Gillette College Board of Trustees Candidate Questions: Round 3

Gillette College announces their Fall 2020 semester honor roll students.
Gillette College announces their Fall 2020 semester honor roll students. (Photo courtesy of Gillette College)

Good afternoon Gillette! Below are the responses to the third and final round of questions sent by County 17 to each individual candidate running to serve on the prospective Gillette Community College District Board of Trustees. Each candidate received the following questions:

  1. Gillette College has long existed under the umbrella of the Northern Wyoming Community College District. Why is now the right time to attempt the formation of an independent community college district given the fact that previous attempts have failed? (250 words or less)
  2. What academic programs has the NWCCD prevented Gillette College from creating, expanding, or removing (aside from nursing)? (150 words or less)
  3. Are there any programs that you would like to see added, expanded (aside from nursing), or removed from the Gillette College curriculum should the new district be approved and accredited? (150 words or less)
  4. Do you believe this district will be approved by the voters of Campbell County? Why or why not? (100 words or less)

The responses published here are presented as they were submitted to us with as little editing as possible. We at County 17 feel our readers deserve to know who they are voting for without making any candidate sound better then they really are. Some responses were cut for space.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Ryan Allen

  1. I don’t want to sound cliché, but there’s never a better time than now.  Every day that we let pass without making a change is one less day where we as a community don’t control our own destiny as it relates to the college.  For me personally, the fact that we’ve long existed under the current arrangement doesn’t change anything.  We can’t continue to do the same thing and expect different results.  Past failures should not be indicative of our current environment, or vision for the future.  If you don’t keep trying, then you’ll never know what it’s like to succeed.  Now is our opportunity set our own vision for the future.
  2. I’ve had conversations regarding this exact question.  In general, they haven’t been supportive of us adding faculty locally to provide our enrollment with increased opportunities.  The 2020 fall semester saw 30+ classes cancelled and 12 moved to online only.  We’ve not been allowed add Criminal Justice due to Sheridan already offering it.  We weren’t allowed to expand our AG offerings, and our current enrollment is required to take these classes online.  I’m not sure that online is the best medium for an agriculture major.  We’ve tried to restructure our welding program to better align with local industry.  We now have a competing facility in town in this area that can be nimble to the changing needs of our employers.  As a local community college we need to be ready, willing, and able to adapt to the changing needs of the world.
  3. We’ve never had the opportunity to make these changes on our own.  We’ll need to listen to the community, prospective students, feedback from current students, and industry.  Input from all these stakeholders will allow us to implement the programs, degrees, and certificates that our community desires.   I think we could develop an excellent certificate program for the trades. Include HVAC, plumbing, and building on the electrical program.  These occupations provide critical positions in our community and we don’t have a pipeline to replace an aging workforce.  Continue to build upon our diesel and welding programs that are some of the best in the region.  As an IT professional I feel we are lacking a trained workforce in the areas of networking and cloud computing that are driving our future.   Programs in these areas would allow us to provide locally trained staff for a wide range of local employers.
  4. I do believe that the voters of Campbell County will ultimately vote to approve this.  I think Campbell County residents have a vision of what they would like their community to be in the future.  Local control of our own college will allow their voices to be heard as it relates to programs, offerings, and tailoring a workforce to our community.

Frank Stevens

  1. Gillette has grown in population and the Gillette College has grown. Gillette College needs to be independent of a board of trustees from Sheridan County and the board’s president. With no input from the citizens of Gillette, Gillette College lost approximately 100 students and 13 staff as a result of the recent decision of the Sheridan board and president.  When the citizens of Gillette traveled to Sheridan to propose a solution, they were virtually ignored by the trustees and president. Gillette College is not a funding priority for NWCCD. It isn’t about athletics. The County Commissioners, City of Gillette and supportive citizens have built a $90 million debt free Gillette campus. With this vote, Campbell County has the opportunity to move forward with our own funding.  Elected representatives from Campbell County will control that funding to build and operate a college that is responsive to the needs of Campbell County, our industries, and citizens. Now is the time to take control.
  2. I have been advised such decisions have been made but, I do not have any direct information on this issue.
  3. I would like for the new board of trustees to evaluate and consider new trade related curriculums to include heating, air conditioning, and plumbing. As a trustee, I would look to the community, faculty, and administration for recommendations of new programs and programs that should be discontinued.
  4. Yes, I believe it will be approved. I think the people of Campbell County recognize the benefits of a viable college in our County.  In good and difficult economic times, a college is a stabilizing part of the community.

Nick Jessen

  1. Gillette is in a period where we need to expand our opportunities and offer new programs and ideas to continue to grow and be a prosperous community.  The Board of NWCCD is not interested in Gillettes growth.  We also own ninety million dollars worth of infrastructure and it is time that we took control of the property that we paid for.
  2. NWCCD has prevented us from expanding the nursing program, from developing a reclamation program, a building trades program and probably more that I am unaware of.  The board is more concerned with Sheridan college than Gillette College; this makes sense because all the board members are from Sheridan County.
  3. At this time we need to continue with the programs we have, until we are accredited we will need to operate with programs that are already accredited.  This will speed up our process.  This period will also give the Board time to review and receive input from the community.
  4. I believe that the district will be approved by the voters of Campbell County,  we have always been a progressive community, and been in favor of anything that improves the lives of our citizens.  The voters no that we need to control our college and that we are already paying for it so why not control also.

Maggie McCreery

  1. I feel that we who live and work in Campbell County know what our community needs for education and training of a work force. I think it is time for the residents of Campbell County to be in control of our future and be able to choose what programs, classes and training are taught at the Gillette Community College.
  2. Decisions made by NWCCD affected Gillette College regarding offering carpentry classes, fine arts (music) and I think Culinary Arts/Hospitality. It is difficulty for Gillette to respond to requests for training or programs when the decisions are in the hands of trustees in a different community.
  3. I would like to see expansion of the machining classes and computer science classes. I think all areas (welding, agriculture, health sciences, criminal justice, business, etc.) would need review before changing, removing or adding any programs.  Input from the community would be helpful and essential to accomplish changes in the curriculum.
  4. I would hope that the voters see this vote for approval as a way of controlling our future at the college and adapting changes when necessary to help train and educate our local work force. Rather it passes or not is in the hands of the voters.

Olin Oedekoven

  1. Our community is truly at a strategic inflection point relative to its long-term prosperity. Do we continue to grow and prosper, or do we plateau based on the status quo? An independent Gillette College District is a critical factor in our long-term success as a community for innovation, workforce development, and economic prosperity. Most in our community realize the unique nature of this decision and have come out in droves to support the Vote Yes effort. The last serious effort to establish an independent college district was over 20 years ago when the new campus was built. Back then, our economic and community needs were very different. Today, Campbell County is a much more diversified community, which helps improve our economic situation. Today, we also have over $90,000,000 invested in the College’s infrastructure that can be used as a springboard towards future success. Some 20 years ago, the College was not regarded as such a strong industry partner as it is today. Over the past two decades, new academic and certificate programs have been established in partnership with the energy sector’s needs for workforce development. Such partnerships can be strengthened by an independent College district. Industry officials see this potential, which is why so many of them have been supportive of the separation.
  2. The 2017 Market Study identified the long-term needs and opportunities for Gillette College. Specific areas included healthcare (medical technology and nursing), business management, administration, human services, and agribusiness. The recommendations from this study, which was conducted by a local working group, were submitted to the NWCCD for implementation. None of the recommendations were accepted simply because the study was focused on Campbell County and NWCCD officials did not want to expand existing Sheridan programs to Gillette College. This is why I so strongly support an independent Gillette College – we must be able to create and offer the academic programs and certificates that Campbell County needs, not just those that Sheridan wants.
  3. There are several academic programs and certificates that I would like to see added or expanded at Gillette College. First on my list is agribusiness to better serve both our area producers and our agribusiness retailers. Second is medical technology to serve our hospital and the diversity of independent medical service providers we now have in Campbell County. Third is business management, administration, and human services to better serve our small and medium-sized businesses. Fourth is more career technical education to expand service to the energy and construction sectors. Fifth relates to technology – programs and certificates related to commuter programming, service, and support. When the time is right, I also support the creation of the 4-year applied sciences degree.
  4. When I see the diversity of people who have come out to support the Vote Yes effort, my confidence in the passing of the initiative increases. People from all economic sectors, situations, and backgrounds realize the value that an independent Gillette College brings to our community. Such wide-ranging support tells me that this is the right thing to do.

Robert Palmer

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  1. Gillette College will celebrate its fifty second (52nd) anniversary this fall. The first attempt for an independent district was in 1986 and the application was declined. The second attempt was in 1991/92, the application was approved by the WCCC and Legislature; however, the voter referendum was defeated. It has been twenty-nine years and a lot has changed. We have grown from a few evening classes offered in high school classrooms, through renovation of the old hospital building (where the Senior Center is now located) to a wonderful, complete community college campus. The number of Students attending Gillette College and our FTE (fulltime equivalent) are approximately 47% of the Northern Wyoming Community College District, with our headcount often exceeding 50% in recent semesters. The College has grown and so have our County and Communities. In 1970 Campbell County’s population was 12,957, in 2021 our forecasted population is 45,450, a growth of over 3.5 times; comparatively in 1970 Sheridan County’s population was 18,989, with a forecasted 2021 population of 30,750, growth of just over 1.6 times. Campbell County now has the third largest population in the State. As independently confirmed in the application process, our Counties and Communities are different, our business and industry are different, we have our own unique challenges and opportunities for growth and development. This is a natural progression, and now the time is right for the citizens of Campbell County to determine the future of our post-secondary education, with an independent, locally governed Gillette Community College.
  2. Locally, we have been stifled in pursuing academic programming and degrees that are recommended and presented by our advisory boards, faculty and staff in areas that include Law Enforcement, Reclamation, Construction Trades, HVAC, Engineering and Culinary Arts; apart from the opportunity to double the number of Students enrolled in the Nursing program. We are told existing programs will suffice, or it may be considered, or the curriculum can be offered in Sheridan and Students can attend that campus or online. The current NWCCD administration has not taken the time, in the last twenty-four months, to meet individually with our local Partners: County, City, Town, Hospital, Business and Industry, and have face-to-face frank discussions on area needs and the role the College should take to assist. We are in a communication and transparency vacuum; this is disingenuous given the amount of financial support and resources provided annually by our Partners and Stakeholders.
  3. It will be the charge of the new Gillette Community College District Administration, Faculty and Staff to present programming changes, in concert with local advisory boards and stakeholder input, to the Board of Trustees. There are certainly areas identified in recent market analysis reports prepared for the College which are worthy of consideration, these include education, allied health sciences, agriculture, business and public administration, law enforcement, engineering tech, entrepreneurship and small business management, additional career technical curriculum, information services, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programming. All newly presented degree programming and curriculum additions, beyond existing accredited offerings, will have to be approved by the Wyoming Community College Commission (WCCC), the regional accreditation organization (Higher Learning Commission, HLC) and then adopted by the Gillette Community College District Board of Trustees through the public meeting process.
  4. Absolutely! I believe a sound majority of Campbell County Voters understand the importance of an independent Gillette Community College District, fiscally governed by a locally elected Board of Trustees. Our Voters have faith and perseverance with a positive and vibrant outlook for Campbell County, sustained by a responsive and dynamic local Community College focused on Student success and contributing to our economic well-being. Our citizens support the students currently served and the many generations that will attend Gillette Community College. They will vote YES for a solid investment in higher education, and the bright future of our County and Communities.

Alison Ochs Gee

  1. The Trustees of Sheridan College have made clear that they do not value open communication and collaboration with our community. Gillette has put faith in Sheridan College that our students would be treated fairly, and our programs given the respect they deserve.  The recent cuts made by Sheridan College without consulting its partners and stakeholders in Gillette decimated this community’s trust of Sheridan College and showed how little Sheridan College values our relationship.  Sheridan College has limited the programs we can offer and what our future looks like.  Gillette College has the facilities, community support, and great students to move forward with a focus on serving our students and our community without the limits being put on us by leadership concerned with serving Sheridan, not Gillette.
  2. Gillette College has been limited from matching its programming to our communities needs whenever the interests of Sheridan College were different that Gillette College. Over the years, numerous programs have been proposed and were not allowed under Sheridan College’s leadership.
  3. I would like to explore adding an HVAC program, criminal justice, expand education programming and expanding the welding and other hands-on programs. We should talk to our community to see what training our employees need in the workforce.
  4. I do believe the district will be approved. Our community sees the value in having a well-trained workforce with that programming directed by us.  We have seen Gillette College grow our community and enjoyed the benefits of it.  Data shows that each dollar spent on our College returns back to our community six times. This is a great return on investment and will help our community be more vibrant and strong for future generations.

Joy Beattie

  1. Initially 50 years ago the agreement with Sheridan College was workable with Gillette as Sheridan College out-reach branch. Campbell County has grown significantly in population and employment diversity. These employment changes require education in skills that are not being reflected in the courses offered at our college. Attempts by the Gillette College Advisory Board to expand and develop programs for our community have been repeatedly rejected by Sheridan College Board of Trustees. It is time to be an independent college and reflect the needs of Gillette, Wright, and Campbell County.
  2. Attempts by the Gillette College to develop agricultural business and animal science degrees on campus were not accepted by Sheridan College. Culinary Arts was a program developed in Gillette and not approved by Sheridan College. Apprenticeship program with local construction companies for students to work and learn was created but not approved by Sheridan College. On-campus art and Theater/Drama courses were also purposed for local students to pursue a creative arts degree with no approval from Sheridan College. These are only a few examples of Gillette College needing control of its campus to better serve our communities of Gillette and Wright as well as Campbell and surrounding counties.
  3. I’ve viewed the 2021 fall course catalog of classes offered at Gillette College. I would not remove any of the programs at this time. I would expand the basic Math, English, and Science courses to include more on campus instructors instead of zoomed instruction from Sheridan. I would also expand the industrial arts to include gas engine technology. Create courses with local businesses in the areas of construction, culinary arts, accounting, and criminal law that will in turn grow into apprenticeships/internships with those businesses. Offer on-campus agriculture and animal science degrees that can feed into bachelor programs. Offer certification in welding, metal fabrication and CDLs to those students that need these areas of education to secure good jobs. There are many more programs or courses Gillette College could offer the community, but we need Gillette College to have its own board of trustees to approve these.
  4. The Gillette and Wright communities see the benefit of taking control of its 90-million-dollar investment in Gillette College. We are a strong community that has been able to withstand rough times by educating our people for current and future needs.

Larry Smith

  1. The partnership between NWCCD (Sheridan and Gillette College) has been in existence for over 50 years. For the majority of the time it has been a good relationship but now it is time for Gillette to stand alone as an independent district. We have grown, matured and established infrastructure which the Gillette community has invested over 90 million dollars on our campus and we deserve to make our own decisions for our community. The need to become independent is pertinent. Campbell County is completely different from Sheridan County. Their needs for education and workforce differ from ours. Local businesses and industry have addressed the district for programs but trustees from Sheridan County have ignored many of them. I believe that the citizens of Campbell County are now much more aware of these contrasts. The seven elected trustees for NWCCD in Sheridan County have their constituents’ concerns to consider. They have given little consideration about our community or our specific needs. They are not concerned with our unique ties with the city, county, businesses and industry. It is time for the formation of an independent community college district of our own. It is time for local control. It is time for our own Board of Trustees that will be fully invested in our constituents and in the needs and success of Campbell County. We have the knowledge, experience and strength to stand on our own.
  2. It is my understanding that there have been requests for reclamation programs, suggestions for Ag programs, various fields of healthcare, criminal justice and culinary arts to name a few. The requests for these seem to have been ignored without taking the needs of our community and students into account. Music classes involving the Energy City Voices were eliminated as well. All decisions regarding programs have been decided in Sheridan by the NWCCD trustees with little or no input from the Gillette College leadership.
  3. As a Trustee, there are some options that I believe should be explored. This needs to take place with consultation of faculty, local business and industry leaders reflecting the current and future needs of the community I would like to see more courses in education offered to allow students the ability to work on their education degree locally. Perhaps programs offered for HVAC and more in electrical fields may be needed. There could be other healthcare programs offered such as Physical Therapy Assistant, Respiratory Therapy Assistant and possible other healthcare certifications, with direction from the needs of our local medical community. A Criminal Justice program might be considered, but again, with consultation from community leaders in that field as to the need. I’ve mentioned before that expanding some business classes and entrepreneurship opportunities could be beneficial.
  4. I do believe that this district will be approved. If everyone concerned has looked at the facts, the correct numbers and the actual benefit of Gillette College becoming an independent district, the answer should be YES! The main reason is for local control of our assets and established investments. I will promote positive growth of our college and its programs. As a trustee I will work to offer as many opportunities as possible for students and our community, while striving to keep Gillette Community College District the most cost effective in the state through fiscal responsibility, local guidance and leadership.

Anne Ziegenhorn

  1.   Is there ever going to be the “right” time become our own college?  It seems that work traffic has picked up and it is especially noticeable on Hwy 59.  Bring able to make our own decisions based on our economical and job work force situation, it is the time to become our own college.
  2. DECLINED TO RESPOND
  3. To make a statement about adding or decreasing programs is a little premature. There are other pressing matters that need to be completed before thinking or looking at program changes.
  4. I feel that the vote will pass but it will be a close vote.   I think that when Sheridan made the decision to cut athletics to save money, it made a lot of citizens aware that other items could be cut later.

Kevin Anders

  1. The college is way different from what it was in the past. From being housed in various parts of the city and the county, it is now all on one campus with facilities, the equal of most small community colleges. It has grown and evolved and like children, it is time to leave the nest.
  2. I understand that the astronomy program in Gillette was cancelled in favor of an online course in Sheridan. This even though Gillette (school system) has a world class planetarium, one of three in the state. The other two are in Casper and Laramie. GIS (Graphic Information Systems[making and managing maps]) has become an important part of industry, government, utilities, etc. Gillette College was not allowed to have a continuation in GIS studies past an introductory semester.
  3. From personal experience, I would like to see technology programs expanded (such as GIS) depending on the needs of industry and the rest of the community once we have their input.
  4. I think that there is a reasonable chance that it will be. There are a number of people in the community that believe the college should be directed locally. There has been a lot of awareness education going on in the community for this election on both sides. I believe that the voters will be better informed, many will go to the polls and cast a vote. Many times, a single item on a special election doesn’t draw many voters, since they don’t care one way or another. This election should see a bigger turnout than the 2019 special election did.

Brian Worthen

  1. Now is the right time to form a new community college district for two reasons.  First, the Gillette College needs a stable funding source.  Historically, the Gillette College has been funded through a combination of tuition, State Funds and local funds, with most of the local funds coming out of the City and County budgets.  Annual funding from the City and County are not a sure thing, and there will be future cuts coming from the State.  Now is the best time to set in stone a stable funding source for Gillette College, and that funding source is a County-wide mill levy. Secondly, decisions made locally benefit us locally.  In good times, this means our Gillette College can tailor programs to our local needs and expand programs we all feel are important to Gillette (and Wright!).  When times are tight, local decisions can be made on which programs should be scaled back and how we retool our workforce for a Campbell County version 2.0.  The time is now to move those decisions to Gillette.
  2. I have made two observations recently, both of which are business-minded.  In the 2020-2021 budget, the NWCCD Trustees approved a Health Sciences building on the Sheridan campus.  Circumstances of the last year delayed that construction, and a new Health Sciences and Advanced Technology building is now in the 2021-2022 NWCCD budget.  Under the current structure, any program offered on both the Sheridan and Gillette campuses would compete for limited funds in the future, with one program receiving more funding from the NWCCD.  This is real for any academic program shared between the campuses. My second observation is regarding administrative and business office staff.  Gillette College is operating like a lean machine, with the majority of the administrative staff in Sheridan.  Gillette College is paying for professional employees in Sheridan, rather than paying for those positions here in Gillette.  In other words, we are funding locally a college that creates jobs elsewhere.  This economic disparity is just as important as a change or cut to an academic program.
  3. I would love to see more trade education.  Gillette College has been producing diesel mechanics, machinists, welders and nursing graduates.  These students are entering the Gillette job force with skills the community needs, and we can build on each of those programs.  An HVAC focus would be an easy add for the College. Coming from industry, I see a new trend in the last year.  Certified Public Accountants in the State are retiring, and there is not a group of Accountants to replace them.  I would love to see Gillette College survey the professional landscape to see these holes forming in our workforce.  If the best opportunity is to expand an Accounting program, we should seize that opportunity.  I personally feel that a focus on specialty careers would benefit enrollment at Gillette College, bringing more students in from out of state.
  4. The early voting counts are impressive.  I gain confidence each week as we get closer to August 17th.  We must ensure our past investment in the college campus here does not go to waste.  We all want to see students housed in Inspiration Hall and the Pronghorn Center abuzz with events.  I believe it will pass – this is the right discussion at the right time.

Jed Jensen

  1. The previous attempt to create an independent in Gillette occurred in the early 1990’s. There are several differences between now and then.  First, the major employers at the time were very opposed to the creation of a district, that is not the case at this point in time.  There are many reasons for that change, but a full explanation would far exceed the word limit.  Next, there was not really much by way of a college in Gillette at the time, a few classes taught in places scattered around the community.  Now there exists a wonderful infrastructure that has been paid for largely by the citizens of Campbell County.  Third, what now exists as Gillette College is sufficient to call it an independent college, that was certainly not true in the early 90s.  Next, there have been instances of inequity between programs on the Gillette College campus that one does not see in Sheridan.  As an example, the science labs in Gillette did not have nearly the same amount or quality of equipment when compared to the same labs in Sheridan.  Finally, it has become obvious with the current administration that there is not a need felt to consult with the Gillette community about changes.  When programs were cut, it is my belief that Gillette was notified, not consulted.
  2. Perhaps this is not as easy to answer as one might think. When I served as the Dean of Tech, I had a desire to begin a Machine Tool Tech program in Gillette.  While we were eventually able to get that program started, one of the primary considerations was what impact it would have on the Sheridan program.  Not was it needed or wanted, but would it impact Sheridan.  There is a full culinary kitchen in Gillette but again, consideration has been if it would impact Sheridan not if there was a need in Gillette.  The Criminal Justice program was allowed to die a slow death because there was not approval given to hire a full-time faculty in Gillette.  One might actually take a look at the number of full-time faculty in Sheridan per student and compare that to the number of full-time faculty in Gillette per student.  That is perhaps a more telling indicator.
  3. The Board of Trustees are responsible to select and hire the president of the college. The president, along with the college administration, works to propose new or expanded academic programs that would be included in the college budget.  One must remember that every program expansion has a cost.  I would be more in favor of continuing existing programs as currently constituted until after accreditation is accomplished and the college district is free standing and then begin looking at program expansion and at standing up new programs.
  4. I believe that the district will be approved by the voters of Campbell County. I think that the vast majority of the voters see the value of the college and understand the desirability of having local control of a community college.  The voters can see the infrastructure that has been built.  Most of the voters have had experience with the college either as a student, hiring a student, working with a program graduate, or some other interaction with the college.  I believe that most of the voters in the county understand that there is a cost to having an independent district and feel that it would be worth that cost.

Daniel Baker

  1. It appears to me that there is a high level of frustration with those that work for the Gillette College and those members of the Advisory Board, with Sheridan’s Board of Trustees.   In addition, we have the nicest campus in the state.  It only makes sense that Campbell County be in charge of it.  I think it is as simple as that.  We would not build the rec center and have Sheridan county run it for us, so why should we operate the college in that manner.
  2. Other than nursing, the Gillette College tried to have a carpentry program because that was requested by local contractors.  It got denied by the Sheridan board, even though they had one in Sheridan.  That doesn’t seem right to me.  We need to work with local business and do the best we can to meet their needs.
  3. Not sure which ones I would remove, but I would like to explore the carpentry program which I mentioned above, along with expanding the welding and mechanical programs.  I think computer science is also an area that needs to be examined.  Like I have mentioned before, working with the local community will dictate which direction the expansion will go.
  4. I think so as it sure seems people are pretty positive about it.  I think the citizens of Campbell County understand the importance of being in control of a facility this large.  In the end, you never know.

Josh McGrath

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  1. I believe there is always a time for local control. That time is now. The decisions made for Gillette College should be made by Campbell County Citizens. The last attempt failed in 1991, but at that time we did not have the gorgeous campus that we have ALL invested in. This is now the next step which is control, with a continued investment in Gillette College and in doing so an investment in Campbell County. We have witnessed a partnership that has reached the end of its serviceability. We have 2 different communities with two distinctly different needs. They (Sheridan) have decided what they thought is best for Gillette and that just doesn’t sit well with me. Sheridan is ALWAYS going to protect themselves and their investment, why wouldn’t we do the same?
  2. There have been a multitude of programs. Let’s start with the struggle to get our welding and machining programs to where they are today. Then programs such as a Reclamation program, Construction programs to include trades plus construction management programs, criminal justice program and finish with some of the programs that have been cut like the various arts programs.
  3. I think we have to look at some workforce ready programs. Ones that can develop trades such as plumbing, electrical and construction trades. In speaking with some industry folks, a drilling program that helps develop an individual for the oil companies and rig hands. I also believe that with ever changing world and development in IT, we should be at the forefront of technology. Continue and grow the STEM programs. Lastly working with industry and business for what their needs are, how do we base a program around that.
  4. Yes I believe it will. I believe the people of Campbell County see the investment made in college not only for affordable post-secondary education but in the campus that has been built and paid for by our County, City and our residents. The value of control of our College and thus the decision making for it should be made by locally elected people, of whom can be held accountable by our citizens. Not Sheridan pure and simple!

Tracy Wasserburger

  1. Now is the perfect time to ensure that we become our own independent college district as we are in such a strong position to make this change.  When we first forged NWCCD, we were holding classes at the former Campbell County Memorial Hospital building.  Our campus has grown to a fully functioning entity that our Gillette and Wright communities have largely built and invested in.   To have an administrative team and Sheridan County-only elected Board of Trustees that is a hundred miles down the road  continues to keep us vulnerable to their votes and decisions on how Gillette College should operate.   Having local control of our campus and dollars will be best served with Campbell County leadership.  We are a distinctly different community with different local needs than Sheridan.  We need to have our stakeholders have the input as to what is the best to offer here at Gillette Community College to meet the local needs for training and education.
  2. I desire to be as accurate as possible so it is difficult to give a list of examples.   However during my time serving on the  Gillette College Advisory Board I can recall discussions on enhancements in training and education from our stakeholders were in the fields of HVAC and construction trades.  These programs were put on hold and have not come back to the table for analysis.  I am confident that our local administrative team and faculty could assist in getting factual information on what academic programs were prevented.
  3. We really do have an incredible nursing program here.   That being said, it’s pretty much  your only option locally to obtain a professional healthcare degree.   I think there may be other healthcare related programs that could produce a needed workforce as not everyone wants to be a nurse.  I believe there may be undiscovered opportunities in the education, business and computer science fields.   Our industry is changing in Campbell County and we need to be nimble in responsiveness to these needs.    In order to do that, we need our own voice and a strong and visionary leadership team
  4. I do.   Campbell County is an amazing community.   One of its attributes that has kept me and my husband here is the “can do” attitude of the people who live and work here.  I believe it is wholly apparent at this time as to the need of why we need local leadership and the vulnerabilities that belie us with the current structure of NWCCD.

Jacob Dalby

  1. The Gillette College has been operated under Sheridan for over 50 years, this is Not the right time to separate with the Biden Administration Running the Nation.
  2. From my understanding  we no longer have auto mechanic
  3. I would like to see Agricultural Trade classes, Auto mechanics.   At this time I do not know of any classes that should be removed
  4. However I believe that it will be voted down, there are many others like myself who can Not afford another tax increase.   We do Not pay any property tax to Sheridan  for the college. We do not even know how much it will cost us to buy out Sheridan for what their Share of our infrastructure  is.

Kimberly Dalby

  1. I will say it’s Not a good time I am Not saying we should never be separated With the financial difficulties that our community are looking at with mines closing and oil going out, many average ranchers stressing to feed their cattle…..     ITS Not good Now. We can Not add more stress and burdens onto our local community at this time.  In speaking with our Representatives we’ve been made aware of added taxes and fees the Federal government and State plans to push thru including but Not limited to Personal State Tax, Food TAX,  Travel tax. Tax after Tax is going to destroy our community at the cost of a few wanting power or control When our future is more stable
  2. I’ve been told auto, welding and Criminal Justice have been cut.
  3. I would love to see dental,  Vet Tech, Ag Courses, farm to table,meat process and (yes Auto, Criminal Justice nursing and   internships are important. When we are more stable financially here in Campbell County.When are Not worried about what the ADMINISTRATION in charge may do to our main money source (coal, oil even ranchers)
  4. It’s really hard to say.  I believe there are many average hard working people here in Campbell County like myself and my family who have worked very hard for everything they have The money seems to spend very easy for all However it’s very hard to get and keep when you truly have to work for it. ***Blood sweat and tears*** I just pray they  think about that before they go to the polls

Joshua Dillinger

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Jason Linduska

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Nello Williams

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Ivy McGowen-Castleberry

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