Governor Herbert Announces IT Pathways Program

“The New IT Pathways program will build bridges between high school, college, and business, preparing Utah students for brighter futures.”

This morning Silicon Slopes, in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, hosted an IT pathway discussion in an effort to identify what the tech community must do to better provide students and educators the resources they need to succeed in STEM-related fields.

After an introduction from Clint Betts, Vance Checketts (Dell EMC Vice President & General Manager and a major advocate for STEM education in Utah) spoke of the progress the industry has made in advancing STEM education efforts, but added that we still have a ways to go. “The time is right for us to put together a more comprehensive umbrella that really targets the needs of Utah,” Checketts said. “The industry is engaged and ready to get behind this initiative and close the divide.”

Cathy Donahoe, Vice President of Human Resources at Domo, spoke of the need for all students to have access to technology in education in order to fill workforce needs. “Almost all of our businesses run on technology,” Donahoe said. “All businesses and jobs need tech skills.” Then Donahoe asked, “Are we giving the right message to our students that there are lots of jobs in tech?” and said that we need to be better at doing so.

Clint Betts then led a panel discussion with UVU President Matt Holland, Commissioner of Technical Colleges Dave Woolstenhulme, Utah State University President Noelle Cockett, and Salt Lake Community College President Deneece Huftalin. Together the panel identified what needs to be done to properly educate Utah’s future workforce. “We need a broader communication effort to help students get excited earlier. This has to be a state-wide effort,” said President Holland. “When students come to college, they’re not sure what they want to do. I think we can start directing students earlier,” added President Cockett.

After the panel answered questions from attendees, Vale Hale, Executive Director of GOED addressed the need for a public-private partnership. “If we’re going to continue with our prosperity, we have to solve the talent and education issue,” Hale said. Hale then welcomed Governor Herbert.

Governor Herbert praised Utah for its thriving economy but said Utah cannot rest on its laurels if it hopes to compete on a national and global level. “We’ve got to unite and focus our education efforts to make sure we’re training the future workforce today,” Herbert said. “We have more jobs and openings than we have people available to take them. Hence the importance of education.”

Governor Herbert then announced plans to create a working group that will create an IT Pathway for Utah students. “The new IT Pathways program will build bridges between high school, college, and business, preparing Utah students for brighter futures,” Herbert said.

This working group will bring top tech industry leaders and state leaders together to focus educational efforts to not only provide students a well-rounded education, but also train them for the many jobs that will be available in the Utah workforce.

Silicon Slopes will report on the progress of this working group and the initiatives it implements.

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