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Sep 7, 2008

Eleutian: Expanding Exponentially

By Brad Devereaux

Eleutian Technology opened an online teaching center in Lovell in July, and has recently expanded to a second building on Main Street to keep up with the demand of oversees students who want to learn English.

Eleutian Technology president and CEO Kent Holiday said the expansion increases the number of teaching stations in Lovell from four to 16, and he expects the company will continue to grow with no end in sight. The company currently employs 23 teachers in Lovell, and Holiday said they hope to employ 40 to 50 by the end of the year.

“As we continue to expand, we’ll need some more real estate, hopefully in close proximity to where we are now,” he said.

With about 170 teachers in the Big Horn Basin, Eleutian recently opened a teaching facility in Basin, in addition to centers in Worland, Ten Sleep, Lovell, Powell and Cody. Next, the company is looking at Burlington and possibly Greybull and Thermopolis. Holiday said he hopes the company will employ 400 teachers in the Big Horn Basin by the end of 2008, and thinks there is enough interest from people to fulfill that goal.

“We really want to provide as much opportunity as we can here in the Basin,” Holiday said, adding that once expansion in the basin is exhausted, the company will probably expand toward Buffalo and Sheridan and later to the west.

He said many teachers came on as part-timers, but now the company is starting to shift to moving more of them to full-time employees with benefits and hiring additional teachers “pretty rapidly” over the next six months.

Currently, all Eleutian teachers are required to have a teaching certificate, but as the company expands and comes up against growth challenges limited by the number of available certified teachers, they will begin to hire second tier teachers within the next six months, Holiday said. Ideally, he said, a second tier teacher would have at least a two-year degree, but the company will also consider native English speakers with a high school diploma.

He said with a two-tier model, the company should be able to double the amount of teaching staff in each town.  “One of our challenges is trying to match the teacher number with the student number,” Holiday said. “Our teachers have been really flexible and great to work with. We’re really excited to deliver 400 jobs in the basin.”

The company teaches English to students overseas using Skype Internet video-conferencing. The majority of their customers are Korean, but the company plans to expand to other markets, such as China and Japan.


Holiday said Eleutian would be releasing information about a deal with investors and a new business partner later this week that will rapidly add many new students to the Eleutian classroom and more jobs for Wyoming teachers.

“By next month, we’ll be running at about 5,000 students with this customer,” Holiday said. “That will be expanding to 7,000, 9,000, 11,000 in the following months.”