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Gov. Gary Herbert wants Utah to continue improving its school system and he said Tuesday pairing education and the private sector furthers that goal.
Herbert on Tuesday announced that $2.1 million in grants would be available to "develop and enhance programs to meet industry needs, build career pathway programs and provide work-based learning opportunities," according to a news release.
The "grant program unveiled today is a collaborative effort to improve both our education system and workforce in Utah," Herbert said at the Utah Capitol. "The program seeks to align our efforts to provide a pipeline of future talent and meet the needs of Utah businesses."
That program is part of Herbert's Talent Ready Utah, announced in January during his State of the State address. The goal is to create 40,000 high-skill, high-paying jobs in four years.
The grant portion of the initiative has been around since 2008, known under a different name: Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership.
Ogden-Weber Tech College offers but one example of how the program works.
Last year, the school received $189,000 to set up internships for high school students in the field of composites. Those internships began in January, and 8 Ogden-area high school kids are currently working at two local composite companies, said Madison Keltner, the college's career development coordinator.
The college offers a composites certificate and teaches at Ben Lomond High School twice weekly, letting students begin their classes before graduating high school.
Workers in the composites field design and build parts for helicopters or fighter jets, for example, with carbon fiber and fiber glass. It also is applicable to recreational sporting goods, such as bicycles, Keltner said.
Public post-secondary educational institutions, industry trade associations and public school districts, individual schools or charter schools can apply to receive grant money. They have until April 28 at 5 p.m. to apply.
For more information, visit http://jobs.utah.gov/edo/rfp.html.