Photo by: Sidvics via Wikimedia Commons
Utah has a new Talent Ready initiative, the IT Pathways Program that hopes to be an important cog in Utah’s fiscal future. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Silicon Slopes announced the new program on Wednesday, August 30.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert said, “The IT Pathways Program will fill critical workforce needs in our state and ensure the continued success of Utah’s tech industry,” and continued, “This program will be an important investment for education, for our growing workforce, for the IT industry and for economic opportunity… in other words, for Utah’s future.”
The announcement comes shortly after the partnering of GOED’s aerospace, medical innovations, and diesel tech pathways programs. One of GOED’s managing directors Ginger Chinn said Wednesday’s announcement is one of the first steps towards creating a program that will meet the needs of the tech industry. And there are multiple needs within this industry, outside of coders. Meanwhile, Vice President of Human Resources at Domo, Cathy Donahoe said, “There are a lot of jobs in tech, and tech isn’t just a software engineer.”
During the announcement at the Silicon Slopes headquarters in Lehi, Matthew S. Holland, president of Utah Valley University; Deneece G. Huftalin, president of Salt Lake Community College; Noelle E. Cockett, president of Utah State University; and Dave R. Woolstenhulme, commissioner of the Utah System of Technical Colleges, discussed current and potential strategies to prepare Utah students from even a young age to enter the tech workforce.
Cockett spoke of building “stackable credentials” inside the program and allowing for more opportunities for people of different levels. She said “We’ve done a terrific job in the state of Utah of encouraging students to get a four-year degree, but there are a lot of high school grads who say, ‘Wow, I just don’t see myself there.’ We need to encourage, and really congratulate people when they take the technical skills direction as well, both types of education are needed in Utah.”
Holland mentioned the importance of realizing the workforce is different today and changing fast on top of that, saying, “We need to educate students, and parents, about the new economy, and what it takes to prosper in the new economy, and what kind of skill-sets are required,” he added “This has to be a statewide effort. That’s what I see coming together this morning.”
According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016 Utah had the highest percentage of tech job growth in the country at 7.69 percent. Careers in software and information technology represent more than 68,000 jobs among more than 4,000 companies. The IT Pathways program is designed to help ensure the continued growth and success of Utah’s tech industry.
According to Chinn, after educators, tech and state leaders meet and decide which programs are needed, etc., the IT Pathways Program will get started as soon as possible. For more information, you can visit TalentReadyUtah.com.