An annual meeting of the state’s business leaders this week provided plenty of opportunities for discussions about the changes Wyoming is facing.
Attendees at the Governor’s Business Forum in Cheyenne shared thoughts and ideas on how the state should prepare to meet the challenges of the future.
Such changes do not have to occur at the expense of the state’s quality of life, said Cindy DeLancey, president of the Wyoming Business Alliance, the group that hosted the gathering.
“We’re cowboys and cowgirls,” she said. “We love so many things about Wyoming, but we also realize the world is changing around us. We can still be cowboys and be ready for 21st century jobs and make sure our children have the skills and the foundation to be able to be good, productive citizens for the next generation.”
For such change to happen, gatherings such as the Business Forum are necessary, said Laurie Farkas, community affairs manager for Black Hills Energy.
“I think when we get together and start really thinking about the issues critically, that’s when change, especially good change, can happen,” she said.
Among those taking part in the conversation were students from the University Wyoming.
Rudy Nesvik, a UW freshman studying mechanical engineering, said the state should work to bring in businesses that would help lure new residents with advanced degrees.
“I think that Wyoming can look at attracting some of those manufacturing businesses to bring in more engineers,” he said. “We can have this focus on career and technical education, but I think we should also keep in mind other industries and other ways we can grow into the future.”
Kaci Schmick agreed the state needs to work harder to find businesses that would keep Wyoming youth in the state.
“We’re really just trying to get people to stay in Wyoming,” said the UW freshman. “A lot of jobs students want, they have to leave the state to find those jobs.”