- Associated Press - Sunday, March 8, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A new state program will use social media in hopes of luring talented young people back to Wyoming.

Wyoming Grown will use parents, grandparents and relatives who are on Facebook and other similar sites to help attract young people who have left the state for jobs.

The program created by the state’s Division of Workforce Services will start later this spring.

“Wyoming Grown will seek to recruit skilled young professionals back to their roots, bringing back to our state computer programmers, managers, doctors, nurses, engineers who have since left our borders to continue to build their careers and raise their families here,” agency spokeswoman Hayley McKee said.

“It’s no surprise to anyone when you say we have difficulty keeping youth here,” McKee told members of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce. “Our talented young workers tend to leave the state labor force in droves. It has been a challenge for quite some time.



“Of all the 18-year-olds working in Wyoming from any given year, only an estimated 40 percent are still working in Wyoming 10 years later. Folks, that means we’re losing 60 percent of our young talent.”

Wyoming employers who look for highly skilled workers have a hard time finding young professionals with sufficient practical experience, McKee said.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports (https://bit.ly/192Vfig ) that an agency team researched ways to tackle the problem. It found similar programs in neighboring states that were used to help create Wyoming Grown.

It will use the statewide network of employment specialists at Workforce Services. They will work closely with participants to connect them with job opportunities in the state.

In addition, a Wyoming Grown website also will be created where people can refer others who have left the state.

A mom from Sheridan, for example, might enroll her son who lives in Dallas. Once she does, the site will collect the son’s mailing address, and he will get a letter from Gov. Matt Mead.

The governor will ask him to consider coming back to Wyoming. The letter also will list good points about living in Wyoming.

If the son is interested, the letter will instruct him to upload a resume to the website. A Workforce Services employee will call him within 48 hours to discuss his career.

The son would be connected with an employment specialist and a Family Services recruiter to work with him.

Another option allows young professionals make contact on their own.

“We already have one win under our belt,” McKee said, noting that one person has been placed in a health-care job through the program.

McKee asked chamber members and business owners to help Wyoming Grown get off the ground.

“We simply cannot do this without you,” she said.

She asked business owners to post job openings on the Wyoming Grown website.

“We just really want these really strong, highly skilled individuals in our workforce. We welcome anyone to be a part of this program,” she added.

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Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, https://www.wyomingnews.com

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