Access To Opportunity For All

This article was published in the Fall 2019 issue

of Silicon Slopes Magazine

by Clint Betts, Executive Director, Silicon Slopes

The average salary of a tech job in Utah is $84,395, significantly higher than the average salary in the state ($46,460). The existing open tech jobs alone represent a $419,191,852 economic opportunity in terms of annual salaries. These numbers are a stark reminder of our responsibility to ensure the Silicon Slopes don’t rise while the rest of Utah falls or remains stagnant.

It’s also why our community must remain committed to getting computer science in every Utah school by 2022. Thanks to the leadership of Talent Ready Utah and the Computer Science Master Plan that was unanimously passed last month, the Beehive State is one step closer to extending access to the opportunity that exists in Silicon Slopes to all.

With more than 5,000 open tech jobs in Utah, now is the time for Silicon Slopes to prove that the chances we give are as important as the chances we take. Computer science teaches students about technology, encourages critical thinking, helps develop problem-solving skills, and prepares our next generation of learners, teachers, thinkers, and innovators to make a robust contribution in tomorrow’s world.

While startup communities around the world are making real progress toward becoming more welcoming and open to all entrepreneurs, the battle has yet to be won. The struggle to break into this game is all too real for those who can’t even get a ticket. We must break down any and all barriers that unfairly prevent access.

Not all students need to be computer science majors, but computer science should be fundamental in K-12 education to prepare students for jobs — most of which will require some basic understanding of how technology works.

These skills and opportunities should be presented to all Utah students during their foundational educational experiences. Doing so is imperative as it will ensure a person’s gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or origin of birth does nothing to hinder their opportunity to be a part of our community and part of our success.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Thanks to the efforts of so many, Utah and the Silicon Slopes community appears to be more than rising to the occasion.

Read the rest of the articles in the Fall 2019 issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine


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