Energy Exploration program and Tribal Casino receive Governor’s Awards

News for immediate release
Contact: Sandy Barton, (307) 856-2028

(CASPER) – Two Fremont County entities were presented with the state’s top workforce awards this past week for developing partnerships and creating innovations in employment opportunities. The awards to the Fremont County Board of Cooperative Education Services (FC BOCES) and the Northern Arapaho Tribe’s Wind River Casino were presented at the annual Governor’s Summit on Workforce Solutions.

The Energy Exploration program developed by FC BOCES in cooperation with regional energy industry partners was honored with the 2010 Workforce Partnership Award. Joan Evans, Director of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, said the Energy Exploration program “has demonstrated a unique collaboration between businesses and the community.”

Now in its third year, the Energy Exploration course will be offered at all high schools in Fremont and Hot Springs counties this coming fall, said Larry Christensen, FC BOCES Career and Technical Director. “Without the cooperation of our energy industry partners, this valuable program would not exist” Christensen said.

FC BOCES Executive Director Sandy Barton said the course provides high school students with a wide range of energy industry career options. She said students in the program learn about such topics as geology, exploration, production, reclamation, contracting, and environmental, to mention a few. Students who successfully complete the class also earn an OSHA Safety Certification card.

The Northern Arapaho Tribe’s Wind River Casino was presented with the 2010 Innovation in the Workplace Award “for investing in the development and well being of its employees.”

Now the largest employer in Fremont County with some 600 workers, the casino operation was recognized for having brought “revolutionary change” to employment on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

All employees of the casino operations, which include the Wind River and 789 casinos south of Riverton and the Little Wind Casino at Ethete, are trained on customer service, personal finance and other job skill areas. For many reservation residents, the casinos have provided their first stable employment opportunity.

FC BOCES facilitates the casino’s employee training at its West Main Street location in Riverton.

Accepting the Workforce Partnership Award was FC BOCES Career and Technical Director Larry Christensen, left. Also on hand for the presentation were Riverton Workforce Services Director Burl Gies, right, EnCana Oil and Gas Wyoming Community Relations Advisor Randy Teeuwen, who nominated FC BOCES for the award, and FC BOCES Executive Director Sandy Barton.