Adult education is a key part of the Northern Wyoming Community College District’s mission.
That’s according to Dr. Walt Tribley, president of the college district that operates Sheridan and Gillette colleges and the Sheridan College Campus in Johnson County.
He said Northern Wyoming served 170 people in its adult education program during fiscal year 2018/19, and 140 in fiscal 2019/20.
He said adult education is vital to helping Wyomingites reach higher levels of education, and many of these students go on to pursue certificates and associate degrees.
Statewide, the National Reporting System for Adult Education Performance ranked Wyoming seventh in the nation for adult education in fiscal 2017/18.
Operated by Wyoming’s community colleges, the program served nearly 1,900 Wyoming adults in fiscal 2018/19, more than the largest high school in the state. Of those participants, nearly 470 received their high school equivalency certificates.
But over the last several years, adult programs in the state have become more than a high school equivalency certificate program. The programs operated by the state’s community colleges are preparing Wyoming adults to engage in skills training and postsecondary education and are closely aligned with the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
In addition, the number of 16 to 18-year-old students has dropped, correlating to increasing high school graduation rates, while adult education programs continue to enroll significant numbers of students ages 25 to 44.
Dr. Tribley said these numbers are reflected in the Northern Wyoming program, with 42 percent of students enrolled in 2018/19 being in the 25-to-44 age range.