Green River Star -

By Mikayla Larrow
Western Wyoming Community College 

Federal grant of $3M awarded to Western for healthcare expansion

 

January 12, 2023

Photo courtesy of Western Wyoming Community College

A computer-generated mock-up of what Western's western entrance would look like after renovations and construction.

On January 5 the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the decision of the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to award Western Wyoming Community College (Western) a $3 million grant to help diversify the economy of Southwest Wyoming by boosting the region's healthcare workforce. The EDA's investments will be matched with more than $5 million in state and local funds. 

The grant will be funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) initiative. EDA awards funds to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal. Western submitted a grant in March 2022 to renovate and construct new educational spaces to support the creation of a Health Science wing on Western's main campus.

This expansion is projected to add 10,450 square feet of new space and renovate 6,600 square feet of existing structure located on the main campus. Renovations would be on the campus's west side, which includes additional improvements for accessibility at its entrance. This is one of the largest grants awarded in history to the College.

"This is a competitive grant, and we are grateful for this federal support. This funding supports the creation of a state-of-the-art health science teaching facility to prepare our future health care workers in Southwest Wyoming," states Dr. Kim Dale, President of Western. "This building renovation and addition is a perfect complement to our award-winning nursing program." 

Western's service area is the largest in the state, consisting of five counties: Carbon, Lincoln, Sublette, Sweetwater, and Uinta. In the past year, several counties the College serves broke ground on new construction sites for critical access hospitals. The demand for local healthcare positions was estimated to be 1,500 over ten years as outlined in employer letters supporting the grant.

The grant was supported by various southwest Wyoming community partners. Western appreciates submitted letters of endorsement by: Aspen Mountain Medical Center; Best Home Health and Hospice; Carbon County Public Health; Castle Rock Medical Center; Deer Trail Assisted Living; Evanston Regional Hospital; Hospice of Sweetwater County; Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County; Rawlins Rehabilitation and Wellness (EmpRes Healthcare Management); Star Valley Health; Sweetwater County Community Nursing Service; Sweetwater Surgery Center; and the Wyoming Department of Health. 

With the urgent need for a trained health care workforce, Western anticipates breaking ground spring of this year. The next steps are to coordinate the building renovation meetings with the EDA, State of Wyoming, and the internal College grant task force.  

For questions regarding this grant, please contact Mikayla Larrow, the College's Public Relations Specialist at marketing@westernwyoming.edu or by calling 307-382-1858. 

There is still time to register for Spring semester. Contact admissions@westernwyoming.edu or visit westernwyoming.edu/apply before January 19.

 

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