January 31, 2014

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Business Leaders Unleash Media Campaign to Promote STEM

By Heather Stewart

January 31, 2014

Salt Lake City — Speaking to a group of elementary students at the Neil Armstrong Academy, American Rides star Stan Ellsworth said pursuing STEM careers would give students “a better opportunity to use your curiosity, use your imagination, use your intelligence to make a difference.”

Ellsworth was at the school along with former astronaut Charles Precourt and Miss Utah 2012 Kara Arnold to rally the students around science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

“You guys have the opportunity to have a great education, to see the world as more than what we see it as today, to appreciate more the world that we have, the art that we have, the music that we have—because you understand how it works,” said Ellsworth

The gathering was also the launching pad for a media campaign to get parents and students excited about STEM. The campaign, “STEM Utah: Curiosity Unleashed,” will use television, radio and billboard ads, along with social media efforts, to educate parents about the opportunities in STEM fields and to help children see STEM careers as exciting and fun.

The $2 million campaign was developed and funded by a coalition of businesses, many of which rely on STEM workers.

Stan Lockhart, government affairs manager for IM Flash Technologies, told the students that “there are thousands of jobs in Utah that are open and we want to hire people for, but we can’t find them. They’re very cool. The pay is really good. We can’t find people to hire; we can’t find people because they don’t have the skills that are needed for those jobs.”

The media campaign will showcase local companies like IM Flash Technologies and Merit Medical, explaining the high-tech processes and products each company has developed.

“Essentially, what we’re doing is we’re going to show off the cool jobs in the state,” said Lockhart. “We’re going to show everyone that there are these jobs that can change the world, if you get them.”

“The sad thing is, these are really good-paying jobs, great-quality jobs … yet we don’t produce enough [skilled workers]. In fact, we’re importing engineers from other countries,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert.

“We want to make sure that you have the skills, that you’re able to go out into what now is a global marketplace and compete,” Herbert told the students.

Speaking from the perspective of an investor, Alan Hall said, “STEM is fundamental to us as businesspeople because we need bright, innovative students who see things that can be done to solve problems, not only today but in the future.”

Hall is the founder and chair of MarketStar, and he also chairs Prosperity 2020, a coalition of business and community leaders that has set the ambitious goal that 66 percent of adult Utahns will have earned a certificate or degree by 2020.

“We need a workforce,” said Hall. “We need people who are educated and ready to go to work, who can help us take care of our customers and their particular needs.”

Some of the companies involved in the Curiosity Unleashed campaign include Merit Medical, Nelson Labs, Boeing, L3 Communications, ATK, IM Flash Technologies, US Synthetic, EnergySolutions, EMC, eBay, doTERRA, Rocky Mountain Power, Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs, Chevron, JPMorgan Chase, the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah.

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