Today the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership announced $3.5 million in grants for Utah educators and industries to educate and prepare students for high-demand jobs.
At a presentation for education and industry leaders, Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) Executive Director Jon Pierpont highlighted the importance of aligning educational opportunities with economic needs.
“In Utah, we enjoy a healthy economy and a strong public education system, but it takes a collaborative effort to ensure that they line up with each other,” said Pierpont. “These grants help students prepare for employment and meet the workforce needs of industries in the state.”
Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership, which administers the grants, is a partnership between the Utah Department of Workforce Services, Utah System of Higher Education and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED).
“We are constantly hearing from businesses in Utah, or those looking to move here, that their number-one need is a skilled workforce,” said GOED director Val Hale. “Creating educational pathways to careers in growing industries is an investment that’s good for our economy and our students.”
“The Utah System of Higher Education is a proud founding partner in the partnerships, and we are excited to continue our work with DWS and GOED on this worthy program,” said David Buhler, Utah Commissioner of Higher Education. “Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership is a forward-thinking, collaborative program that helps to keep Utah’s economy strong and prepare Utahns for today’s workforce.”
Grants are available for public post-secondary educational institutions, industry trade associations, public school districts or individuals schools. Applications are due May 19, 2016. To learn more, visit jobs.utah.gov/department/ucap.html.
Grant Successes from 2015
Four programs that received grants last year were at the event to showcase their successes. Grant recipients included the Natural History Museum of Utah, Utah Aerospace Pathways, Machine Utah and the Cyber Corps.
The Natural History Museum of Utah created an online program called ResearchQuest that allows students to collaborate to solve real-world research problems, like identifying dinosaur fossils.
Utah Aerospace Pathways created an educational pipeline to allow students to certify in aerospace manufacturing while still in high school, through concurrent enrollment.
Machine Utah promotes machinist apprenticeships that lead to good-paying jobs using high-tech equipment to create parts for aerospace, medical, defense and transportation industries.
The CyberCorps program trains rural Utah high school students to work as IT support in their own school, providing them both education and real-world experience for an in-demand field.