According to a report presented at last month's Governor's Summit on Workforce Solutions, Laramie's technology sector is growing, and has become a vital aspect of the community's economy.
The report indicated that Laramie has 600 full-time technology sector employees with a payroll of more than $21 million. That averages out to $35,000 per employee. Only 18 years ago, less than a dozen companies fit the sector description. Now, Dr. William Gern, University of Wyoming vice president of research and economic development, said the city has about 65 companies operating in the technology sector today. That means Laramie, a city with about 30,000 residents, has supported an average of three new technology startups annually. Most of those, Gern said, are associated with the university in some capacity.
But the sector is not without its growing pains in Laramie. According to the SNAPIT Technology Workforce Survey, it can be problematic to find employees that are a "good fit" for the technology sector in Laramie, regardless of qualifications and experience. This is the primary reason Sierra Trading Post left neighboring Cheyenne to start its technology campus
in Fort Collins.
"We need to be able to tap that tech market we can't tap here," CEO Gary Imig told Wyoming Business Report.
"We do have a lot of good feelings about Wyoming. Before we made this move, we sat down with Gov. Mead to explain why we were doing this."
According to the Laramie Economic Development Corporation, the survey identified the following workforce needs to be addressed:
• The need to market Laramie as a technology-rich, entrepreneurial region with advantages emanating from close proximity to highly regarded academic resources.
• Creating or enhancing existing networks that will directly benefit the technology workforce. Such networks should consider recruiting needs; technology career development; acclimation to the Laramie community; and the needs of "trailing spouses," who seem to have trouble finding meaningful work in Laramie when following their spouse to the region.
• Expanding and extending mentoring and counseling services to a wider range of technology companies, thereby addressing issues related to employment processes, performance management, planning and other development needs.
• Improving awareness and accessibility to survey data associated with competitive regional and local compensation and employee benefits.
• Advocating for small employer cost competitive access to healthcare insurance plans.
• Advocating for expanded approaches to small employer workforce stabilization (i.e. subcontracting people or work).
• Exploring the feasibility of seeking academic and on-the-job training alternatives for improving vocational skills training.
The full SNAPIT Technology Workforce Survey Analysis and Findings can be accessed by clicking here
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