A priority of Utah's education system should be to prepare its children for the "world of work" so when businesses think about coming to Utah and existing Utah businesses will know there is a trained workforce, according to the president of Prowswood Corp.
Rather than give students a liberal arts education that teaches them how to get along with others and secondarily teaching them how to making a living, they first should be taught how to work and the liberal arts classes should be a supplement, said Richard Prows.Prows, a veteran builder and developer, spoke during a recent planning forum of the Salt Lake Chapter of the International Society for Planning and Strategic Management in the Red Lion Hotel.
Once Utah children have been taught how to work and choose their profession, the availability of a trained work force should be announced to the world so businesses planning on expanding are alerted they should come to Utah. Utah's outdoor environment, unique culture and work ethic are valuable selling tools to an expanding business, Prows said.
Prows, who served on the institutional council of Salt Lake Community College, said Utahns need to re-evaluate their attitude about the money spent on higher education. Now, he said, Utah is spending 80 percent of its money in universities leading to 20 percent of the jobs.
Although he didn't graduate from college, Prows said he considers himself an educated person because he was willing to work and learns from other and who is continually learning. Likewise, people shouldn't feel ashamed if they haven't graduated from college, but they should be prepared to work.
A few years ago, Prows said he was asked to help establish an apprenticeship program in Utah, but nobody wanted to participate because people were embarrassed to be a carpenter or get involved in some of the other trades. Eventually the apprenticeship program was successful and many people now look to their trade professions with pride, he said.
Prows said the Utah economy is "hurting," and people must come up with some progressive ideas to get things going again.