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In this issue… photos of Wyoming Reads celebrations and a 3D tour of Washakie County's public libraries! Other items include: 

  • Youth Services Interest Group meets face to face in Buffalo
  • WyoCAN's latest cybersecurity video
  • Job openings, grant opportunities, and more


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Legislative committee takes another swing at state film production incentives

SHERIDAN — After failing an introductory vote during this spring's budget session of the Wyoming Legislature, a bill launching a statewide film production incentive is being reconsidered.

The Legislature's Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee voted during its May 10 meeting to draft another bill regarding the film incentive, with the goal of having it considered during the 2023 general session.

"We have talked about this already, and we've had a lot of discussion," Sen Affie Ellis, R-Cheyenne, said. "It just feels a little unfinished for two reasons. One, we just got out of a budget session, which requires a two-thirds vote… and another factor for me… is this working group of people that has…been volunteering their time to give us some thoughtful ideas. So that's, at least from my perspective, why I think we need to talk about it and give it a straight up-or-down vote…I do think, in a non-budget year, maybe this bill's chances look a little different."

At least in its initial draft, the bill will be identical to House Bill 93, a bill sponsored by the committee during the 2022 budget session.

House Bill 93 failed introduction on a vote of 32-28 due to a required two-thirds majority to introduce a bill during the budget session. This requirement does not exist during a general session.

House Bill 93 states the film incentive program will be funded with up to $3 million in statewide lodging tax dollars each biennium.The Wyoming Office of Tourism would distribute those dollars.

The proposed film production incentives are not the state's first.

In 2007, the Wyoming Legislature initiated a statute allocating $1 million toward in-state projects through the Wyoming Film Industry Financial Incentive program. The funds were administered by the Wyoming Office of Tourism's Film Office with a goal of bringing the entertainment industry to Wyoming. The state eventually sunset the statute in 2018.

Prior to the vote to proceed with another bill draft, the committee heard from Charles Lammers, creative assets manager for the Wyoming Film Office.

Lammers testified Wyoming received 350 film production inquiries in the last three years, but the majority of those productions had chosen to film elsewhere due to a lack of an expenditures rebate system. "Yellowstone" and its prequel "1883" were filmed in Montana, for example, while other Wyoming-set productions have been filmed in New Mexico, Utah and Canada, Lammers said.

All states surrounding Wyoming, with the exception of South Dakota, have a film incentive in place already, which puts Wyoming at a competitive disadvantage and has led to the loss of an estimated 27,000 jobs, Lammers said.

Sheridan local Sean Patrick Higgins has expressed interest in starting film production in Wyoming, Lammers said but will find it difficult to do so without an incentive.

It's time to explore entrepreneurship! We can help!

Free Entrepreneurial Webinars in May!

Spring has sprung, and we at IMPACT 307 are bringing you opportunities to explore the increasingly popular option of launching a business or innovative product!


Perhaps you have a great idea for a product or business, but need to create a sustainable business model, enabling you to stay ahead of the innovation game? Then TODAY's free offering is for you, as Monica Patten facilitates a webinar entitled Innovation-Building a Wide Moat from 12-1pm.


If you are considering a funding round, Data Room Best Practices will give you practical advice for your data room. Join us from 12-1pm on Wednesday, May 25th to hear Kerri Faber’s best practices for setting up and using your data room. 


Time is running out to apply for the Sweetwater County Innovation Launchpad, where you can compete for seed funding to launch your business or product idea! The application is only 7 questions long, and you are welcome to contact Monica Patten with any last minute questions (307) 466-3963!

The deadline is May 20th!

About IMPACT 307


IMPACT 307 is a network of innovation-driven business incubators committed to growing and strengthening Wyoming’s entrepreneurial community by providing resources and support for founders to thrive. Learn More


State agencies prepare to spend billions on infrastructure development



I-25 and I-80


A view looking northeast of the Interstate 25 and I-80 interchange on Wednesday in Cheyenne. Michael Smith/For the Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Runway construction


Construction crews work on a runway on Friday at Cheyenne Regional Airport. Michael Smith/For the Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is set to provide billions of dollars for development efforts across Wyoming, which many agencies said they are prepared to fight for.

Funding available is a part of the more than $1.2 trillion approved by Congress in November to send throughout the nation over a five-year period. President Joe Biden said he pushed for the bill because it was designed to rebuild crumbling infrastructure like roads, bridges and rails, expanding access to clean water, ensuring access to high-speed internet service and investing in energy.

"This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America," he said on passage of the bipartisan infrastructure deal. "And it's long overdue."

However, state officials said the process itself will be extensive and time-consuming. Many are unsure when residents will start to see the impact.

This is due to the structure of the funding. Although 60% of the funding is formulaic, which means it is funneled directly to state and local governments, there is 40% left in the form of competitive grants. The issue is this $480 billion has not yet received rules and regulations for applications.

Officials in Wyoming do not yet know whether their projects qualify, how to apply or when the money will be awarded.

"That's the golden question," Gov. Mark Gordon's senior business and economic development policy advisor, Rob Creager, told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

Regardless, he said state officials are ready. Teams and grant managers are being hired to identify state needs and work through the application process in order to guarantee funding. But administrative assistance is also costing agencies added expenses, which the policy advisor said they are hoping to get covered with a portion of the grants.


The Wyoming Department of Transportation added a new staff member to handle the funding, especially as it is responsible for a significant portion of the infrastructure initiative. Director Luke Reiner said WYDOT is collecting $2 billion in formula funding, and it expects to apply for grants for added projects.

The largest portion of the funding is for Wyoming roads. Reiner told the WTE that $1.76 billion will go toward surface transportation during the next five years, which the agency will administer portions of annually. He said this infrastructure bill gives the transportation department around $100 million more per year than past federal legislation.

"The extra money we're getting in terms of surface transportation will go to maintaining our current assets," he said.

While Reiner said it is a nice increase, it still doesn't fix the budgetary-needs deficit, nor does it fully address inflationary pressures. After bringing in an outside entity to conduct a study on the budget and priorities two years ago, he said he found there is a $350 million annual funding gap between what was provided and what was needed. The department is responsible for more than just road and bridges, including Highway Patrol troopers, emergency communications, airports and driver's licensing.

With the funding from the infrastructure act, WYDOT Chief Financial Officer Dennis Byrne said the department saw a decrease to a $240 million overall unfunded annual need.

Both officials said this means there will likely be fewer projects they are capable of managing with the formula funding, especially since they had to put around 11 on the backburner when they discovered the needs deficit. This is where discretionary funds can provide relief, and Reiner said there are 450 pages of grants available.

"That's what's so different about this highway funding bill that passed is there's a lot of additional infrastructure money in terms of the discretionary grants in the bill," he said.

If the department obtains those funds, some of the goals Reiner hopes to accomplish are reconstructing the Interstate 25-Interstate 80 interchange, developing a winter reroute on I-80, and supporting truck parking and freight movement. Wildlife crossings are also important, and are supported by both the Wyoming Legislature and Gordon's office.

During the Legislature's 2022 budget session, lawmakers approved more than $200 million in matching funds for grant applicants. There was $100 million allocated for energy, $75 million for infrastructure, $25 million for broadband and $10 million for wildlife crossings.


Another difference in the infrastructure act than in previous laws is the additional formula funding for bridges, aeronautics and electric charging stations for vehicles. Reiner said WYDOT received $225 million specifically for addressing bridges outside of the normal budget.

"The federal government recognized that there's a huge issue with our nation's bridges," he said. "They allocated, again by formula, $45 million per year for the next five years."

He explained the caveat is the funding can only go toward bridges that are in critical or poor condition, and 15% of the money must go toward municipalities. State data reveals 218 bridges and over 380 miles of highway in poor condition, and the director said WYDOT has already begun working with local officials to discover which bridges are recommended to fix.

Public transit

Funding for transportation is another key priority under the Biden administration that WYDOT is responsible for, and there are two major possible grants projects.

A bus service between Cheyenne and Fort Collins, Colorado, would help reduce traffic on I-25 and reduce carbon emissions. Reiner said there are similar programs on the west side of the state, where electric buses go between Wyoming and Idaho. It would be a costly program to implement, but it is not considered as long term of an investment as the second.

Creager said the governor's office, the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce and Laramie County officials have all contemplated a passenger rail system that would run from Wyoming to New Mexico.

"There's been discussion of Cheyenne being kind of a northern hub for a line that would run through Colorado, down to Albuquerque," he said. "That would be a very big project and a long timeline."

Wyoming is also eligible to take part in the Carbon Reduction Program created under the infrastructure law, which helps states develop strategies to address the climate crisis. Reiner said since the program is new this year, his agency has to evaluate the fiscal resources it would take. There is $8.1 million available in fiscal year 2022 for Wyoming, and it is eligible to receive up to $42.2 million over the next five years.

Eligible projects include trail facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized forms of transportation, as well as projects that support the deployment of alternative-fuel vehicles.

"The new program provides states and local agencies in both urban and rural areas the flexibility and funding needed to reduce emissions and build a more sustainable transportation network that will benefit travelers," Federal Highway Administration Deputy Administrator Stephanie Pollack said in the program's announcement.

Charging infrastructure is eligible, but WYDOT also received $25 million for electric vehicle charging in additional formula funding. Reiner said the investment truly boils down to supporting purchasing choice.

"The reason choice is important is because of the concept of supporting our state's second-largest economic driver, which is tourism," Reiner said. "And so we know that there's a nice lady in Iowa who has an electric car and who wants to come see some of the great sights in Wyoming. We think it's wise for us to enable her to do that. It's her choice to drive that car."

Broadband and energy

There are other areas the governor's office and state agencies outside of WYDOT are focused on. Broadband access, energy, water infrastructure and environmental conservation efforts are among the priorities that match the Biden administration.

White House officials said this is overdue by decades for Wyoming due to a clear systemic lack of investment, and this will create economic growth.

One of the alignments with the White House and the governor's office is helping residents gain access to reliable internet service. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 8.2% of residents in the state live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure. Nearly 12% of Wyoming households also lack an internet subscription.

To mitigate these issues, the state is set to receive a minimum of $100 million for broadband coverage, and 25% of Wyomingites will be eligible for the U.S.'s affordability connectivity benefit.

"Our hope is that we can get these dollars, put them back in through the Connect Wyoming program that worked well for the state, and worked well for providers," Creager said. "And we can knock out more broadband in the most rural parts."

Energy is among the other infrastructure concentrations. Creager said the governor's office plans to apply for carbon capture and hydrogen hub grants. This is in an effort to invest in technology that helps keep coal-fired power plants active, as well as retain coal, oil and gas jobs. Agencies such as the Wyoming Energy Authority, the Department of Environment Quality and the Office of State Lands will also apply for grants they see as beneficial to the energy industry.

The policy advisor brought attention to the need for updates to water infrastructure, such as the La Prele Dam in Douglas. Engineering firms and the Wyoming Water Development Office said in August they considered the dam at risk of catastrophic failure due to deterioration of its foundational structure.

His office is not the only one assessing the needs for repairing aging water infrastructure in the state. The Biden-Harris administration has confirmed it will fund $6 million through the Department of the Interior for major repairs on the Fort Laramie canal. It is included in the $8.3 billion for water infrastructure projects and $1.4 billion for ecosystem restoration and resilience funding from the infrastructure act.

"As western communities face growing challenges accessing water in the wake of record drought, these investments in our aging water infrastructure will safeguard community water supplies and revitalize water delivery systems," Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said when it was announced.

Addressing water infrastructure also involves eliminating lead service lines and pipes, which Wyoming was set to receive $335 million for over five years.

This is still only a small portion of the funding available for agencies to seek out, as well as what's being distributed directly. Formula financing is expected to protect against wildfires, prevent cyberattacks, prepare for extreme weather, improve airports and more.

"Infrastructure: a lot of people think roads, bridges, so on and so forth," Creager said. "But it's so much bigger than that."

Jasmine Hall is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle's state government reporter. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 307-633-3167. Follow her on Twitter @jasminerhphotos and on Instagram @jhrose25.

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CONTACT: Michael Pearlman, Communications Director

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Governor Continues to Bolster Workforce and Help Job Seekers with New Tools


CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  As part of his ongoing focus on education and workforce development, Governor Mark Gordon has launched a new dashboard that provides tools for job seekers, businesses and educators. 

The dashboard will provide users a greater understanding of what jobs are available in Wyoming; pathways through education to be able to qualify for in-demand jobs; the value of education and training; labor supply and demand; as well as growth potential for Wyoming industries both regionally and statewide. The tools are intended to support the goals of the state, and are a piece of the solution to addressing the challenges that Wyoming faces related to post-secondary attainment and workforce. 

“This is an incredibly important tool to help Wyoming people both find jobs and find new opportunities. It addresses some of the challenges Wyoming workers and employers face by connecting them in a common forum,” Governor Gordon said. “The ultimate goal is to get information about new and emerging employment and enterprise opportunities in the hands of those seeking to advance their careers, or grow and expand their businesses.”

The dashboard, called BOOTS (Business occupational outlook tool sets), creates the ability to connect individuals to local education and job opportunities. The information and live data available is intended to help Wyoming businesses and workers address growing workforce challenges.

“For the people in Wyoming who are trying to figure out their career path and the businesses that are trying to hire the best employees possible, this dashboard is a vital resource to Wyoming and her people,” said Robin Cooley, Director of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. 

“It provides the opportunity to match education pathways, which is a focus of post-secondary education and a fundamental building block of the Wyoming Innovation Partnership,” said Dr. Sandy Caldwell, Executive Director of the Wyoming Community College Commission.  “Under Governor Gordon’s leadership these efforts have resulted in this much-needed tool to connect community colleges and UW students with programs that lead to immediate and future careers right here in Wyoming.”

The origins of the project date back to 2019, when the Governor’s office was awarded  grant funding and technical assistance from the National Governors Association (NGA) in partnership with Strada Education Network. In collaboration with five other states, Governor Gordon’s office led a state team that included representatives from Laramie County Community College, University of Wyoming, Wyoming Community College Commission, Wyoming Department of Education, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and Wyoming Business Council,  resulting in the successful development of the new tool.


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Cheyenne, Wyo. - The Wyoming Business Council (WBC) is seeking early input from the public on rules for two new investment programs. 
State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)
The Business Council could receive an allocation of up to $58.4 million from the U.S. Treasury to support Wyoming high-growth entrepreneurs through a venture capital program. With this allocation, the WBC plans to create two different funding options:
  • The first method would help capitalize both new and existing angel and venture funds to encourage equity investments in Wyoming startups.
  • The second option is a fund to help startups actively raising an equity round that already have a lead investor in place to help close that round with direct co-investment from WBC.
Current SSBCI draft rules are available on the Business Council website for public review and comment.
Agriculture Processing Bonds
The second program the Business Council is announcing supports Wyoming's agriculture industry through agriculture processing revenue bonds which were recently passed by the state legislature. The WBC has not started the rule-making process for this program yet but is seeking public comments on all items, possible rules, eligibility or other ideas citizens think the Business Council should consider as we begin drafting rules for the bond program. 
The WBC is accepting comments for both of these programs until May 8, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. MT. Please submit any public comments to [email protected] and include the program you are commenting on in the subject line of your email.
The Business Council appreciates all comments and the public's support in this process. Both of these proposed rules will have a subsequent public comment period later this summer after draft rules are completed.

Updates from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Dear Elected Officials and Employers,

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services is currently updating rules for several of our programs, including OSHA, Workers' Compensation and the Workforce Development Training Fund (WDTF). 

Below we highlight a few of the rule changes proposed for the WDTF, a successful program that supports Wyoming businesses with funding to train and upskill their employees. 

Wyoming Workforce Development Training Fund logo

Business Training Grants 

All grant limits were increased to allow more Wyoming businesses to train and retain the state’s workforce. Grant limits for businesses increased from $1,000 to $4,000, per trainee, per State Fiscal Year (SFY). For businesses in a preferred industry, the limit increased from $1,500 to $5,000, per trainee, per SFY.

The total amount of funding a business can apply for per SFY has increased from $50,000 to $200,000, regardless of the number of trainees. 

Pre-Hire Economic Development Grants

Changes to this chapter will provide training opportunities for private businesses as well as specific government entities, and clearly define how applications are reviewed. Past performance, performance standards and current expectations are now included in application reviews.

Apprenticeship Grants

Rule changes are focused on streamlining the grant application process by reviewing past performance and updating documentation requirements for performance standards.

Internship Grants

The biggest change to this rule was the increase of hourly wages allowable from $12 to $25. Past performance reviews were added to the application process.

Applicant Eligibility now identifies Wyoming county and memorial hospitals and emergency medical service providers as eligible for internship grants.

More information about the Workforce Development Training Fund may be found here.

Together, we are leading workforce innovation today, to build a stronger tomorrow. 

Robin Sessions Cooley
Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

In the News

Wyoming unemployment falls to 3.4% in March 2022

4/18/21 -- The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 3.6% in February to 3.4% in March. Wyoming’s unemployment rate is slightly lower than the current U.S. rate of 3.6% and much lower than its March 2021 level of 5.0%. From February to March, seasonally adjusted employment of Wyoming residents increased by 796 individuals (0.3%) as people returned to work.

Read the rest of the story >>


New from Research & Planning: Short-term Projections and Occupational Wage Data

4/5/22 -- The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services has released short-term industry and occupational projections, along with updated occupational wage data. 

See the latest reports here>>



DWS Menu of Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Virtual Town Hall Series

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Wyoming Department of Health COVID-19 Information

Contact your local Workforce Center

Department of Labor resources

DWS COVID-19 News Archive

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By Michael Lambert, Program Manager, Market Research Center

One of the services that we offer at the Wyoming SBDC Network Market Research Center is no-charge analysis and recommendations for websites and social media. Basically, we dive into the weeds on websites and social media accounts and make recommendations that will help folks improve how their internet presence works.


Why Physical Location Matters for Online Presence

One of the more common things that I see is something that seems trivial, but which can have huge impacts on whether your website or social media account is reaching your audience. This is the presence information on your physical location.

In the past few years more and more businesses have gone online. Many of these can be work-from-home businesses, businesses without store fronts or businesses that don't have a physical location that they want published. This might be the case for those who work from home, who work part-time at a "side hustle" or don't have an address in a standard retail or office location. Many of these businesses are great at what they do, but if you don't include an address web browsers and social media can't direct potential customers to your site.


Getting Started

There are things that you can do. The first and easiest, is to simply include your city and town without a street address on your website's home page, contact page or about page for social media. Saying "proudly offering accounting services in the Lander and Riverton, Wyoming area" is much better than "we offer accounting services."

When it comes to search engines, Google My Business will allow what they call SAB's (Service Area Businesses) to create a business listing that includes a hidden address. When you set up the SAB with Google you would then tell them to hide the address when creating the listing. If you don't want a home address or location listed, this is the way to go. More information on using Google My Business as a home or virtual business are linked below:

·         How To Do Local SEO for Businesses Without Physical Locations in 2021

·         How to use a service area on Google for service-area & hybrid businesses

·         Guidelines for representing your business on Google


In the case of Facebook and other social media, making sure that your content includes location information like "The best BBQ Food Truck in Casper, Wyoming", along with references to your location in your posts will help. Even if you don't want to include a street address, your "about page" should include location-specific keywords like "Casper, WY" or "Serving Casper, Mills, Evansville and Kaycee, Wyoming."

The bottom line is that people like shopping locally and search engines and social media understand that. This is the reason why including as much location information as you can will help even a non-brick-and-mortar business attract local customers.


Help is Available

To get started with a free social media or website analysis, contact your local Wyoming SBDC Network advisor by clicking here.

About the Author: In over 17 years, Mike has built an information resource for Wyoming businesses that is unique in the nation. The Wyoming SBDC Network's Market Research Center specializes in providing any Wyoming business with access to advanced marketing information that was previously available only to a few of the largest corporations. Mike's individual expertise also includes marketing, product management, product development, international trade, and exporting.

This project was developed by the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network and funded through a Cooperative Agreement with U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) funds appropriated by Congress through the CARES Act to assist businesses in recovering from the negative effects of COVID-19. SBDC appreciates ongoing support from the SBA, The Wyoming Business Council, and the University of Wyoming.