To provide education to employees displaced by COVID-19, today, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and its Talent Ready Utah team, in partnership with the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE), launched the ‘Learn & Work In Utah’ outreach and education initiative.

The program is in response to the Utah Legislature’s 5th 2020 special session and H.B. 5010. The Legislature requested a program to encourage career development and workforce engagement for citizens recently displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. CARES Act funds to support additional and new short-term training programs will be available at higher education institutions across Utah. Interested students should inquire about the program at their favorite local tech college, community college or university.

“Many Utahn’s are fortunate enough to still be working. However, many are not working because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Val Hale, GOED’s executive director. “This program can give those who have been displaced from work — the unemployed, underemployed and vulnerable workers — an opportunity to learn new skills and get back on their feet to help them be successful and find work to meet the skills they have learned. We are fortunate that the federal CARES Act funds and the Legislature are allowing us to use the money for this program.”

The Legislature allocated $4,500,000 each to GOED and the Utah System of Higher Education to create in-demand, short-term educational programs that will be promoted to furloughed, laid-off, or dislocated workers, as well as underserved or other populations affected by COVID-19. GOED will oversee the public information campaign through the Utah Works program within its Talent Ready Utah center. The initiative supports the Utah System of Higher Education’s Custom Fit program and several other workforce training programs to provide education and training at the state’s public higher education institutions.

“The coronavirus pandemic has adversely affected many Utah families and community members,” said Dave R. Woolstenhulme, the state’s commissioner of higher education. “As our state begins the process of economic recovery, higher education will serve a pivotal role in helping individuals re-skill and re-enter the workforce. We want Utahns to know that these educational programs can help them develop and sharpen the skills needed to prepare for their future.”

As part of this initiative, the Department of Workforce Services will use $75,000 to create a dashboard to identify unemployment and job opening trends to match workers with job opportunities.

GOED is allocating $200,000 to its ‘In Utah’ campaign agency, Rumor Advertising, to help manage the public information campaign. This effort will work hand-in-hand with other state-sponsored existing health, well-being and economic development initiatives, including the COVID-19 response programs.