ECMC Group donates $30,000 to local organizations before closing WyoTech

The following article is from The Laramie Boomerang.

Despite plans to close WyoTech’s doors later this month, the ECMC Group, WyoTech’s current parent company, is donating $30,000 to local organizations.

The Albany County SAFE Project, Greater Wyoming Big Brothers Big Sisters and Interfaith-Good Samaritan each received $10,000 earlier this year from the ECMC Foundation’s GO! Program, an ECMC news release stated.

The grants come on the heels of Gov. Matt Mead’s approval of a $5 million loan for former WyoTech student, instructor and president Jim Mathis’ DBJJDM Enterprises from the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account "for the continued operation of an automotive technology trade school."

Founded in 1966, WyoTech was established in Laramie and expanded during the next five decades to include seven campuses nationwide at its height. In 2015, Zenith Education Group, which was created by ECMC, purchased 56 campuses from Corinthian Colleges, Inc.

On Nov. 8, Zenith announced it would cease enrollment at WyoTech Laramie and 20 other post-secondary schools.

After ECMC closes WyoTech’s doors at the end of June, Mathis plans to use the LSRA loan to reopen the technical institute and start enrolling new students.

The GO! Program allows ECMC team members, such as WyoTech Staff, the opportunity to nominate organizations for grant dollars in their local communities.

"With the GO! Program, our employees are empowered to support the charities that are here in Laramie," WyoTech Laramie Campus Director Caleb Perriton said in the release. "It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community while also enabling our staff to participate in the process."

The program has awarded about $4.9 million through 210 grants since it launched four years ago, the release stated.

WyoTech instructor Bryan Shuster said ECMC donated $25,000 in 2017 to Albany County’s School Backpack Program, which helps local school-aged children combat food insecurity.

"We got three grants this year," Shuster said. "So even though they are a little less each, ECMC is contributing more to the community."

The grant program allows WyoTech staff to nominate local nonprofit organizations for the grants and vote for their favorites, he said.

"Staff from WyoTech picks out a nonprofit organization and writes up a proposal for them," Shuster explained. "Then, it’s a voting program. Everyone here at WyoTech votes for their favorite, and the proposals with the highest votes go to ECMC, and they choose who gets what."

The SAFE Project’s grant is slated fund a prevention and outreach specialist position, which works in K-12 schools to educate children about healthy relationships, consent and bodily autonomy.

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ grant is slated for funding individualized case management for youth and families, after-school activities and family engagement during the 2018-2019 school year.

And Interfaith-Good Samaritan is slated to use its grant to fund programs that decrease underemployment in Albany County by helping low-income individuals improve upon their educational outcome.

"The main goal is to support the communities our employees live and work," said Sabrina Berg, ECMC’s senior community relations specialist. "The decision was made that we wanted to continue to do good in the communities we serve even after the campus doors close."

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