© Copyright 2004 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning


Vol. 41 No. 9    



A First Look at Research & Planning's Newest Publication on Community College Graduates

by: Sara Saulcy, Economist

    This article highlights a few of the findings from the forthcoming publication, Where Are They Now? Wyoming Community College Graduates’ Labor Market Outcomes. The publication examines the employment outcomes of May 2002 Wyoming community college graduates. Topics covered in the publication include the industries in which graduates work, selected demographic characteristics, hourly earnings, occupations, and employer satisfaction with graduates’ skills and work habits.

When May 2002 Wyoming community college graduates were entering the labor market, Wyoming’s economy, relative to that of most surrounding states and the nation, was performing well. Colorado’s economy in particular suffered during the May 2002 to May 2003 time period.

Community college graduates fill the labor needs for employers in Wyoming and surrounding states. In particular, colleges near the state’s borders disproportionately supply workers to out-of-state labor markets. This should not be taken as a criticism of the colleges because they are filling a regional educational market niche. The fact that many of the graduates are successful in the labor markets of surrounding states is an indication that the colleges are imbuing students with useful work skills.

As shown in the Figure, graduates’ employment in Wyoming was primarily in service-providing industries (798 of 894 jobs). The goods-producing industries (Natural Resources & Mining, Construction, and Manufacturing) employed predominantly men (72 men compared to 24 women). In contrast, service-providing industries employed mostly women (581 women compared to 217 men).

Across all age groups, service-providing industries employed the most graduates. Graduates between 20 and 54 years of age worked in Health Care & Social Assistance (267). Those in the 55-64 age group were concentrated in Professional & Business Services.

On average, graduates earned $3.75 per hour more than the entry-level wage of all Wyoming workers ($10.93 per hour compared to $7.18 per hour). With four exceptions (Business & Financial Operations; Architecture & Engineering; Life, Physical, & Social Science; and Legal occupations), graduates earned higher hourly wages in 2003 than entry-level wages for all Wyoming workers within that occupational group.

Overall, employers report that they are satisfied with the skills and work habits of the graduates they employ.

The complete study of May 2002 graduates’ employment outcomes, Where Are They Now? Wyoming Community College Graduates’ Labor Market Outcomes, is now available from our website at <http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/CollegeReport2004.htm>.


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