Energy is Wyoming's big economic driver, but as time goes by, state legislators and Governor Mead hope technology will become a bigger contributor. Tech giants like Microsoft and Underwriters Laboratories have already made moves to Wyoming, creating big job opportunities for Wyoming graduates.
Thomas Johnson, Wyoming Business Council's Chief Performance Officer said "We want to keep that workforce in the state. Those are good paying jobs, those are high value jobs. We think recruiting those kinds of companies, the Microsofts, the Underwriter Laboratories of the world to Wyoming will help keep those young kids in the state.
Technology executives have been attracted to Wyoming, largely because of infrastructure. Wyomings constitution prevents state money from being given directly to companies, so Business Council executives give grants to cities and counties to build infrastructure, leasing the building to a private company. One of the biggest successes is the Wyoming Technology Business Center or Incubator Building; located in Casper.
"So the idea is take early stage companies in the technology sector, incubate them in this building in Casper, in a couple years have them graduate out, grow and create jobs," said Johnson.
Companies in the incubator building like Black Bison Water Services have office space in a centrally located Wyoming city and are given guidance by Wyoming business counselors to help them get their feet on the ground.
Justin Haigler, Black Bison Water Services President said "The business of the incubation process itself has been tremendous for us. Weve learned a lot and grown from our interactions with them and theyre here to help when we need them."
But while state legislators like Representative Tom Lockhart work to diversify the economy, he doesnt want to forget Wyoming's economic foundation, energy.
"All of those things are going to be part of our future and we dont want to forget them as we look for other things to diversify," said Representative Lockhart.
Most recently, Microsoft planned to invest another 208 million dollars over the next three years, creating 25 new jobs in Laramie County. 18 of those jobs will pay higher than the countys median wage.