Facebook Twitter



Look into the crystal ball and here's part of what you're likely to see in Utah's future:

- Fast food outlets where the only employees are the technicians who keep sophisticated food preparation and serving equipment moving. Gone will be the hamburger and soda pop servers, table moppers and french fry fryers.- Automated aerospace production lines in which technicians tell robots what to do and quality assurance workers test the end product. No need for tedious hand-assembly, springs-and-sprockets workers.

- Sewing plants in which workers seldom touch a sewing machine, but use computers to direct the process - or in which clothing is produced ready-made to a customer's order on the spot. No demand for the skills valued by today's seamstresses.

It's a future in which jobs will be significantly different from those now available and it's coming faster than most people think, said Carol Berrey, director of the Office of Job Training, Utah Department of Community and Economic Development.

Countries - and states - are hustling to compete in today's competitive global market. Utah is determined to carve a niche for itself in that evolving world, Berrey said.

No degree required

A large first step in that process is to change perceptions, said the employment specialist. Utah's long love affair with the college degree needs to bow to a recognition that the majority of the jobs available no longer require such a degree.

That doesn't mean Utah has to settle for low-accomplishment, low-satisfaction, low-paying jobs, she stressed. There will always be a need to replenish the ranks of college-trained professionals, but in fact, Utah has historically exported many of its college graduates because there was not sufficient work for them in the state.

The reality is that about 80 percent of Utah's jobs today do not require four-year college preparation. The greatest opportunities are in the technical areas, where good jobs are available with six months to two years of training.

Utah's long-held emphasis on education doesn't need to be sacrificed to accommodate the changing realities, said Robert Beebe, assistant to the business vice president of Salt Lake Community College. Many people who are choosing less than college level training in a vocational or technological field are, in fact, spending as much time in actual preparation for their careers.

And the liberal arts education that enriches life beyond career preparation is always available to those who want to learn, Beebe said. Education is not a four-year process, but a lifelong pursuit easily accessible to anyone with the desire.

While the need for vocationally or technologically-trained people increases significantly in Utah, the availability of low-skill, entry level jobs is declining. The day when young people with no job skills could still find work is fast disappearing. Even in the service industries, the required basic educational levels have been upgraded.

13.5 years for a job

By the end of this century, the average job is expected to require 13.5 years of education - not 16.

"There is a real mismatch here in Utah," Berrey said. "We have jobs going begging and we have people who are under-employed because they are over-educated. For instance, for every engineer hired by a firm, 10 to 15 technicians are needed."

Utah is vigorously wooing industry to provide jobs for its young population, which will soon hit the job market. Businesses contemplating a move to Utah look at the availability of a good work force as a priority consideration. In some instances, they look elsewhere when they find Utah doesn't have a sufficient pool of technically trained people to fill their needs, Berrey said.

When Lucas Western came to establish a plant in Park City, the company had a need for about 100 machinists. It could find only about a dozen, so helped set up training courses at Salt Lake, Utah Valley and Weber colleges.

Machinists earn good wages in Utah's aerospace industries, said Jerel Arnell, manufacturing manager at Flameco Barnes, Ogden - from $33,000 to $35,000 a year. "And when they get to be toolmakers they're up to $43,000-$48,000, with overtime."

While many regions of the country are watching their work force shrink, Utah has an expanding young population. Coupled with a traditional emphasis on education and productive work, the state "has both the quality and the quantity population to catapult it to economic pre-eminence," a report issued by Berrey's office says.

However, perceptions must change to effectively mesh the availability of workers, jobs and training opportunities, she said.

A realistic look at the job market

The office recently conducted a survey among 1,020 Utahns that indicated a strong disparity between what Utahns think about job availability and the realities, Berrey said. The great majority of the young people in the survey said they expect to go to college - many for advanced degrees - and that their first choices for jobs were doctor, engineer or "professional" work. Next on the list, they named "movie star/-rock singer," an indication that their pre-graduation objectives are not very realistic.

(Additional information)

Jobs via VoEd

In Utah, four of every 10 jobs require training of at least six months but less than four-year college preparation. Among hundreds of options are these:

Less than six months of training:

Amusement and recreation attendants Nursing aides and orderlies

Bartenders Sales clerks

Bill and account collectors Postal carriers

Cashiers Sewing machine operators

Food preparation and service workers Stock clerks

Counter attendants Switchboard operators

Electrical and electronic assemblers Truck drivers

File clerks Typist/word processors

Gardener/groundskeepers Vehicle equipment cleaners

General office clerks Waiters

Carpenter helpers Laundry/dry cleaning workers

Hotel desk clerks Library assistants

Janitors Maid/housekeeping workers

More than six months but less than a college degree:

Adjustment clerks Insurance sales

Auto body repairers Jewelery/silversmiths

Auto mechanics Legal secretaries

Bakers Licensed practical nurses

Brick masons Machinists

Bus/truck/diesel repairers Medical assistants or secretaries

Bus drivers Heavy equipment mechanics

Butchers Operating engineers

Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters Painters/paperhangers

Carpenters Plumbers/pipefitters

Computer operators Precision inspectors

Programmers and aides Purchasing agents

Construction managers Radiologic technologists

Cooks Advertising/business/financial sales

Custom tailors and sewers Secretaries

Dental assistants Sheet metal workers

Designers Teachers in vocational education

Drafters Teachers' aides

Electricians Tellers

Electronics repairers Shipping/receiving clerks

Cosmetologists Welders/cutters Heating/air conditioning mechanics Sholesale and retail buyers

Housekeepers Industrial production managers

Deseret News graphic


(Additional Information)

Where to find vocational-technical information:

Where to find vocational-technical information:

- The Utah Occupational Information Coordinating Committee, 174 Social Hall Ave., Salt Lake City 84111, telephone 533-2028, publishes a current 36-page Utah Career Guide, available for 25 cents.

- Private schools specialize in a wide variety of occupations. Listed in the yellow pages under "Schools."

- Two-year colleges offer short-term training, two-year associate degree programs and/or preparation for higher degrees. Call:

Salt Lake Community College, 967-4136 or 967-4178

Salt Lake Skills Center (for the economically or educationally disadvantaged), 328-5500

Utah Valley Community College, Orem, 226-5000, ext. 206 or 491

College of Eastern Utah, Price, 637-2120; San Juan Center, Bland ing, 678-2201

Dixie College, St. George, 673-4811

Snow College, Ephraim, 283-4021

Southern Utah State College, Cedar City, 586-7715

- Area Vocational Centers serve both high school and adult students. Most programs allow open entry and open exit, students advance at their own pace.

Davis Area Vocational Center, Kaysville, 546-4134

Ogden/Weber Area Vocational Center, Ogden, 621-2373

Bridgerland Area Vocational Center, Logan, 753-6780

Uintah Basin Area Vocational Center, Roosevelt, 722-4523; Vernal, 789-1942

Sevier Valley Technical Area Vocational Center, Richfield, 896- 8202

- Utah Job Service offices in all major cities offer training informa tion. Listed under Utah Government. In Salt Lake City, call 533-2400.

- Universities offer some vocational-technical training. For informa tion on vocational-technical programs, call:

University of Utah, High School Services, 581-8761

Utah State University, 750-1129

Weber State College, 626-6050


(Additional information)