During his State of the State address last week, Gov. Gary Herbert announced a “major collaboration called Talent Ready Utah” to “expand career opportunities statewide by increasing the number of business and education partnerships.” The push is aimed at connecting business with education to better prepare Utah’s workforce for the nation’s strongest economy.
“Over the next four years — for pathway-like programs alone — Talent Ready Utah will recruit hundreds of businesses across Utah to partner with and invest in local education,” said Gov. Herbert. “And we anticipate that Talent Ready Utah will help fill 40,000 new high-skill, high-paying jobs over the next four years.”
Those are bold and measurable goals and just what the business community has been asking for. As the Chamber’s 2017 Public Policy Guide states:
“We support innovative efforts to strategically align the private and public sectors to attract and train a skilled and talented workforce. This includes increasing certificate and degree programs, and stackable certificates that meet high-wage, high-demand workforce needs.”
We sat down with Edson Barton, CEO of Precision Exams, a business that works with the state to provide students the opportunity to earn certifications on subjects they’ve mastered in school and that are important to industry. He also authored an op-ed in the Deseret News on the subject.
In our conversation, Barton helps us understand what Career and Technical Education is, how businesses benefit from being involved in training future employees and why it is crucial to our future economic prosperity as a state.