Tools for Tough Times During Wyoming’s Energy Transition
On Tuesday, May 18 Powder River Basin Resource Council will continue its spring webinar series, Reclaiming & Growing Wyoming’s Future, by helping families changing jobs and careers become more aware of the tools and resources available to them, including the benefits of being proactive about family finances and healthcare. If people are struggling to move into a new job, with reduced income and financial issues, or even with household challenges like rental assistance, childcare, or finding mental health services, this discussion will shed light on these difficult topics.
In this discussion, Tools for Tough Times During Wyoming’s Energy Transition, speakers Lynne Huskinson will share her first-hand experience as a transitioning coal worker; Dr. Hollis Hackman will discuss how to stay well during times of crisis, transition, and hardship, and Clint Hanes with the Wyoming Department of Family Services will discuss the department’s basket of goods for supporting communities and families. Wyoming State Representative and University of Wyoming professor, Dr. Cathy Connolly, will moderate the panel.
Huskinson, who was a coal miner at Eagle Butte Mine for over 30 years, said this about the day Blackjewel declared bankruptcy, “It was a night shift, we were told to park our equipment for an emergency meeting. Never good. I can still see the look on my young coworkers’ faces waiting for their dayshift meeting. Eight hours later we were laid off and locked out by the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office.” While the Blackjewel bankruptcy was an extreme situation, Huskinson survived it because she had made good financial planning decisions in the years prior.
The webinar is free but requires advance registration, and attendance is capped at 150. Registration is available at www.powderriverbasin.org/events. This May 18 session will run 11:30 am – 1:30pm starting with the speakers’ presentations followed by a question-and-answer period.
The final webinar in the series, scheduled for June 8, will explore a range of different services available to expand local economies as well as success stories from other communities that have diversified and grown.
May 18 Webinar Speaker Bios:
Lynne Huskinson, a retired Campbell County miner, will discuss her experience as a transitioning Blackjewel worker. She will also share some of the experiences of her co-workers who were laid off abruptly and without notice when the company filed bankruptcy as well as the experience of her community. Huskinson attended classes at Northwest Community College and has professional experience as a coal miner. Huskinson is a member of a variety of conservation and social justice organizations in Wyoming. She was a candidate for the Wyoming House of Representatives in 2020. She will be speaking about the proactive steps working families can take to prepare themselves to navigate transitions, including family economic and health preparedness.
Dr. Hollis Hackman
Hollis Hackman received his Ph.D. From the university of Nebraska in 1984. He moved to Wyoming that same year, obtained his license to practice and went on to complete a 35-year career with the Veterans’ Administration, working primarily with veterans suffering from PTSD. He has been the advocacy coordinator for the Wyoming Psychological Association since 2005, actively pursuing legislation to benefit people with mental disorders. He received the Karl F. Heiser Presidential award from the American Psychological Association in 2020 for his advocacy on behalf of professional psychology. He has been on many boards, including being a charter member of the Wyoming Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Clint Hanes is the Ombudsman/Public Information Officer for the Wyoming Department of Family Services Support Services Division. He has been with the Department of Family Services for the past 18 years, and has served as the statewide Training Coordinator, as well as District Manager for Albany and Laramie Counties. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Education from the University of Wyoming and his Master’s in Social Work from Colorado State University.
Dr. Cathy Connolly, Moderator
The moderator is Wyoming State Representative Cathy Connolly. She serves as Minority Floor Leader, and is a member of the House Labor, Health and Social Services committee, as well as the Department of Family Services Advisory Council and the State Workforce Investment Board, among others. In addition to representing the state’s 13th district in Albany County, Dr. Connolly is also a tenured professor at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Dr. Connolly earned her B.S. from Buffalo State College. She then received three postgraduate degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo, a Master of Arts, a Juris Doctor, and a PhD. She currently serves as a member of the State Department of Workforce Services’ wage gap policy group.