Governor Gary Herbert joined with Prosperity 2020 business and education leaders to launch a partnership that aims to establish the greater Salt Lake area as a top ten center for technology jobs and businesses.
The Governor acknowledged that great jobs and businesses start with well educated workers and said this partnership, focused on STEM education, would create new opportunities for Utah students. By bringing industry and education together we start recruiting tomorrow’s scientists in today’s classrooms.
The goal to become a top ten tech center in the US is a lofty one to be sure, but Utah shows promise in a number of areas. It will take a concerted statewide effort among educators, industry leaders, economic development entities, and state leadership working toward greater collaboration in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. Stan Lockhart, government affairs manager for IM Flash Technologies, was announced as the facilitator to connect industry and education in moving forward in STEM education.
Analysis by the Utah Technology Council shows that tech jobs pay 57% more than the state’s average wage. This improves individual lives and the economy. The tech sector comprises 8.6% of Utah’s workforce yet generates 14.3% of Utah’s total payroll. Utah has more than 7000 tech companies, up from 6,374 in 2010.
Prosperity 2020 is the largest coalitions of business leaders ever assembled to improve Utah’s educational outcomes through investment and innovation. Prosperity 2020 has laid out the following key goals:
• 66% of Utahns will have post-secondary certificates and degrees by 2020
• 90% of Utah elementary students will be proficient in reading and math
• the greater Salt Lake area will be a top ten center in technology jobs and businesses
The press event held to announce this partnership was attended by representatives of the partnering sectors: the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Commissioner of Higher Education Dave Buhler, STEM representatives from the State Office of Education, tech CEOs, a university president and professors, legislators, economic development entities, students engaged in science, business leaders, the press, and others. The energy in the room was contagious. Now the work begins.