Published June 2017
Wyoming has a comparatively small population spread across a large land area. In 2010, 35.2% of the state’s population lived in areas defined as rural by the U.S. Census Bureau1. Individuals living in rural areas face unique This chapter will first compare long-term projections to illustrate the demand for a health care workforce and the impact of Wyoming postsecondary graduates. The article will then discuss University of Wyoming (UW) and community college students who graduated from health professions and related programs (Classification of Instructional Programs [CIP] 51) in fall 2006, spring 2007, and summer 2007 and their effect on the supply and demand of the health care workforce in Wyoming and partner states1. For the purposes of this article, the graduates from fall 2006, spring 2007, and summer 2007 semester are identified as the 2006/07 cohort.
The total number of persons working in Wyoming at any time decreased by 1.6% (-5,872 individuals) from 2014 to 2015, while the number of persons age 65 and older working at any time increased 2.9% (443 individuals; Moore, 2016). Previous research from the Research & Planning (R&P) section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services indicated a substantial outmigration of young people: based on a cohort analysis, approximately half of all 18-year-olds were found working in Wyoming eight years later (Glover, 2012), and only 40% remained working 10 years later. Other studies have found that males who attended high school in Wyoming tend to move out of state whether they have a bachelor’s degree or not, whereas females who attended high school in Wyoming and obtained a bachelor’s degree go to work in other states more so than those who do not have a bachelor’s degree (Mohondro, 2016). As working-aged individuals leave Wyoming, thus reducing the workforce supply, the need for replacement workers under certain circumstances increases.
Wyoming’s health care industry (NAICS2 62) is one of several industries with an older workforce. This is identified in Wyoming’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Unified Plan at http://wyowdc.wyo.gov/unified-state-plan-1. With aging health care workers retiring and possibly needing additional health care themselves, the need for more health care workers in Wyoming becomes even greater. The University of Wyoming (UW) and the state’s community colleges all offer degrees in health care. With access to Unemployment Insurance wage records and UW and community college student records, R&P has the ability to determine how many students who graduate with a degree in health care continue working in Wyoming or go to work in another state.
Supply and demand reports provide readers with an idea of how many trained workers it will take to meet employer demand (National Skills Coalition, 2014). As an example of the influence graduates can have on the workforce, Table 3.1 uses the long-term statewide employment projections from 2006-2016 to compare the number of projected vacancies in the health care industry and the influence the 2006/07 graduates have on the health care workforce. R&P updates projections every two years, thus the long-term projections with the base year of 2006 and a projected year of 2016 illustrate the demand for the employment of the 2006/07 cohort. Industry projections do not provide exact employment, but, as noted by Saulcy and Jones (2009), “use historical trends in employment within an industry to predict whether the industry is expected to expand or contract over the next decade.”
This analysis uses the 2006/07 cohort, the earliest available to R&P, which provides the longest period to observe student outcomes and the corresponding 2006-2016 projections. This analysis is an initial attempt at assembling the data and will be refined as R&P continues to explore new ideas. The projections predicted that about 585 jobs would become available in the health care industry each year from 2006 to 2016. Table 3.1 shows that in 2007, 592 graduates from the 2006/07 cohort with a degree in CIP 51 worked in Wyoming and declined every year through 2016. As the number of graduates working in Wyoming declined, the projected demand for workers from future graduating classes increased. For example, the 2007/08 cohort would need to fill an additional 46 jobs combined with the 585 available jobs as shown by projections, for a total of 631 jobs in 2008. Table 3.1 only represents the demand from the 2006/07 cohort. Realistically, many factors will influence demand on the workforce, such as oil and gas prices. The demand could continue to increase for several other reasons as future graduates leave Wyoming’s workforce. Additionally, in 2007, about 8.0% of individuals over the age of 16 worked more than one job3. Because projections measure jobs rather than individuals, the supply and demand may be affected more if graduates hold more than one job.
While it may appear that the supply of workers from the 2006/07 cohort should exceed the demand from R&P’s employment projections, the supply of workers gradually disappears after graduation as people go to work in other states, choose to remain out of the workforce, or are unable to participate. As the 2006/07 graduates leave the Wyoming workforce, the replacement of supply will be left up to future graduating classes.
R&P’s long-term employment projections show an expected growth of 5,856 jobs in Wyoming’s health care industry (NAICS 621, 622, 623) between 2006 and 2016 (25.0% over 10 years; 585 jobs of all types per year; Leonard, 2008). At the beginning of that period, 879 students graduated from a Wyoming postsecondary education institution with a certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or professional degree in a health care program (CIP 51) as part of the 2006/07 cohort. Three quarters after graduation, the percentage of students found working in Wyoming or a partner state reached 76.6% (see Table 3.2). Eight years after graduation, the percentage of graduates found working in Wyoming dropped to 43.6% and the percentage working in partner states increased to 23.9%. This indicates that while the majority of graduates work in Wyoming or a partner state, a gradual shift occurs towards more graduates working in other states.
Figure 3.1 shows that in eight years after graduation, the percentage of graduates from a health care program at a Wyoming postsecondary education institution from the 2006/07 cohort found working in Wyoming or a partner state increased by 9.3 percentage points, while the percentage of graduates working in Wyoming decreased by almost 18 percentage points. The increase in the percentage of graduates working in partner states shows that some students are leaving Wyoming to work in states with growing economies such as Colorado and Utah.
The health care programs offered by UW and the community colleges tend to be female dominated. Of the 2006/07 cohort, 731 females (83.2%) and 125 males (14.2%) graduated from a health care program (demographics were not available for 47 graduates, or 5.3%). Table 3.3 shows that one quarter after graduation, 80.4% of female graduates worked in Wyoming or a partner state, compared to 64.0% of male graduates. Eight years after graduation, the percentage of female graduates found working decreased to 72.2%: 47.2% in Wyoming and 25.0% in partner states. In that same time, the percentage of males found working decreased to 51.2%: 29.6% in Wyoming and 21.6% in a partner state (see Table 3.3). Fewer males who graduated with a degree in health care worked in Wyoming or a partner state than females, and during the eight years following graduation, and both males and females left Wyoming to work in partner states and states with which R&P does not have a data-sharing agreement.
Following graduation, the percentage of males working in Wyoming decreased more rapidly than the percentage of females. Almost two years after graduation, the percentage of males working in Wyoming dropped 12.8 percentage points, while the percentage of females working in Wyoming decreased more gradually over the eight years following graduation (see Figure 3.2). This shows that males with a degree in health care were more likely to leave Wyoming’s workforce sooner after graduation than females, possibly to work in another state.
The majority of graduates from the 2006/07 cohort graduated with an associate’s degree or certificate. Graduates with these degrees are more likely to be found working in Wyoming and partner states during the eight years after graduating. As shown in Table 3.4, between 70.8% and 85.6% of graduates with an associate’s degree worked in Wyoming or a partner state during the eight years following graduation. Graduates who earned bachelor’s degrees were the least likely to be found working in Wyoming or a partner state eight years after graduation (56.1%). Students who earned a graduate degree (master’s, PhD, etc.) made up the highest percentage of graduates who were found working in one of the 11 partner states during the eighth year after graduation (30.1%; see Table 3.4). Overall, more graduates with lower level degrees in health care worked in Wyoming during the eight years following graduation than graduates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in health care.
As noted earlier, many of the health care programs offered at Wyoming postsecondary education institutions tend to be female dominated. The most students graduated with a degree in registered nursing (RNs; four-digit CIP 5138; n = 339) and practical nursing, vocational nursing, & nursing assistants (LPNs, CNAs, and vocational nurses; four-digit CIP 5139; n = 179). As seen in Table 3.5, graduates from these two nursing programs (CIP 5138 and 5139) were more likely to be found working in Wyoming than graduates from another health care program. Between 64.3% and 66.4% of RNs and 70.4% to 74.9% of LPNs, CNAs, and vocational nurses worked in Wyoming during the first year after graduating. Eight years after graduating, 44.8% of RNs and 50.8% of LPNs, CNAs, and vocational nurses remained working in Wyoming. During this time, the supply of RNs working in a partner state increased to 19.8% while 23.5% of LPNs, CNAs, and vocational nurses worked in a partner state. The decrease of RNs, LPNs, CNAs, and vocational nurses in Wyoming with the increase in partner states suggests that these graduates are gradually leaving Wyoming for work in other states.
Graduates from most health care CIP codes were more likely to work in Wyoming than a partner state; however, individuals who graduated with a degree in pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, & administration (four-digit CIP 5120) were more likely to be found working in a partner state than in Wyoming in every quarter during the eight years following graduation. Eight years after graduation, 65.2% of CIP 5120 graduates were found working: 21.7% in Wyoming and 43.5% in a partner state. By the eighth year after graduation, at least one-fourth of graduates from all other CIP codes worked in partner states, suggesting that graduates with degrees in most health care programs eventually leave to work in partner states.
Students who reside in other states but enroll in a Wyoming college make up another source of workforce supply for Wyoming. While some of these students may stay in Wyoming to work, others may return to their resident state to find work. As seen in Figure 3.3, about 70% of 2006/07 CIP 51 graduates with Wyoming residency remained working in Wyoming through the eighth year after graduation, while more than one-fourth of students with out-of-state residency worked in Wyoming until the seventh year after graduation before dropping slightly. The percentage of graduates working in other states fluctuated more; between 54% and 60% of out-of-state students worked in other states, while about one-third of in-state students worked in other states during the eight years following graduation (see Figure 3.4). It should be noted that graduates with residency in other states are over counted in this article. Data provided to R&P labeled students attending community colleges as a Wyoming high school graduate or a high school graduate from another state. Without any additional data to better determine student residency, any Wyoming resident graduate of a community college who attended high school in another state is considered an out-of-state resident for the purposes of this chapter.
Previous studies from R&P have shown that young workers from Wyoming tend to leave to work in other states, creating less supply and greater replacement need for workers in the state.
Less than half of Wyoming’s postsecondary education students who graduated in 2006/07 cohort with a degree in health care remained working in Wyoming. The migration of postsecondary education graduates creates an even greater replacement need for future graduates going into the health care workforce. It is possible that some of these students attended Wyoming postsecondary schools from out-of-state and returned home for work after graduation. Graduates may leave Wyoming due to more employment opportunities in the growing economies of other states or due to relocation of employment of a spouse. Future research will include studies on the work experience of the graduates from 2006/07 cohort beyond eight years after graduation and the work experience of graduates from later semesters as data becomes available. In addition, R&P is working to create a dataset in which the household is the unit of measurement. As these data become available, studies on the relocation of individuals for reasons related to families will also be conducted.
Using the same research strategy as this article, future analysis will focus on all programs of study available at UW and the community colleges and how the graduates of each program impact the workforce. A single academic year’s cohort was used in this article to examine a longer time period after graduation; however, the future analysis will require stacked cohorts to account for the small number of graduates from each program of study. The future research will look at the graduates by degrees awarded within each CIP code and the workforce outcomes of those graduates in Wyoming and partner states.
Glover, W. (2012). A decade later: Tracking Wyoming’s youth into the labor force. Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Research & Planning, Casper, WY. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/w_r_research/A_Decade_Later.pdf
Leonard, D. (2008). Wyoming statewide long-term employment projections 2006-2016. Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Research & Planning, Casper, WY. Retrieved November 30, 2016 from http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/LT_ind_0616.pdf
Mohondro, L. (2016). Chapter 4: Postsecondary education and labor market behavior. Wyoming’s Hathaway Scholarship Program: A Workforce Outcomes Evaluation of a State Merit-Based Scholarship Initiative Using Administrative Records. Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Research & Planning, Casper, WY. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/education_we_connect/hathaway2016/hathaway_ch4.htm
Moore, M. (2016). Wage records in Wyoming: Employment and earnings by age, gender, county, & industry, 2000-2015. Wyoming Labor Force Trends, 53(10). Retrieved December 14, 2016 from http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/trends/1016/1016.pdf
National Skills Coalition. (2014, June). How many more skilled workers do we need? Using supply and demand reports for state workforce planning. Retrieved December 23, 2016 from http://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/resources/publications/file/how-many-more-skilled-workers.pdf
Saulcy, S., and Jones, S. (2009, February). A closer look at occupational projections for Wyoming, 2006-2016. Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Research & Planning, Casper, WY. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/occ_proj_06_16/text.htm
1 Partner states are those state labor market information (LMI) offices with which Research & Planning has data-sharing agreements: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah.
2North American Industry Classification System.
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. Multiple Jobholders as a Percent of Employed. Retrieved March 9, 2017, from https://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet.