The region served by Central Wyoming College (CWC) has “more cows than people,” says Amanda Winchester, an agriculture and meat science instructor.
Having an agriculture program at the college is a service to “not only our students but our community,” she adds.
The college’s ag program was cut in the early 1990s, but now it’s back and growing. CWC offers education in ag business, animal science, equine science, range management and meat science.
On August 26, the college will celebrate the opening of its new agriculture and equine center. Along with two professional arenas, the center will include classrooms and a complete meat processing complex.
CWC is one of the only colleges in the nation to have a hands-on meat science certificate. The semester-long program provides training in food safety, harvesting and fabrication (or cutting) of beef, swine, sheep/goat, poultry and wild game animals.
Students can also earn an associate degree in food technology and meat science, which includes internships, and is intended for transfer to a four-year institution.
Program graduates can end up managing or running their own plants, being an inspector or going into research – to name just a few options. All of these occupations are needed, Winchester says, especially now.
“When Covid hit, meat supplies stopped coming to shelves. Customers figured out they need to know where their food comes from,” she says. There are now more processors in the state and Winchester often gets calls from processing plants needing workers.
“Covid taught us a lot about not relying on general supply funnel,” Winchester adds. There’s more demand for locally produced and processed food.
CWC also is developing a bachelor’s degree in agricultural leadership, which would allow people to stay in the community while earning a four-year degree. The degree program would teach students, in part, how to be an advocate.
“We need more leaders to advocate for agriculture,” Winchester says.
Riverton, Wyo.— Metallica’s foundation, All Within My Hands, continues its multimilliondollar investment in critical workforce programs at community colleges nationwide. Among the schools, Central Wyoming College was selected from a competitive pool of applicants to receive $100,000 to transform the futures of students in the community.
“Central Wyoming College is excited to be a part of something that is elevating the importance of career paths where people can be really successful,” says President Brad Tyndall. “Trades, like our auto program, are so desperately needed by our communities right now. We’re incredibly thankful for Metallica’s generosity and All Within My Hands’ support.”
“Metallica’s mission to bring ‘dignity to the trades’ is aligned with Central Wyoming College’s purpose of providing high quality education in all of our trades programs,” says Lynne McAuliffe, CWC Dean of Business, Technical, Health and Safety. “We selected the Automotive Technology program to be the focus of this initiative in order to bring additional resources and attention to the demanding profession of automotive technicians.”