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Utah's state-run network of technical colleges is searching for a new leader.

It is the first time the Utah College of Applied Technology will hire a commissioner over its eight campuses, instead of a president, the school said in a news release Thursday. The change is part of an overhaul in the 2016 legislative session, following a state audit that found UCAT exaggerated its completion rates to meet a state goal of a more educated workforce.

Some lawmakers railed against the college for "fraudulently" counting certificates awarded for short-term programs since 2011.

But UCAT leaders maintained they were following a national trend toward recognizing brief trainings in such areas as welding, cosmetology and aerospace manufacturing.

The Legislature created the tech college system in 2001 to meet growing demand in manufacturing and technology.

Its programs are open to both high-schoolers and high school graduates, plus some employees of Utah companies who provide job training through UCAT.

Jared Haines, previously senior vice president, is the current acting commissioner. He is filling in for former President Rob Brems, who retired in March to serve a Mormon mission in Barcelona, Spain.

Under the new leadership system set by lawmakers to make the administration more balanced, UCAT trustees from around the state will have oversight of the commissioner.

A UCAT search committee is accepting applications until July 29.

UCAT will ask for public comment after releasing a list of three or four finalists.

The college's trustees will appoint the new leader. Their pick must also win approval from the governor and Senate.