A building that once housed a Wurlitzer piano and organ factory has been dedicated as the new Bridgerland Area Vocational Center, where thousands will be trained for a changing job market.
James Moss, state superintendent of public instruction, said at the Saturday ceremony that corporate America now spends more on worker training than it does on higher education."Vocational centers are playing an increasingly important role in education, because 80 percent of today's jobs do not require a traditional college diploma, but do require specialized training that only these centers can provide," he said.
"Shifts in the economy mean dislocations for various populations, so there is a need not only for training, but continual retraining," Moss said.
Malcolm Allred, president of the center's board of directors, said that until the Utah Legislature appropriated money to purchase the abandoned building, the area's vocational programs were scattered all over the county, with some of them in buildings condemned by the state fire marshal.
Remodeling has been accomplished in several phases since 1983, and the completed facility houses such programs as health occupations, drafting, construction, auto and diesel mechanics, business classes and food services.
Bobbie Coray, director of Cache Economic Development, said the center has been a great asset in expanding the Cache Valley economy because of the "custom-fit" training programs it provides.
She said Bridgerland has allowed businesses to help tailor training programs to fit their own needs, with the added benefit of helping to bring the area's unemployment down to 3.3 percent.