As leaders of the top businesses in Utah Valley and the state of Utah, we need the help of our Legislature.
Our biggest challenge today is finding qualified workers to fill our technology-related jobs. Many of our companies have hundreds of high-paying jobs going unfilled because graduates from our colleges and universities have not been trained in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). That must change if Utah is to retain its spot as an economic leader in our country.
We need our legislators to support HB139, which establishes a STEM Center and better aligns and promotes STEM education from kindergarten through college. We also encourage support of other STEM initiatives being brought forward by higher education and the Utah College of Applied Technology. Legislators must act now to produce more STEM graduates in order to keep our businesses competitive and our state a leader in technology and innovation.
We understand HB139 comes with a $15 million fiscal note. We encourage legislators to look at that price tag as an investment in Utah's economic future. Business leaders are forced to make these types of decisions every day. If we don't invest sufficiently in research and development, we soon become obsolete. The issue before our Legislature is whether it wants to invest in Utah's future workforce or see the state drop in economic impact and prestige. It really is that simple.
Individually and collectively as members of the Executive Roundtable of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, we ask for support of the STEM initiatives currently before the Legislature.
Our legislators hold in their hands the future economic well being of this state. We implore them to make the wise decision and the right decision in this matter.
Fraser Bullock is co-founder and managing director of Sorenson Capital.