and Scholarships to GIS Students
By Jim Baumann and Carla Wheeler
Wyoming wants you.
Or more accurately, Central Wyoming College (CWC) in the city of Riverton (pop. 10,953), wants you to get a degree in geospatial information science and technology (GIST) from CWC so you can put your geospatial skills to work in Wyoming.
The school wants you so much, it is offering free tuition through a state program to qualified Wyoming residents, and scholarships to nonresidents, if they earn a credential, a certificate, or an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in GIST from CWC. In exchange, the students must work in-state, usually in temporary, full-time paid positions during the summer or in part-time jobs during the school year, to help meet Wyoming’s need for GIST-trained technicians.
Why is CWC willing to make such a generous offer to students who want to study GIS, GPS, remote sensing, and other geospatial technologies?
“Statistics from the US Department of Labor identified geospatial information technology as a rapidly growing field, and virtually all natural-resource jobs in Wyoming require it,” said Jacki Klancher, facilitator for CWC’s GIST program. “There are at least six jobs posted in the state right now that demand GIS as part of the employees’ skill set, and the need for these skills in virtually every job sector is only growing. So the challenge was, how do we entice more students to study GIST at our college?”
The answer: scholarships through CWC and the Pre-hire Economic Development Grant from Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, which provides in-state students with free tuition in exchange for working on GIS projects within Wyoming. Klancher successfully applied for the grant last year.
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