Wyoming Women of Note

Dr. Ray Fleming Dinneen: A Legacy of Restoring Hope for Wyoming Families

Dr. Ray Fleming Dinneen Dr. Ray Fleming Dinneen

In 1986, a new and innovative way to successfully move single mothers from poverty to self-sufficiency was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming. With a passion for helping people discover their true potential, Dr. Ray Fleming Dinneen developed an approach that ignites the personal awareness, resilience, and power of single moms, leading to lasting and self-propelled transformation.

Early along the route to her doctorate in psychology, Ray recognized the importance of helping women challenge their own beliefs about themselves and what they can accomplish. Her vision has evolved into Climb Wyoming, a statewide nonprofit that helps single mothers discover self-sufficiency through career training and placement. From the beginning in Cheyenne 35 years ago, Climb now serves 13 counties across Wyoming with offices in Casper, Cheyenne, Gillette, the Teton Area, Laramie, and the Sweetwater Area. Climb has reached thousands of single moms with its comprehensive, evidence-based program that includes job skills training, life skills, and mental health services. Climb graduates consistently double their monthly income, decrease their reliance on public assistance programs, and greatly contribute to Wyoming’s workforce.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many moms have reached out to Climb feeling isolated, afraid, and disproportionately impacted. Climb has prioritized helping these single moms find stability by developing tools to calm the toxic stress and chaos of poverty and take critical steps to work readiness. Climb also transitioned its statewide job training to a virtual format while maintaining a group model that allows isolated women to learn from and grow with each other.

Climb’s expertise this past year has caught national attention, with requests to share the organization’s practices with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Federal Interagency Council on Economic Mobility. In 2020, Ray was recognized in USA Today as one of 10 Women of the Century from Wyoming, acknowledging how her vision and passion over the past 35 years have made our state brighter and the future more hopeful for so many families.

For more information, please visit www.climbwyoming.org.

Climb’s 2020 graduation rate was 97%.

Amanda and her son at a recent Climb Wyoming commencement. In 2020, Climb’s graduation rate was 97%.

Climb's transition to a virtual format

During the pandemic, Climb’s innovative program has transitioned to a virtual format, with job skills classes, mock interviews, and other elements of the training maintaining a therapeutic model of working in groups to learn from and grow with each other.

Climb's medical career training

In the past five years, Climb has trained more than 310 participants statewide in various medical careers; these graduates are now filling severe shortages in the state’s healthcare workforce.

Wyoming Women of Note is a series to celebrate Wyoming Women's Suffrage. New highlights will be released each month of this year. Please follow the links below to see previously featured Wyoming Women: