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LibbyMt.com > News > January 2006 > Need a Job? Consider Wyoming

Need a Job? Consider Wyoming
If you can pass a drug test, and are willing to relocate for a bit, there are good paying jobs to be found
January 17, 2006

Attention Libbyites and Lincoln County residents: Need a job? If you can pass a drug test and are willing to relocate a day’s drive away from northwest Montana for awhile, there are many good jobs available just next door in Wyoming.

The booming oil and natural gas industries have companies crying for skilled workers to drive truck and work on the rigs, and nearby communities need help in all sorts of support jobs. These are high paying jobs that often come with great benefits.

LibbyMT.com is a sister website to Pinedale Online, a similar website for a town called Pinedale in western Wyoming. We’ve lived in both Libby and Pinedale, and know both towns and areas well. Pinedale is a lot like Libby in lifestyle in many ways. We’re writing this article because there is an opportunity for the two towns to help each other because of a current worker shortage in Wyoming, and skilled laborers in Libby needing good paying jobs.

Pinedale is in the heart of the natural gas boom in the Pinedale Anticline and Jonah Field. Pinedale is considerably smaller than Libby, about 1600 residents, but shares the same small town atmosphere and values. The natural gas extraction industry has brought tremendous wealth and job opportunities to the area. The county has millions of dollars from mineral tax revenue at their disposal to spend on schools, local infrastructure and worthy causes. Land prices are skyrocketing.

This same situation is happening in several other mineral-rich counties across Wyoming, where companies are extracting oil, coal-bed methane and other mineral products, and crying for workers. Because we do the LibbyMT.com website and Pinedale Online in Wyoming, we see an opportunity where workers in Libby who might need a job may be interested in temporarily coming to Wyoming to work to help fill a huge job void, and make good money in a short period of time.

The companies in the energy extraction industries in Wyoming desperately need good workers. They need people who, #1, can pass a drug-screening test, and #2, are willing to work. The pay is excellent, from $15-$25 per hour, and many jobs come with benefits.

Because so many of the Pinedale area residents have switched to the higher-paying jobs in the nearby energy-related industries, there are a lot of job openings in the small towns in the county for service support folks as well. The local ski area is looking for people to help at the ski hill (lift operator, ski patrol, cooks, ticket office). Many retail businesses are in desperate need for counter and clerk help. The local motels need maids and the restaurants need waitresses and cooks. Many businesses are offering sign-on bonuses. The medical community needs RNs and CNAs and anyone with medical training. There is a booming construction industry with need for people skilled in building, electricians, plumbers, sheet rocking, and all phases of construction.

Housing is in short supply, and expensive, in many of these job areas, so the real trick isn’t finding a job, it’s finding an affordable place to live. Rents are running between $750-$1600/month. Many employers are now providing housing for employees. Many of the gas-field workers are living in “man camps” that group guys into trailers near the wells. These are not family living situations, so wife and kids are best someplace else. Also, a lot of these jobs are in very remote areas of rural Wyoming. Guys can make a lot of money fast in these jobs, but the trade off is long hours, long work weeks, and living in places where girls are in short supply and there are minimal recreational or entertainment opportunities. These are good situations for single guys who are willing to put up with these inconveniences to make a good wage fairly quickly.

For those who might be interested in the Pinedale area, it is a lot like Libby in many ways. It is located in a county where 80% of the land is federal government managed (Bridger-Teton National Forest and Bureau of Land Management). The town is in the Green River Valley, which is surrounded by three mountain ranges that include two wilderness areas, similar to Libby and the Cabinet Mountains. The Wind River Mountain Range and Bridger Wilderness are on the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains, and are world-class destination remote hiking experiences. The nearest “big cities” are Jackson Hole-78 miles to the north, Rock Springs-100 miles to the south, and Salt Lake City in Utah-4 hours away. The nearest K-Mart, McDonalds and commercial airport are 78 miles away. The nearest Amtrak station is in Utah. Transportation is a challenge, but the locals like the rural nature of the lifestyle. Trucks typically have 4-wheelers (and a dog) in the back in the summer and snowmobiles in the back in the winter. It is very rural, very western and cowboy, and there isn’t a single stop light in the whole county.

Pinedale has a movie theater, ice skating rink, an indoor public pool (there are two public indoor pools in the county), tennis courts, a public golf course and nearby biking paths. There are many outdoor recreational opportunities similar to those in Libby. The area has great fishing, many miles of back-county hiking trails, camping, 4-wheeling, horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking and unlimited back roads for scenic drives.

Wildlife is everywhere, including elk, moose, deer, antelope, grizzly bears, wolves, and black bear. Deer and moose live in town and are frequent yard guests. There are over 1300 lakes in the nearby forest, with lake, stream, river and high alpine remote lake fishing opportunities. In the winter, it is snowmobiling heaven with a long season. Not just on roads like on the Kootenai, but thousands of acres of deep open powder with side hills to free climb and explore. The Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail goes right through the area and there are miles of groomed snowmobiling trails through the mountains. The local ski area is similar to Turner (but not as many black diamond runs), called White Pine Ski Area. It offers downhill skiing and snowboarding at great rates. If you like the Libby recreation/wildlife/rural lifestyle, the Pinedale area will seem very similar.

Employers need people who are willing to work and do the job. And did we stress that prospective employees MUST be able to pass a drug test? Anyone involved with drugs will be out the door very fast. These companies talk to each other and share information about employees who failed the test, making it hard to job hop for those who can’t stay clean. If you’re on drugs, please don’t even bother reading further or applying for these positions. The energy extraction industry and boom is expected to last 10-20 years, so there are opportunities for earning a lot of money for anyone in a position to take advantage of these kinds of jobs. These can be short or long-term jobs, so you can likely find any job to fit your needs if you don’t want to move permanently or have a family that wants to stay in Libby.

If you are interested in more information about jobs around Pinedale, Wyoming, send us an e-mail and we can give you more details. We would be happy to answer questions and help out anyone who is interested in pursuing this.

Dawn Ballou, Editor, LibbyMT.com and Pinedale Online!
Libby, Montana and Pinedale, Wyoming
dawn@libbymt.com or dawn@pinedaleonline.com

Related Links:
Pinedale Online! www.pinedaleonline.com Pinedale, Wyoming on the web
Finding a job in the oilfield (Pinedale Online news article, 9/1/05)

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