Tech leaders highlight need to develop future talent

Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) – Leaders from Utah’s high-tech industry set up camp at the Capitol to reach out to local lawmakers.

The message is simple: Utah tech companies don’t have the talent they need to meet current demand, and they want to take steps to change that.

As part of  Tech Day companies, organizations and student groups are on hand to show off what the industry has to offer.

Natalie Haerter is part of the PCCAPS program at Park City High School.

She worked with fellow students to design the STEM Utah Bus, which serves as a mobile classroom.

She says the journey provided some valuable lessons.

“We almost had a complete design and then we had to completely reroute it, because of a constraint the client presented to us late. I think it’s really important to know how to kind of work your way around things, but it’s also really important to know how to be head strong,” said Haerter, a junior at PCHS.

Haerter has big dreams for her future, which will help fill a crucial recruiting need in the state of Utah.

“Long term is really these STEM programs. This is the workforce of tomorrow, but it doesn’t help us with the problem today,” said Kathy Donahoe, VP of Human Resources with Domo.

That problem is finding the talent to fill immediate needs.

That’s why industry leaders are standing united in their push for workforce initiatives.

“If we can’t fill these jobs it limits the ability for our technology companies to grow. They have to you know hire from outside, which is fine, but we also want to be able to grow the talent we have in our own state and be able to fill these jobs that sit here in our own backyard,” said Women Tech Council Co-founder Sara Jones.

The latest effort to build the local pipeline is the Talent Ready Utah initiative.

Governor Gary Herbert announced the partnership between industry, government and education in his State of the State Address.

The goal is to give students hands on experience as they get their education.

“We’re going to be working with our business community, and make sure we reflect and have alignment with our educational efforts and goals with the demands of the marketplace,” said Herbert, (R) Utah.

The governor says there is a need to fill 40,000 jobs in the industry over the next decade.

Haerter has her eyes on one of them.

“I want to go out and I want to change the world. I want to do things that improve where we live,” said Haerter.

About 15 companies participated in the event. All say they are ready and willing to help develop tomorrows talent.

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