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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Graduate Exit Seminar via Zoom - Angela M. Thatcher

Plan to join via Zoom Angela M. Thatcher's graduate exit seminar on April 11, 2022, at 9:00 a.m.  Angela will present, "Support in Boom-Bust Towns: Emerging Adult Education, Employment and Migration Opportunities."

Emerging adults in rural, boom-bust economies face unique challenges, especially in employment and education. Drawing on emerging adult and social disruption hypothesis literatures, this study examined support for post-secondary education and employment for emerging adults in a rural boom-bust area of southwest Wyoming. It specifically highlighted their experiences with the effects of boom-bust cycles. Further, the study considered the degree of their knowledge about, use of, and desire for resources when making decisions remaining in southwest Wyoming and about and obtaining postsecondary education and employment. Finally, the study contrasted the support received for two groups of emerging adults: those in community college and those in the workforce. Interviews were conducted with thirty-eight emerging adults. Participants believed boom-bust cycles resulted in community instability, were harmful to the area, and negatively affected the resources to which they had access. In making decisions about remaining in the area, participants reported boom-bust instability, employment prospects, and educational opportunities, especially for their future families, as key factors. However, minimal differences were found between community college and workforce groups. A better understanding of education and employment resources is critical, not only for emerging adults and the future of the state, but also for better ensuring rural health, boom-bust resilience, and community persistence.

Advisor: Dr. Kristi Lekies