The Utah Technology Council recently secured $4.5 million per year for Utah’s public universities through its lobbying efforts at the 2015 Utah legislative session. With a regional match from university presidents, this becomes $9 million.

The Engineering Initiative will increase the number of engineering graduates, which will help attract and sustain talent for technology companies that have helped put Utah at the top of the Forbes list for business and job growth potential for the last several years.

“We have a serious engineering talent shortage in Utah,” said Richard R. Nelson, president and CEO of the UTC. “The funding Utah’s public universities will receive each year from this initiative will be allocated to producing more computer science and engineering graduates each year, which will keep more talent in the state. Utah has more than 5,000 high-tech companies with over 70,000 jobs that make up 10 percent of the state’s payroll, but this isn’t close to enough. We need to provide more graduates for these tech companies in order to continue to entice them to not export jobs out of state.” 

In addition to the Engineering Initiative, the UTC was also successful in securing its other nine high- priority support items to further grow Utah’s thriving tech industry.

Additional high-priority legislative accomplishments for the 2015 session include:

  • H.B. 198: Strengthening College and Career Readiness– This bill creates a much-needed certification program to help middle and high school counselors update and be more relevant advisers to students on high-demand career and technical training.
  • S.B. 196: Math Competency Initiative – This bill enacts a fundamentally new math standard of competency and encourages rigorous and relevant study for the fourth year of math.
  • S.B. 235: Education Modifications – This bill helps by providing expert direction and substantial new funding to rescue the state’s failing schools.

“What we’ve accomplished during this year’s legislative session is remarkable,” said Chet D. Linton, CEO and president of School Improvement Network and chairman of the UTC. The legislation we helped pass will aid Utah’s 5,000 talent-hungry technology companies in obtaining the qualified employees they need to keep Utah on the cutting edge of technology and make the state even more appealing to tech companies. The passed high-priority items will help provide a better-educated workforce for technology companies in Utah. The impacts of these measures will be far-reaching and create a healthier state economy, job market, and standard of living for thousands of individuals across the state."