The term “skills gap” describes a fundamental mismatch between the skills that employers rely upon in their employees and the skills that job seekers possess. This mismatch makes it difficult for individuals to find jobs and for employers to find appropriately trained workers.

Our country faces a widening skills gap in our efforts to develop a nationwide workforce. The need for education, industry and government to come together to create this workforce has never been greater. That is why I have traveled the country promoting the need for education to develop skills in trades such as manufacturing, welding, machining, and building, to include commercial and home construction, electricians, plumbers and HVAC workers. These jobs just scratch the surface of the workforce needs in our nation now, and in the future. 

Utah is doing an outstanding job in preparing students to meet the workforce needs of local industry. One of Utah’s public school districts, Davis School District, is part of pathway programs partnered with the governor’s office, local industry, secondary education and postsecondary education. Pathways have been developed in commercial and home construction, commercial and defense aerospace manufacturing, diesel technology, medical innovations and retail sales.

The efforts of Davis School District have been led by the district’s Career and Technical Education director, Jay Welk. The efforts of Jay, his district CTE leadership team, teachers and students throughout the distinct have led to significant increases in student enrollments in CTE courses.

Davis District students have also seen increased opportunities for internships, externships, job shadows and apprenticeships with local industry partners. Students leave high school with an actual skill set, not simply content knowledge. Industry partners end up hiring many of the students who take part in these work experiences. Not only do students receive a good entry-level wage, they also receive health and retirement benefits and reimbursement for college expenses.

Throughout his career, Welk has brought together individuals and organizations to achieve common goals and successful outcomes. He has demonstrated his leadership skills while working with civic, community, business and industry, and education organizations. As Welk seeks the office of mayor of Kaysville, I offer my complete support and endorsement for a successful campaign.

John Ratzenberger is an actor perhaps best known for his role as Cliff Clavin on the comedy series “Cheers.”