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Businesses, educators to host education workforce alliance summit

The Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce and Zions Bank are bringing businesses and educators together Thursday in hopes of better aligning student training with the needs of the workforce over the next five years.
The Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce and Zions Bank are bringing businesses and educators together Thursday in hopes of better aligning student training with the needs of the workforce over the next five years.
Rich Kareckas, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — The Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce and Zions Bank are bringing businesses and educators together Thursday in hopes of better aligning student training with the needs of the workforce over the next five years.

"There's a clear gap between the workforce and what we're teaching our students today," said Maddie Gilbert, spokeswoman for the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce. "We're hoping to bring major schools and major businesses together to determine what we need to teach the children in order to be effective workers."

Discussion will be based on a survey by the Cicero Group, which asked major employers in Utah what their needs will be to sustain future growth. The discussion will include several of Utah's top businesses, including the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, Rocky Mountain Power, Goldman Sachs and Questar Gas.

The "Bridging the Gap" summit will also include administrators from the Utah College of Applied Technology, Salt Lake Community College, Westminster College, the University of Utah and Utah Valley University. Superintendents of several school districts will also participate.

The summit will specifically focus on improving student preparation for industries involving science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, according to Gilbert.

"We have a very friendly, pro-business environment. We have good workers with a low rate of absenteeism and higher productivity," said Stan Parrish, president and CEO of the Sandy Chamber of Commerce. "One of the concerns we have is the demand for skilled, educated workers to sustain the continued economic growth in our state."

The summit is open to business and education administrators, and will be held on the 18th floor of the Zions Bank Tower, 1 S. Main, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Those seeking further information are encouraged to contact the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce at 801-556-0344.

Email: mjacobsen@deseretnews.com, Twitter: MorganEJacobsen