Employment is a fundamental need for any healthy economy. Matching existing jobs with qualified people is a central challenge, and that is especially true when those people are young and lack access to the training they need to land a good job.

In those cases, communities and businesses step in to help.

That is what Devon did in 2015 when the state began searching for ways to connect opportunities in the oil and natural gas industry with young, working-age adults near Riverton, Wyoming.

We responded by forming a team of local industry leaders to outline the skills young people would need to compete in today’s job market. As a result, the Wind River Job Corps Center was formed, offering training for the next generation of energy industry employees.

There are job corps centers across the nation, but Riverton’s center is unique because it focuses on basic skills in high demand in the oil field. Students learn welding, heavy equipment operations and truck driving. Importantly, all training is done in the context of safety.

Once the industry team finished designing the program, Devon provided supplies and equipment necessary for real-world learning experiences. We donated scrap pipe for welding, pipe heating equipment and the motor from a drilling rig. We also donated a variety of smaller items that could be disassembled, cleaned and reassembled in a classroom.

Other companies donated equipment as well, and the curriculum was shaped by industry professionals.

As a result, the Riverton community of nearly 11,000 people opened a training center that gives disadvantaged young adults support at a critical juncture in their lives.

The center provides up to 300 men and women ages 18 to 24 with food, housing and a small weekly allowance. In addition to specific work skills, the program offers academic training and help with independent living.

Through the center, students get a chance to become part of a trained workforce that drives the oil and natural gas industry and benefits the state’s economy.

We have embraced the opportunity to help build and support the Wind River Job Corps Center because it benefits Riverton’s economy, and that aligns with one of our core values – be a good neighbor.

The center also benefits Devon. It will be a lasting source of new employees with skills and safety awareness. That fulfills another one of our core values – hire the best people.

Published: December 2015