of fields.

Construction Management

Looking for a career where your creativity, communication and problem-solving skills can thrive? Crave working with many different types of people? These qualities may not immediately come to mind when you think of the construction industry—but they should.

Wyoming’s construction business is booming, and job openings outnumber qualified applicants by nearly two to one. Commercial, public school construction, road, and residential projects abound. Nationally, this trend is projected to continue, with federal growth estimates upwards of 20 percent in the next decade.

The Construction Management program at Casper College prepares students to enter the industry with a broad background to appreciate the overall project, and to move up from skilled labor to an administrative position. Students may earn a certificate of applied skills for hands-on jobs, an associate of applied science for direct entry into the field, or an associate of science for transfer to a four-year degree track.

Construction managers

Median wages (2013) $40.58 hourly
$84,410 annually
Construction supervisors
Median wages (2013) $29.03 hourly
$60,380 annually
Construction and building inspectors
Median wages (2013) $26.18 hourly
$54,450 annually
Construction laborers
Median wages (2013) $14.64 hourly
$30,460 annually
Source: Onetonline.org.

More than muscle

Mark Steinle teaches construction management and heads the construction technology department at Casper College. With small class sizes and a low student to faculty ratio, students work closely in a hands-on environment. Each year, the program builds a skid-mounted cabin on-site to be auctioned off.

“There used to be a philosophy that you must promote craftsmen into management, but now we recognize the need for a different skill set,” says Steinle, who has 40 years in the industry.

“There’s more to a construction project than being a laborer,” Steinle says. Clerks, schedulers, estimators and architects all make things happen behind the scenes, and managers ensure the job is well organized. “You’re working with highly skilled people who take pride in the task. Most construction projects are fun to work on because they involve a unique group, and you leave a legacy in every project.”

“A student that does well is one that seeks fairly instant gratification,” Steinle observes. “The beauty is that you see progress in what you’re doing everyday. There is a sense of pride in getting it done right, on budget and on time.”

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