- Associated Press - Sunday, June 19, 2016

NEWCASTLE, Wyo. (AP) - Energy industry layoffs are pushing applicants toward corrections and law enforcement jobs where recruits can be scarce.

Four career fairs have been held after the two largest coal mines in the state laid off 460 workers combined and another company eliminated 37 jobs this spring, the Casper Star-Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1Y2SlBd ).

“The day they started the layoffs at the coal mines, I mean holy cow,” said Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp warden Todd Martin. “Within a week or two we had stacks of applications. I had people calling me left and right that I knew that were coal mine employees.”

Corrections departments can have difficulty finding and retaining officers. Martin said the competitive oil industry can offer better wages.

“Historically, that’s killed us,” Martin said.

A Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp official said roughly 75 out of about 100 recent applications were filed by people who held energy industry jobs.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. David Wagener said his agency made a conscious effort at the fairs to recruit former energy workers.

Wyoming Department of Corrections spokesman Mark Horan said about 20 hires used to work in the energy industry.

Casper Police Sgt. Ben Mattila said it will be interesting to see who stays if the industry rebounds.

“When times are good, we don’t see energy people,” Mattila said. “If the industry comes back, it will be interesting to see if they stay, because of the money and the stigma surrounding law enforcement nationwide right now.”


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com

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