On Friday, March 31, Carbon County Commissioner Jake Mellor hosted two Career Pathway meetings for local businesses that employ engineers and for Carbon County School District representatives, Pinnacle Academy and USU Eastern.
Commissioner Mellor serves as the chair for a Career Pathways committee through the state. The focus of this committee is to look at strategies that will guide students from a young age into specific career paths. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the development of a new concurrent curriculum for students interested in technical careers. In conjunction with concurrent enrollment, which is designed for 11th and 12th grade students, Mellor is hoping to bring some of the concepts and learning to middle school aged children in a fun, interactive manner. By doing so, children have more time to explore the vast opportunities in technical education and, in turn, make the best career choices.
USU Board of Trustee member Frank Peczuh has served as a liaison between the university and Mellor, and has expressed his full support for this endeavor. Vice Chancellor Gary Straquadine and Mellor have been working together to develop a better technical education curriculum. Yet, they needed input from the businesses and industries that would employ students from the program and from the local schools to approve advancements to the curriculum. Straquadine and Mellor are planning to apply for a Talent Ready Utah grant to start this type of program. Having the support of business, industry and educators will strengthen the grant application.
“We are very fortunate to have Frank Peczuh’s support and appreciate that he is such a strong advocate for Carbon County and our residents” Mellor said. “Working with USU Eastern and Vice Chancellor Straquadine has been a very productive and inspiring experience.”
In the first meeting, representatives from local companies were asked what their need for skilled workers would be and if they are willing to support a program at both the high school and university level. There was a great amount of feedback from the businesses and at the end of the meeting, they had committed to help advance the current curriculum. They were asked to provide a letter of support, help evaluate the curriculum and support internships or school visits.
At the second meeting, representatives from various educational entities were asked if they would support a technical pathways program and what obstacles or barriers would need to be addressed. Representatives from each school and the district showed optimism for the program in general but did voice some concerns about issues that may arise. There was excellent feedback and collaboration among the group and all felt it was something definitely worth pursuing.
“It is essential that we develop a shared vision for technical education in our community,” Straquadine explained. “Commissioner Mellor and Trustee Peczuh’s leadership will take us to new heights and greater levels of excellence in technical education at USU Eastern.”
With the conclusion of both meetings, Straquadine and Mellor had accomplished their goal of gaining the support of both the industries and local educators. They now have a better vision to develop this program and will look for continued support from businesses, educators and the community.
For more information regarding the career pathways program, contact Commissioner Jake Mellor at firstname.lastname@example.org