SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority joint powers board met Tuesday to discuss recent progress on a comprehensive study of the area’s career and technical education infrastructure.
Board members reviewed a draft of the project’s first phase, which focuses primarily on taking stock of the educational resources already exist in the Sheridan area.
A second phase will focus more heavily on which industries Sheridan might potentially attract given factors such as the education of its workforce.
City of Sheridan Planning and Economic Development Director Robert Briggs said the goal of the study — which is funded by a grant from the Wyoming Business Council and a smaller combination of matching funds from SEEDA and the city — is to expand the area’s economic base by further refining its educational systems.
The study is being executed and drafted by the Chicago-based Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.
In speaking about the preliminary findings of the study’s first phase, board members expressed some concern regarding economic development initiatives they said were erroneously omitted. One such factor: the ongoing expansion of the WYO Theater.
“There’s big stuff already happening in the pipeline, and I saw that missing,” said board member Arin Waddell.
Other members voiced similar thoughts, leading to a decision to schedule a conference call with CAEL Associate Vice President Joel Simon early in May.
SEEDA representatives also discussed the need to craft a style guide that allows for a more easily readable final study.
At a meeting with SEEDA in January, Simon told the board the highly organized nature of the organization bodes well for the thoroughness of the study.
On Tuesday, Briggs said board members hope to finalize the phase one document sometime toward the end of May and begin work on phase two following the completion of a grant agreement with the Wyoming Business Council.
Organizers hope to begin that process sometime early this summer.
Also at Tuesday’s gathering, SEEDA officials discussed their recent effort to finalize a policy regarding land sales. No official action was taken on the matter.
William Maxwell, the new executive director of First Light Children’s Center, was also introduced to the SEEDA board during the meeting.
A recent transplant from Nashville, Maxwell said he was excited to take charge at the Sheridan childcare facility.
“It’s been a real blessing to connect with First Light,” he said.
About 70 children are currently enrolled at the facility.