The Utah Coal Country Strike Team today awarded two $25,000 grants to Carbon and Emery School Districts to help fund high quality computer and information technology courses at the high school level. These initial funds, which are tailored to align with the IT Pathways program established by the Utah Legislature, will be primarily targeted for teacher training so graduating students will be prepared for additional training in technology fields.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Utah Coal Country Strike Team for their efforts to help our teachers acquire the skills they need to train our students in the jobs of the future,” said Lance Hatch, Carbon County School District Superintendent. “We look forward to getting our teachers certified and providing new offerings in computer science and information technology in the next (2020-2021) school year.”
These initial Strike Team investments are the first of what will be in excess of $1 million in workforce training investments – including equipment, a remote work site, and scholarships – that will help establish Carbon and Emery counties as an attractive location for Utah’s burgeoning tech sector, as well as other industries. Current funding partners include the Utah Legislature and the Alliance for the American Dream. Additional financial support will be sought from the federal government, business partnerships, and private philanthropy. It is also anticipated that both school districts will seek matching funds through Talent Ready Utah grants and Strategic Workforce Investment allocations available from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
“This is an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ effort, one that will help boost the well-being of all the members of our community,” said Larry Davis, Emery County School District Superintendent. “We anticipate that Emery and Carbon counties will have the greatest array of affordable student training options in the state as the entire program rolls out.”
The Strike Team will also help develop multiple options for non-traditional students such as coal miners and utility workers already in the workforce who wish to re-train. The Strike Team will provide scholarships to help cover costs. These options will include online study-from-home courses, boot camp trainings, and an expansion of traditional courses at USU Eastern.
“Utah’s technology companies recognize the many assets found in Utah’s coal country, including superb broadband access, a public university, and a location just 90 minutes away from Lehi, Utah,” said Clint Betts, the executive director of Silicon Slopes and a Strike Team member. “Many Silicon Slope companies will be partnering with the Strike Team to define training needs and provide remote jobs to trained workers.”
In addition to new workforce training opportunities, the Strike Team plans to invest in tourism infrastructure, housing revitalization, and economic development incentives to help diversify the economy in Carbon and Emery counties. The region has suffered through a multi-year economic recession and the outlook for coal mining and coal-fired electricity generation remains bleak.
“What isn’t bleak is the economic future of Carbon and Emery counties,” said Mike Kourianos, mayor of Price City and co-chair of the Utah Coal Country Strike Team. “The Strike Team brings together the strength of our people, our schools, our businesses, and our funding partners to shape a bright new future for Utah’s Coal Country. We will get this done.”