Responsiveness to Community and Economic Development Needs

The bedrock of any community is an integration of both economic and societal health. One cannot exist without the other. This places community colleges, such as LCCC, at the core in promising to develop and sustain both. We do this through our responsiveness to the workforce and cultural needs of the community. Our three primary mechanisms for delivering on this promise include applied academic programs, transfer education towards a bachelor’s degree or beyond, and tailored enrichment and training activities. 

LCCC has built solid relationships with private employers and many business organizations, including the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, Cheyenne LEADS (a non-profit economic development organization), the Wyoming Business Council, and the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. The College is fortunate also to have strong ties to many social and local government entities such as the City of Cheyenne and Laramie County. These strong ties ensure open conduits for communication about local and regional needs, and LCCC’s response to them. 

While health care remains a key leader for careers both locally and nationally, information gathered from the Chamber and Cheyenne LEADS, along with data gathered from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, indicate that there are three other key areas of industry critical to economic stability and development in our region. Those three are computer information technology, warehousing/distribution, and energy. In addition, with the existing and incoming activity of the Swan Ranch Development in southwest Cheyenne, manufacturing is considered to be an emerging industry. 

Data from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (Carnevale, Smith, & Strohl, 2013) and the Wyoming Department of Workforce Service’s Research and Planning Division (2013) illustrate that a number of occupations within the key industries in Southeastern Wyoming will have significant annual job openings through 2020. These occupations are typically accessed through a community college education and have a mean hourly wage of $15 or more. Specifically, twenty-two occupations related to Health Care, Computer Technology, Energy and Manufacturing are documented as having more than 27 openings annually from 2012-2020. Data extracted from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Service’s Occupational Projections through 2020, specifically for the Cheyenne Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), are presented in Table 1 below. 


Annual Openings 

Mean Hourly Wage 

Typical Education 

Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 



Some College 

First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers 



Some College 

Maintenance and Repair Workers, General 



Some College 




Some College 

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers 



Some College 

Industrial Machinery Mechanics 



Some College 

Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters 



Some College 

Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists 



Some College 

Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics, Except Engines 



Some College 

Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics 



Some College 

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses 



Some College 

Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers 



Some College 

Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics 



Some College 

Dental Assistants 



Some College 




Some College 

Dental Hygienists 



Associate Degree 

Radiologic Technologists and Technicians 



Associate Degree 

Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers 



Some College 

Computer Systems Analysts 



Associate Degree 

Computer Network Support Specialists 



Some College 

Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment 



Some College 

Respiratory Therapists 



Associate Degree 

Power Plant Operators 



Associate Degree 


There are a number of other high demand occupations related to these same industries requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher as also documented by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. Because of LCCC’s transfer mission, the baccalaureate programs with which it articulates should be influenced by these occupational needs as well. Overall, by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in Wyoming will require some postsecondary education or training. 

Although specific labor market needs should influence the College’s educational programs, our work should not, and cannot, be solely focused on production training. In fact, it is becoming evident that many critical needs in our workforce and our society remain centered on developing a combination of intellectual, practical, and adaptive creative abilities in our students regardless of their chosen occupation. For example, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has suggested that not only is there a completion shortfall in higher education today, there is also a quality shortfall (Humphreys, 2012). This shortfall is a result of too few students achieving proficiency in specific learning outcomes and that the “increasing complexity of our world is adding to what a well-educated person must know and be able to do.” 

Schneider (2010) suggests that, in addition to traditional and subject-related knowledge, there are at least six new areas of knowledge, skills and abilities that individuals must possess to be successful. While employers ask for greater emphasis on such traditional outcomes as “communications, analytic reasoning, quantitative literacy, broad knowledge of science and society, and field-specific knowledge and skills” they are also seeking graduates with high levels of “global knowledge and competence; intercultural knowledge and skills; creativity and innovation; teamwork and problem-solving skills in diverse settings; information literacy and fluency; and ethical reasoning and decision making.” A recent study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (2013) found that employers will likely seek cognitive skills such as communication and analytics from potential employees rather than physical skills traditionally associated with manufacturing and other high-skill occupations. 

Thus, in a time when institutions of higher learning are shifting focus to occupational skill development, it is perhaps more imperative that we reimagine and strengthen the general education program of the College to compliment the technical and practical skills necessary in a single occupation with those abilities required of all occupations.