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Aug 14, 2010

Eleutian looks to open new teaching centers in Wyoming

TOM MAST Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette

CASPER — Eleutian Technology may soon be hiring 100 teachers each month to keep up with demand for its instructional services, which means enlarging its Wyoming operations.

The Ten Sleep company teaches English to students around the world via high-speed fiber optics and video technology.

Bob Grady, a partner and managing director at Cheyenne Capital Fund and an Eleutian board member, said the company is looking to open teaching centers in Riverton, Rock Springs, Green River and Cheyenne. Teaching centers in the latter three cities could be opened within a couple of months.

Grady said the company has been evaluating Wyoming sites for teaching centers based on availability of quality teachers, excellent telecommunications infrastructure and local unemployment.

“By targeting these areas, we’re making a difference,” he said.

Joan Evans, director of the state Department of Workforce Services, said her office has worked closely with Eleutian not only to identify locations where the company might help put a dent in high unemployment but also to train employees.

Eleutian could hire 100 teachers a month by year’s end. In addition to its strong presence in Korea, the company is beginning to establish itself in China, where growth potential is huge. Company officials plan to visit China again in September, perhaps to launch pilot programs and to work on contracts.

Due to its rapid growth, Eleutian may open a second teaching center in Casper. The company held a grand opening in June for its first center in town.

“I think it’s more likely than unlikely, but it’s not a decision we’ve made yet,” Grady said.

At the Casper grand opening, Eleutian President Kent Holiday said the company would easily exceed initial expectations for hiring 200 teachers. He hoped that Eleutian could hire 400 to 500 teachers in Casper over about 18 months. A possible facility for expansion could be the closed OfficeMax call center.

As the company grows, Grady said it’s logical that Eleutian would open teaching centers in a second state. He said Holiday has met with local and state officials in Billings to explore the feasibility of expanding to Montana, but that probably would not happen this year.

“Certainly for the rest of 2010, our intention is to continue creating jobs in Wyoming and expand in Wyoming,” he said.

Contact Tom Mast at tom.mast@trib.com or 307-266-0574.