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UVU Pioneers Process For Community, Business And Higher Ed. To Collaborate On Early Career Training Preparation

12 February 2013 No Comment

Febuary 12, 2013

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807

Written by: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807

Utah Valley University is at the forefront of the state in forging an innovative new process of aligning collaborative resources and planning among public education, local business and higher education. The partnerships will result in smoother transitions for students from high school to postsecondary training and into a career.

Two years ago, under the direction of UVU President Matthew S. Holland, the University, after discussion with local business, community and education leaders, launched a Business Engagement Strategy as a central element of the institution’s goal “to develop a well-trained workforce and other factors critical to regional prosperity.” One of seven initiatives to meet the strategy’s goal was the creation of Career Pathways that provides students with an early orientation of job and career opportunities. It also provides students with a road map to help them navigate well-defined pathways from high school through higher education.

On Feb. 6, UVU and the Career Pathways Taskforce released a new report to initiate those activities and to announce that key stakeholders on the taskforce now include the Utah System of Higher Education, the K-16 Alliance and the state’s Department of Workforce Services.

“This is an exciting opportunity for UVU to partner with community and business sectors in Utah to pioneer a process whereby students will graduate from high school better prepared and better trained for the postsecondary education that will lead them into high-demand careers,” President Holland said. “This endeavor is extraordinary, partly because it has never been accomplished before, neither at the state nor national levels.”

Repurposing UVU’s role as host for efforts to accelerate the state’s growing digital media industry, the digital media pathway’s statewide development to be complete this summer will serve as a pilot for the formation of other career pathways, said Susan Thackeray, the taskforce’s director and UVU Career and Technology Education director. Next up is the creation of a computer science pathway.

Crucial to the success of the Career Pathways initiative is that task force members identify and incorporate specific techniques to streamline and create greater efficiencies for directing public secondary education students along the career preparation pipeline. Examples might include creating a career orientation program at the junior high school level or creating new majors or programs at UVU based on feedback from the local business sector.

“As a university, we saw that public education, local business and higher education had never met to discuss what is needed to prepare students for a career education,” said Ian Wilson, UVU’s vice president for academic affairs. “It’s critical for the community to know that we listened to each partner’s feedback.”

Currently, students may have some idea what company they want to work for, but don’t know how to acquire the skills to get them there, Thackeray said. But with Career Pathways resources and information literally at their fingertips, students and parents can begin planning for their future as soon as junior high.

“UVU has demonstrated that it is leader in creating partnerships that benefit all sides of the table in developing Career Pathways for public education and higher education while also providing solutions to businesses,” Thackeray said.

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About UVU

Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah, and is home to more than 30,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community school, state college and, finally, a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education.

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