Utah joins a growing number of states focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in order to train America’s future workforce. Utah Governor Gary Herbert has joined with a local business group Prosperity 2020 to establish greater Salt Lake as a top ten area in the nation for technology jobs and business. The partnership will also have a focus on increasing STEM education statewide in order to create a local, skilled labor force.
The Governor is planning a focused statewide effort to make Salt Lake and the surrounding area, a technology and science hub. Prosperity 2020 is a group founded and supported by local business leaders and the local Chamber of Commerce and will aid in the effort. The governor announced that he has launched an unprecedented statewide planning process to identify and build on current successes and create greater collaboration in Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.
For its part Prosperty 2020 is working to get 66% of Utahans into the workforce with either a post-secondary certificate or degrees by 2020. The organization also wants to make 90% of K-12 students proficient in reading and math.
The statewide STEM education and workforce partnership is a collaborative project of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Utah System of Higher Education and the Utah State Office of Education. It is a direct response to industry recommendations in the state’s Science, Technology and Innovation Plan. The partnership will compliment and build on Utah’s successful USTAR effort, which is bolstering Utah’s research strengths and increasing technology commercialization.
Education and technology are key focus areas for Governor Herbert who was recently named to the National Governors Association (NGA) Education and Workforce Committee by NGA Chair, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, and NGA Vice Chair, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. The state was also recently ranked as one one of the top states for business by MarketWatch.
“Because of their economic impact, education and workforce development are priority issues for the State of Utah. We are striving to align educational outcomes with employer needs more than ever before, and that starts with greater flexibility on federal education policies that affect states,” Governor Herbert said.