In our opinion: IT Pathway initiatives to promote a skilled-workforce deserve support

amcelweeMaking the Grade: Utah works to improve its marks in STEM education Utah Business May 8, 2018News

Governor Gary Herbert’s new IT “Pathways Program” is a step in the right direction but Utah must continue to champion the kind of educational training that will grow the state’s tech industry in the long run.

Utah companies justifiably lament the lack of locally-based STEM-trained workers needed to fuel the burgeoning tech sector. Industry and education should look for more opportunities to come together to form innovative public private partnerships and build Utah’s skilled workforce for the 21st century.

 According to a recent study, the skills necessary to succeed in available jobs are harder for employers to find. Some point out that Utah’s education system simply doesn’t have enough computer science classes. When high schools do offer Advance Placement computer science courses, students aren’t signing up.

In addition to leaders within the “Silicon Slopes” community speaking out, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce has expressed similar concerns about the impact of an under-skilled workforce. “(A)s a result of a vibrant economy, many industries are already impacted by a lack of hourly and skilled talent,” an article from the Chamber notes. “This pressing labor shortage should also serve as a warning sign to the future constraints on our economy from an under-qualified workforce.” Consequently, the Chamber supports initiatives to improve “innovation, investment and accountability in Utah’s education system.”

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