This is Derek Miller Speaking on Business. The pandemic has taken a toll on the health and wellness of our citizens and economy. Dave Woolstenhulme, Utah’s commissioner of higher education, is here to tell us how returning to school is helping Utahns find work.


An economic issue coming out of the pandemic is the deficiency of a skilled and ready workforce. Workforce shortages across the state and nation are causing employers and business leaders to rethink their hiring strategies.

We want to address these issues head-on by helping Utahns reskill or upskill to get back to work. To do this, we must address the barriers keeping students from accessing and completing higher education. We also must provide valuable credentials leading to employment. We need to address barriers for students of all ages, including cost, simplifying processes, and addressing student needs. The Board of Higher Education is working on these issues over the next five years through its strategic plan.

We’ve already seen some great success for students whose employment was negatively impacted by the pandemic through the Learn & Work program in Utah. Students can apply for short-term, tuition-free programs at Utah colleges designed to get them back into the workforce quickly.


State education leaders are addressing barriers in higher education that keep Utahns from accessing a college education. Learn more about what short-term programs are available tuition-free at I’m Derek Miller with the Salt Lake Chamber, Speaking on Business.