OVERVIEW: The State Science Advisor (SSA), appointed by the Governor, is responsible for Utah’s workforce development needs in the six key economic clusters and emerging industries.
Providing advice and counsel to the Governor, the legislature and other state agencies the State Science Advisor also serves on a broad range of boards and commissions pursuant to the oversight of key scientific initiatives, research efforts, federal and state mandates, and ongoing programs devoted to science and technology issues.
New State Science Advisor Appointed
Carol Lynn George, Ph.D. was appointed by Governor Gary R. Herbert in May 2013. Changes to the position were made, giving the SSA more responsibility for workforce development.
STEM Action Center
The SSA has been working with the STEM Action Center, helping to staff the Center and ensure the successful deployment of pilot programs for school year 2014. The STEM Action Center will prioritize STEM education— which comprises science, technology, engineering, and mathematics instruction—to develop Utah’s workforce of the future. Prioritization initiatives will increase the number and quality of STEM educators and professionals, and will drive research and implementation of STEM education best practices across Utah. The STEM Action center will leverage a $10 million investment appropriated by the state in HB 139 to create a hub of STEM Action Center partners collaboration.
ACT Work Ready Communities
The State of Utah has made a strategic investment to drive economic growth through regional workforce development by participation in the ACT’s Certified Workready Communities Academy. This partnership between the Department of Workforce Services, UCAP, higher education, career and technical education, public education, the chambers of commerce, and EDCUtah will provide a framework for aligning education and workforce development in order to advance economic development at the regional and community level.
Science, Technology and Innovation Plan (STIP) iUtah and EPSCoR
The STIP is a comprehensive, state-level strategic plan to support the growth of Utah’s science and technology community. It is a partnership between GOED, the Department of Workforce Services, the Utah System of Higher Education and the state’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program. Currently, the iUtah initiative is in its second year of a four year NSF EPSCoR Award of 20 million dollars to preserve Utah’s water resources, increase education, outreach and diversity, and build the workforce of the future through capacity and innovation building research.
The Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership (UCAP)
A partnership between GOED, the Utah System of Higher Education and the Utah Department of Workforce Services has resulted in the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership reports for several key economic clusters. These reports provide industry recommendations to support greater alignment of education and training programs in Utah’s universities or colleges with the talent demands of Utah companies.
UCAP grants are given out to pursue one or more of the following goals:
1. Increase Economic Cluster Connectivity and Educational Alignment
2. Respond to Skills Gap
3. Enhance the Role of the Regional Institutions in Economic Development
4. Promote Regional Stewardship
The primary functions for UCAP have always been and continue to be to accelerate industry clusters in Utah and to strengthen the alignment between industry and education. The primary outcome measurement for UCAP moving forward will be the amount of new annual capacity created to award certificates and/or degrees that meet the Governor’s 66% by 2020 initiative, with specific relevance towards educational programs that serve cluster industries in the state. Total funding for UCAP grants is $1,500,000 with project limits of $200,000.