What is Prosperity 2020?
Prosperity 2020 is a multi-year, statewide movement led by Utah business leaders to improve Utah’s education system. Never in Utah history have so many business and community leaders come together to embrace one vision for education and our economy. Our level of passion is unprecedented – to give our children enduring prosperity we must give them a rigorous education.
What are the goals?
We believe that success starts early and that to be globally competitive Utah students need advanced education. By 2020 we aspire to meet these goals:
- Ninety percent of third graders and ninety percent of sixth graders are proficient in reading and math.
- Two-thirds of Utahns are skilled trade certificates or academic degrees.
- Our metropolitan area ranks in the top twenty for concentration of science and engineering occupations.
How will you accomplish these goals?
Many business-led education initiatives have come and gone without success. We’ve learned from the past and designed Prosperity 2020 with the long term in mind. We won’t achieve our aspirations overnight, nor will we realize success without a unified commitment. That is why we’ve unified as a business community and committed ourselves to a ten-year march of business leadership.
The first step is to build trust among education leaders, business leaders, students, elected officials and the public. Next, we will advance innovative reforms that strengthen accountability. Coupled with this innovation, we will propose strategic investment that improves educational outcomes. With each step we will create a groundswell of support for serious educational progress.
Who is involved?
As the ultimate consumers of Utah’ workforce, the business community has a primary role in advancing educational excellence. We have formed a Founders’ Council comprised of 14 chambers of commerce statewide and other education-minded business entities. We have also enlisted the support of education policy and strategic communication experts and partnered with the governing boards of public and higher education in Utah. Taken together, Prosperity 2020 is the largest business-led educational movement in Utah’s history.
Why is education so important to business?
Decades of research shows a person’s earnings and a society’s wealth are tied to educational achievement.
Research also demonstrates Utah is in the midst of an unprecedented economic, demographic and cultural transformation. We are growing and diversifying rapidly. The Utah that once was, is increasingly no more. And our economy, as it melds with the forces of globalization and demographic shifts, is picking winners and losers. Countries, states and individuals that don’t create a high-skilled workforce will be left behind.
Utah has the potential to deploy the largest youth population in the country as the greatest workforce in the country. But we can only realize this potential if we boldly address three critical challenges:
1. Increasing ethnic/racial diversity.
Utah is experiencing a generational shift in our ethnic and racial makeup. By 2050, nearly one-third of Utah will be comprised of racial and ethnic minorities. This presents new challenges to our education system. (Source: Bureau of the Census and University of Utah research)
2. Test scores lagging peer states.
Utah’s math, reading and science scores are lower than that of states with similar demographics. In addition, Utah’s national rankings in test scores have fallen significantly. (Source: Utah Foundation)
3. The need for more postsecondary training.
Two-thirds of all Utah jobs in 2020 will require training beyond high school. Utah will not score the jobs of the future if we don’t achieve higher educational attainment. (Source: Georgetown University)
Business leaders are concerned. Prosperity 2020 is our path to enduring prosperity.
What is your work plan?
As business leaders, we know it is important to understand your customers, set clear goals, plan and invest strategically, measure outcomes, empower and hold people accountable, and reward success. We also know that Utah’s education system will benefit from setting higher standards, targeting at-risk students, focusing on math and literacy, measuring progress and intervening when necessary. Students need more career counseling and teachers should be rewarded for great teaching. These are just some of our ideas. In the coming months, the Founders’ Council will formalize these into a formal work plan.
In addition to public policy, individual engagement is equally powerful. We seek to increase participation in Junior Achievement, fund scholarships, support employees who seek to further their education, volunteering in the classroom, create internships and engage with education’s governing boards.
How do I participate?
We have the right goals, the right people and the right process to invent a more prosperous future. We invite business and community leaders to join us. Here are ways to participate:
1. Sign onto the Prosperity 2020 Promise that 2/3ds of adults will secure skilled trade certificates or academic degrees, and that 90 percent of elementary students will be proficient in reading and math.
2. Join the Prosperity 2020 Action Team.
3. Show leadership at your business.
Prosperity2020.com is the place to take these actions and learn more.
For additional information contact email@example.com. Prosperity 2020…it starts with education.