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CTE: Meeting the Needs of Utah’s Workforce

By Mary Shumway
State Director of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
Utah State Office of Education

Last year, at the Utah Education Summit, Governor Herbert announced his plan to ensure Utah is “on pace” to have 66 percent of the adult population earn a post-secondary degree or certification by the year 2020. The plan is called “On PACE to 66% by 2020.”

At the summit, Governor Herbert stated, “As we compete in what is now a global economy, education will be the key and the catalyst that sets Utah apart. An education system that aligns perfectly with the needs of the marketplace will do wonders in spurring economic growth and innovation. This is the focus of my plan for 66 percent by 2020, and we are on pace to achieve it.”

PACE stands for:
P — Prepare Young Learners
A — Access for All Students
C — Complete Certificates and Degrees
E — Economic Success

Incorporated within the plan is recognition that Career and Technical Education (CTE) is one solution to meeting the needs of Utah’s workforce. The plan is guiding the work of the state legislature, the Utah State Board of Education, the Utah College of Applied Technology, and the Utah Board of Regents. Some details of the plan that involve CTE are highlighted below:

  • Help students become college and career ready while they are young through career exploration, assistance from school counselors, and taking college readiness exams.
  • Help students transition to post-secondary education by including concurrent enrollment in CTE courses and distributing information on women in nontraditional careers.
  • Help students finish degrees and certificates,with emphasis on CTE certificates and associate degrees. The breakdown of the 66 percent is as follows:
    • 13 percent of Utahns with a certificate in an approved CTE certificate area.
    • 14 percent of Utahns with an associate degree, with the majority in CTE fields.
    • 28 percent of Utahns with a bachelor’s degree.
    • 11 percent of Utahns with a graduate degree.
  • Help students find work in their chosen fields or personal pursuits, with 90 percent of employer workforce needs met, including strong ties between CTE programs and economic needs.

It is an exciting time to be in Career and Technical Education, and to be part of the attainment of Utah’s educational and economic goals.

For more information on the Governor’s plan and priorities for education, visit http://www.utah.gov/governor/priorities/education.html.

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