by | Sep 13, 2017

Developing tomorrow’s workforce through career and technical education

This month, the Salt Lake Chamber is encouraging industry leaders to support education initiatives aimed at workforce development. To help make this happen, the Utah State Board of Education Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department is offering every Utah employer a simple and meaningful way to contribute to workforce development innovation by collaborating on existing career and technical education programs. In a guest blog written by Brock Smith, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Precision Exams, and posted on the Salt Lake Chamber Blog, Brock focused on innovation through collaboration; and highlighted key program features for successful education initiatives that will supplement workforce development efforts for businesses.  Below are some highlights of each area along with insights from local industry and education leaders.  To read the full article, check out the blog post at the Salt Lake Chamber.

Make it happen

Businesses are looking for employees with the skills their businesses need to grow. Schools want to prepare students to succeed in their chosen career fields. Both sides get what they want when they collaborate to ensure what is being taught is what the marketplace is looking for. One example is a current talent shortage among the 1,100-plus manufacturing companies,  Todd Bingham, president of the Utah Manufacturers Association  had the following to say about education and industry.

“Employers are looking at workforce development differently today,” says Todd Bingham,  “Many companies that used to just rely on the education system to get their future employees ready to enter the workforce are now looking for ways to get involved to ensure that those candidates are prepared with the right knowledge and skills.”

The impressive impact of CTE 

Graduation rates among students who engage in CTE courses are, on average, 12 percent higher than their counterparts who don’t. The reason is relatively simple: students have a better understanding of where the skills they are learning will lead them on their career path. Essentially, CTE answers the question students have asked in frustration for decades: “When am I ever going to use this?” As teachers provide their students with the most current instruction based on Industry Recognized Standards, these standards are shaped based on input from industry and education subject matter experts. Cahlan Sharp, CEO and Founder at DevMountain, a private Utah-based coding bootcamp school, is asking questions and working on a solid solution for industry:

“Industry talent needs change so quickly; how else would teachers know what to teach to best prepare the kids in middle school and high school if we didn’t collaborate with the existing education system?” asks Cahlan Sharp, CEO  “We see this type of collaboration as important because we work very closely with local employers to identify the skill stacks they want to see in the people they hire. Now we can use this insight to benefit Utah’s children, educators, and employers.”

Benefit to employers

David Halls, vice president and general manager at Amcor Masonry Products in North Salt Lake says one of their most pressing needs revolve around hiring the right people. As the leading architectural masonry, hardscape and retaining wall producer in Utah, Amcor already has challenges like every other large manufacturer in hiring and retaining qualified talent.

“With the addition of a new plant set to be completed by the end of the year, we will double our capacity in anticipation of current demand and future growth,” says Halls. “Working with the state to connect with the right students provides us with a vehicle to identify candidates that have demonstrated the aptitude and desire to succeed in our specific work environment.”

Get involved

There are five simple steps that result in a meaningful connection and mutually beneficial relationship between education and industry. The easiest step is to simply get your company name on the list of those employers who recognize the value of the certification program. This simple step connects your organization with more qualified candidates who earn certificates that are meaningful to you and your company.

“The Career and Technical Education department of the Utah State Board of Education is constantly striving to deliver and administer programs that provide tangible value to our students”, says Thalea Longhurst, Utah State Career and Technical Education director at the Utah State Board of Education. “The Career Skills Assessment program, administered through Precision Exams, is one that provides us with valuable outcomes and data and is fully embedded within the Career and Technical Education program statewide. By adding local industry recognition, we believe these certificates carry even more value as the knowledge and skills earned by students when earning a certificate will provide them with a clear pathway into high-pay and high-demand roles with local employers, and your involvement ensures this local recognition of earned competencies.”

Watch this short four minute video to learn more about which level of engagement with the Utah State Career & Technical Education program makes the most sense for you and your company, then reach out to Brock Smith at Precision Exams to get your business involved. bsmith@precisionexams.com 801.653.9356