OREM — With the help of a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, officials at Utah Valley University are working to meet the demand for workers trained in information technology and cybersecurity.
Keith Mulbery, department chairman for Information Systems and Technology at UVU, said the Department of Labor grant will help the university intensify its curriculum for current students as well as reach out to workers who are displaced or unemployed. The grant specifically targets individuals who are eligible under the U.S. Trade Adjustment Act, but degree programs supported by the project will be open to all students.
Mulbery said there is a growing need for workers trained in information technology as more tech companies establish locations in Utah, from software firms like Adobe to information centers like the National Security Administration's Utah Data Center, which is scheduled to open next year in Bluffdale.
"The valley is getting more and more technology advanced," he said. "It seems like in Utah Valley and into Salt Lake it's the trend for companies to come here."
Mulbery said enrollment in IT courses has steadily increased at UVU. The number of Information Technology and Systems students increased by 25 percent over last year. With the added resources from the Department of Labor grant, he expects to see that growth continue in the future.
"We're definitely going to see another 25 percent increase over the next year or two," he said.
In addition to targeting displaced workers, Mulbery said the $3 million grant would help alleviate bottle-necked courses at UVU, by allowing faculty to offer more course sections and purchase equipment to increase classroom capacity.
The grant work begins in October and will be used over a four-year period, according to university officials. It is part of the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative that aims to help workers who lost jobs due to global competition.
“This is a wonderful award that will help move the university forward in the area of cybersecurity,” Ian Wilson, UVU Academic Affairs vice president, said in a prepared statement. “This is an area where we can excel and make a significant contribution in the state.”
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