September 1, 2012

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Utah County

Utah Business Staff

September 1, 2012

RAPIER: I am a founder at a couple of the earlier charter schools here in Utah Valley, and my experience of the education system at that age, feeding in, is there is a latent demand for a higher level of math and science from a parent perspective—an opportunity for their kids to get involved so that they would be in the track eight grades later to be able to enter the university and take a Ph.D. course and have the mathematics chops to handle it.
There is a business opportunity to invest in education choice at a lower level than the university—at a charter school level or at a public private partnership level. We would see a massive benefit five to 10 years down the road in our workforce, in the quality of our people and our ability to retain families.

MCMULLIN: This year, for example, we just started a program with the Alpine School District where we are funding math programs and math labs at all the Alpine School District high schools. We found there is great excitement at the school district level for this, and we think it’s going to be a great start. It’s not going to give us immediate benefits here in the next two or three years, but we are looking more long term. These are the type of people we need to have homegrown to provide opportunities for these kids to get jobs coming out.

FOTHERINGHAM: It came to my attention this last week, because we are dealing with it every day now, that 75 percent of the engineers that are turned out by BYU leave the state. I don’t know what the numbers are at the University of Utah or Utah State, but a lot of the manpower that is being trained here is leaving. So part of the solution is to try and access those people to actually stay here. Whatever the means is to do so, we need to do that.

CLYDE: We as businesses have to get on board. It can’t just be the public sector and the state government. We have to get on board and get involved with the colleges and universities. We’ve got some really good universities here, and we need find out what they have and what they need, and tell them exactly what kind of programs they need from an industry perspective.

BALL: We’ve hired a hundred people in San Francisco that we would have preferred to hire here—but we couldn’t find them here. It’s not just education. It’s also relevant experience. We couldn’t find internet web designers or online marketing or online product managers or, for our DNA business, computational biologists.  Part of that is the chicken or-the-egg dilemma, where we haven’t built that industry here, so we don’t have the relevant experience we can draw on.

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