From tech colleges to research universities, Utah's higher education institutions are finding innovative ways to partner with industry, serve the needs of a full range of students and adapt to shifting demands.
Holland & Hart, LLP
Davis Applied Technology College
Governor's Office of Economic Development
Utah System of Higher Education
Salt Lake Community College
Western Governors University
Department of Workforce Services
Utah State University
Dixie Applied Technology College
Utah Valley University
Weber State University
A special thank you to Richard Kendell, co-chair of Education First, for moderating the discussion.
One of the things we are hoping to see in higher education is more collaboration between educational institutions and the larger community. Can you tell us about a partnership that's been particularly successful at your organization?
WIGHT: One of the most visible partnerships we have is with the city of Ogden. We signed a college town charter with the mayor and the city council. What that does is provide a framework for having regular conversations between the university and the city.
One of the best things that has grown out of that relationship is that the city had a desire to increase the level of communication with underrepresented communities, especially the Latino community in Ogden. But there wasn't a history of trust between the city and those communities. So we helped broker that conversation and build trust. We have been meeting for about a year and a half and we are just about to create a diversity council, which is an official part of city government, and do some really wonderful things that give those communities a real voice in city government.
HITCH: With the Utah Cluster Acceleration Project, schools are encouraged to look in their surrounding area for those businesses that really have a synergy with them in terms of their academic programming. So there's a great opportunity for institutions to build what we call stackable programs in a particular industry in their area.
We have seen a huge influx of stackable credentials. So you can start as a student with just a certificate. But that certificate could build into an applied associate's degree, and that could build into an associate's degree and you don't lose credits. You can work your way along to a baccalaureate degree if that's what you want to do.
HART: What we see with UCAP is that coordination between higher education really seeking what the business needs are, and then being able to provide that resource. So it's a tremendous partnership. We've presented on it all over the country. It really is a best practice, centered here in Utah.
H U FTAU N: Just recently we had new legislation that brought dollars to the table for a similar experience. So institutions can apply to GOED for workforce development funds to allow for training to ramp up, or new ways of thinking to emerge with their dollars focused on economic clusters and those type of things. So there's actually two parallel sources that are really focused on workforce and higher ed.
KEN DELL: The first what I would call stackable credential started with a partnership between Salt Lake Community College and the Jordan School District on bioscience. You could start in high school, come to Salt Lake Community College, and then go to U VU to get a bachelor's degree.
HUFTALIN: Yes, it is still very viable. There's biotech and also biomanufacturing. The biotech program is a credit oriented program. We still have a really great articulation. In fact, one of our Graduates of Excellence this year was somebody who had come up through that entire chain and is now studying at UVU.
Biomanufacturing we have moved into a continuing education area, because we just found the credit piece wasn't as salient. But those kinds of stackable credentials have morphed into a variety of other areas. We have worked with GOED very successfully on the Utah Aerospace Pathways Program, on the Diesel Tech Pathways Program.
So it's looking at where we could help students in high school get involved in a program in their junior or senior year. And in some cases by the end of their high school experience they have a really strong credential. With diesel they have to have another year.
But those are going very well, and GOED has been a great partner to say where else could we take that model. Could IT be the next one? What are the other workforce things where we could help high school students start to see a really viable career and go out and work for a while, but always be able to come back to higher education without any kind of loss of credit.
GALT: The Utah Aerospace Program is really working well. That program, for those who aren't familiar with it, is primarily spearheaded by Boeing. We've got students who just graduated from high school this year who participated in that program, came to the DATC for composite materials training, and now they are working for Boeing making mid-$30,000 salary with benefits, right out of high school. That is what this is all about.
The way the program is structured, after they have gone to work for Boeing and got their ATC certificate, they will be able to continue at Salt Lake Community College or Weber State and get advanced degrees if they want.
WIGHT: Healthcare is another stackable pathway for students. We started with nursing and it has been...