Education And A Tech Workforce Need Collaboration To Thrive

“As a tech company I can think of no better way to help ensure a strong workforce for the future than being a mentor in Utah classrooms.”

This article appears in the Fall 2017 issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine. For the print version, subscribe to Utah Business Magazine and you will automatically be sent a quarterly copy of Silicon Slopes Magazine.

“Within Utah we have this booming tech industry,” says Kellie Yates, STEM Liaison between the STEM Action Center and the USOE (Utah State Office of Education). “But we don’t have a workforce that’s comfortable with STEM to fill all of these jobs. Companies are now having to go to other states and countries to find talent to fill these jobs.”

Yates’ statement reflects the feelings of most of Utah’s tech industry leaders, many of whom sit on the STEM Action Center board and help Yates and her colleagues identify the needs of the tech industry workforce. The board also helps identify what current education curriculum lacks in filling those needs.

After identification, the STEM Action Center and industry partners work to implement educational practices that will help Utah’s rising generation to not only receive a robust education, but eventually obtain satisfying and well-paying jobs in Utah’s thriving tech industry.

Yates explains that when people talk of jobs in the tech industry, they aren’t just talking jobs for coders. Nearly any position within a Utah-based company requires at the very least a basic understanding of STEM skills. And implementing the needed educational practices does not mean teaching kids to code all day every day. Teaching tech does not mean teaching a niche trade, but instead means teaching a way of thinking. As Domo Vice President of Human Resources Cathy Donahoe says, “Tech is all about executing ideas and what it takes to drive an idea through to a business.”

Yates explains that teaching STEM concepts goes beyond just teaching kids a trade or skill. True STEM mastery means an understanding of why a skill works. “If we’re just giving students an idea without a context to study it within, then it’s just a nice idea. But if we just teach the skills, all we’ve taught them is how to solve a problem with a very limited range. We haven’t taught them how to apply those skills in the real world. If we teach students only a specific set of skills we’re really limiting their capabilities. If we give them ideas, they can transfer those skills to other arenas.”

Many of these ideas and skills focus on problem solving and allowing students to come up with solutions to problems that haven’t been tried before. “We want kids to be able to work cooperatively and work in groups well. We want them to learn how to persevere, take a risk, have something not work, learn from that experience, and not get discouraged,” Yates says. “We want them to develop and capitalize on skills like creative thinking, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.” These are the skills that will help students excel in any workplace.

In terms of more defined content skills, Yates says every student needs a solid math background and a familiarity with how quantities work. Yates explains that recent changes in math and science curriculum are getting students to do more instead of just know more. “They need to know how to reason through the information they’re receiving and then take it from there,” she says.

Change, however, is slow and resources in education are far from abundant. “There’s a disconnect between what we want our students to be able to do and what we are able to offer our teachers,” Yates explains. “Teachers don’t necessarily have the time or skills to take whatever ideas and implement them right away. We’ve definitely made good strides, but we’re not even close to done yet.”

We can get closer by helping teachers. Yates encourages tech community members to volunteer to mentor teachers. She explains that when she was a teacher, she didn’t want to expose any ignorance, but that technology changes so quickly she wasn’t immersed enough to fully understand what students needed to learn to master the ever-evolving tech. “It’s terrifying to go to someone in an industry and acknowledge that you don’t have enough information,” she says. “Be willing to take on a teacher as someone you mentor. Get into a classroom and get a better understanding of what teachers are doing so you can better support your education community.”

Sandra Hemmert, Granite Technical Institute District CTE Coordinator, says her organization offers summer internships to teachers so they can actually spend time in fields whose subjects they will be teaching. The institute also invites industry professionals to guest teach in classrooms. “The biggest conflict is when you don’t take time to let a teacher feel successful,” Hemmert says.

Hemmert advises industry leaders to go to their local school districts, find the career and technical director in those districts, and ask to get involved. “A lot of what we’re doing is trying to get industry to come to us. We need industry setting the stage and target for what they need. If you’re not coming in, you might be in trouble,” Hemmert says. “In the past, educators have defined what the needed skills are, but now it’s important for industry leaders to come to the table and help identify the skills they need in their workforce.”

In addition to helping teachers with time and mentorship, and helping districts identify curriculum needs, we can help students understand what working in the tech industry actually means and why that ambition is something to get excited about, then develop streamlined methods to help them succeed. “Unless students already have direct work experience, it can be hard for them to envision what a career in any given industry might look like,” says Kimberlee Carlile, Director of Industry and Talent Initiatives at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). “Our goal is to increase awareness among students so they know what options they can pursue. Work-based learning and hands-on education programs are by far the best way to expose students to exciting career opportunities.”

Carlile knows hands-on education programs are the best way to expose students to exciting career opportunities because she’s seen it work in our state before. “Utah businesses in aerospace manufacturing, diesel tech, and life science have led the way in creating innovative work-based learning programs that connect high school students and adult learners with education pathways to quality, high-paying jobs. These career pathways programs are celebrated as best practices. Now software and technology companies are stepping up to solve their unique workforce challenges while inspiring the next generation of IT professionals.”

Volunteering time, resources, and know-how benefits not only teachers and students, but the entire tech community as well. “Not only is helping young kids in school with their STEM education the right thing to do, today’s prospective employees want to work for companies who give back to the community in meaningful ways,” explains Dell EMC Executive and STEM education advocate Vance Checketts. “We all have friends, neighbors or family members who benefit when we give back and many of them are connected to our current and prospective employees. As a tech company I can think of no better way to help ensure a strong workforce for the future than being a mentor in Utah classrooms.”

Checketts adds that getting involved helps not only the future workforce but the current workforce as well. “Our Dell EMC Utah team loves to help students in elementary, middle and high school. Sharing information about the plentiful, exciting and diverse jobs in our company and our industry is motivating to the kids as well as team members. They come back to work more engaged and satisfied,” he says. “Our team members feel valued when we ask them to represent the company. Doing this while also giving back through educational partnerships in our local school districts is icing on the cake!”

The more the tech industry gets involved in education, the more the future of Silicon Slopes is secure. “We’re really help kids develop skills that will help them be successful when they leave school. I’ve never seen a time like right now. I think it’s really exciting,” says Sandra Hemmert.

The launch of the STEM Mentor Exchange, and Governor Herbert’s recent IT Pathways announcement add to that excitement, but we need the industry’s support. Share in the excitement and call your district. Or download the STEM Mentor Exchange app. Or ask your kids’ teachers what they wish they had in their classrooms and how you can help — it’s time to prepare Utah’s future workforce for tomorrow.

Governor Herbert Announces IT Pathways Program

“The New IT Pathways program will build bridges between high school, college, and business, preparing Utah students for brighter futures.”

This morning Silicon Slopes, in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, hosted an IT pathway discussion in an effort to identify what the tech community must do to better provide students and educators the resources they need to succeed in STEM-related fields.

After an introduction from Clint Betts, Vance Checketts (Dell EMC Vice President & General Manager and a major advocate for STEM education in Utah) spoke of the progress the industry has made in advancing STEM education efforts, but added that we still have a ways to go. “The time is right for us to put together a more comprehensive umbrella that really targets the needs of Utah,” Checketts said. “The industry is engaged and ready to get behind this initiative and close the divide.”

Cathy Donahoe, Vice President of Human Resources at Domo, spoke of the need for all students to have access to technology in education in order to fill workforce needs. “Almost all of our businesses run on technology,” Donahoe said. “All businesses and jobs need tech skills.” Then Donahoe asked, “Are we giving the right message to our students that there are lots of jobs in tech?” and said that we need to be better at doing so.

Clint Betts then led a panel discussion with UVU President Matt Holland, Commissioner of Technical Colleges Dave Woolstenhulme, Utah State University President Noelle Cockett, and Salt Lake Community College President Deneece Huftalin. Together the panel identified what needs to be done to properly educate Utah’s future workforce. “We need a broader communication effort to help students get excited earlier. This has to be a state-wide effort,” said President Holland. “When students come to college, they’re not sure what they want to do. I think we can start directing students earlier,” added President Cockett.

After the panel answered questions from attendees, Vale Hale, Executive Director of GOED addressed the need for a public-private partnership. “If we’re going to continue with our prosperity, we have to solve the talent and education issue,” Hale said. Hale then welcomed Governor Herbert.

Governor Herbert praised Utah for its thriving economy but said Utah cannot rest on its laurels if it hopes to compete on a national and global level. “We’ve got to unite and focus our education efforts to make sure we’re training the future workforce today,” Herbert said. “We have more jobs and openings than we have people available to take them. Hence the importance of education.”

Governor Herbert then announced plans to create a working group that will create an IT Pathway for Utah students. “The new IT Pathways program will build bridges between high school, college, and business, preparing Utah students for brighter futures,” Herbert said.

This working group will bring top tech industry leaders and state leaders together to focus educational efforts to not only provide students a well-rounded education, but also train them for the many jobs that will be available in the Utah workforce.

Silicon Slopes will report on the progress of this working group and the initiatives it implements.

Non-Tech Employees Working In Tech: Alex Porpora, WildWorks

Our ongoing series explores the contributions of non-tech employees working at tech companies.

Yesterday I took my daughter to the zoo. While we were there she asked the following questions:

  1. Why do seals clap?
  2. Why are tortoises slow?
  3. Why are birds so many different colors?

“Hell if I know,” is what I almost told her. Because I have no idea why seals clap, or why tortoises are slow, or why birds birds are so many different colors. I’m a failure. But luckily for her, there are people in this world who know why seals clap and why tortoises are slow and why birds are so many different colors. And there are people working to make that knowledge accessible to kids the world over.

People like Alex Porpora who works as the Education Manager at WildWorks. As Education Manager, Porpora develops and promotes education content via Animal Jam Academy and the Wild Explorers series, which is great. So great that I just watched nine of the videos. By myself.

Porpora also works with formal and informal educators to share educational resources, and works to develop partnerships with organizations doing real world conservation work. “This is a big win-win since we can share their information with our huge audience of players, and our players can learn about real, current issues in science and conservation,” Porpora says.

“I never imagined I would be working in the tech industry,” says Porpora. Porpora studied Physical and Biological Anthropology at the University of Miami, then received a Master’s in Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah. After graduating she worked at The Living Planet Aquarium, the Lemur Conservation Foundation, TreeUtah and The Leonardo. While at The Leonardo, she met the Vice President of Marketing at WildWorks who later offered her a job.

When Porpora joined WildWorks, she brought with her an understanding how kids learn and how Animal Jam can best help them explore their natural curiosity. “I’ve been working with kids for most of my career,” Porpora says. “Kids learn science through hands on experience. Science itself is more of a process. A way of understanding.”

She also offers a unique perspective into how girls — who are often discouraged from pursuing STEM education and careers — can become interested and stay interested in science. “Across the board, supporting girls with more mentors is the key to supporting girls in STEM,” Porpora says. “If I hadn’t had a really great mentor, I would be a mess.” In order to provide young girls mentors, or at the very least role models, the WildWorks team often features women experts in their content. But they never pander. “Kids are smart. They know [the pandering] is nonsense,” Porpora explains. “It’s about pushing a general understanding of the impact of science in our lives.”

Regardless of whether or not a girl, or any kid, decides to pursue a STEM career, an understanding of how science impacts our lives can help them better navigate life. “Being able to know and understand how things happen allows people to be better and more informed decisions makers,” Porpora says.

“Our game isn’t an educational game, but gives players the opportunity to explore topics they may be interested in on their own terms,” Porpora says. “We hope to spark curiosity and a desire for discovery.”

I’ve already downloaded Animal Jam on my phone, and thanks to Porpora’s efforts, I full expect her to tell me why tortoises are slow, why seals clap, and why birds are so many different colors next time we hit up Hogle.

Meet Fuze’s Zubi Flyer, The World’s First Hackable Frisbee

We want to get kids to learn in a new way that’s fun and playful.

Walk through Target on a weekday afternoon and you’ll encounter a world of moms, sometimes dads, with carts full of children, just trying to make it out of the store in one piece.

Most of us know the drill. Prioritize your shopping list. There’s no telling how long your children will last and if you save milk for last, there’s a chance you’ll never get to it. Put the toddler in the cart area they are least likely to dive out of. And don’t, under any circumstance, get anywhere near the toy section. I don’t care how well behaved your children are, showing them shelves of Matel products and not buying them one is practically asking them to combust. You’ll be forced to deal with the humiliation of a public tantrum, or purchase crap. Because the average toy is crap. It’s ugly and loud and teaches kids nothing. But wouldn’t it be great if there was a toy that was sleek, attractive, and could bring you and your children together to bolster your STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) knowledge?

Well, what do you know, there is. Or there soon will be. The Fuze Zubi Flyer is available for preorder. The Zubi Flyer is the first hackable frisbee. “We make learning high-level concepts like coding as easy as 123, build, hack, play,” says Fuze founder Kirsty Sevy. Kids can build the Zubi Flyer by using three screws to secure the PCB into the cap, then snapping it into the frisbee. Then they can hack the flyer to access nine different light and sound games. Finally, they can play with the flyer as a frisbee. “We want to get kids to learn in a new way that’s fun and playful,” Sevy says.

Sevy is invested in children’s ability to learn because she has three daughters. For a while she had been trying to find not-crap, educational products for her oldest, but found that most toys were either dumbed down and condescending or too high-level. She expressed her frustrations to her brother Kyle Muir, who has a background in supply chain operations and manufacturing. Together they created Fuze.

“I’ve worked really hard to create a product that is super fun, and can scale and you can learn alongside your child,” Sevy says. Her hard work is appreciated by parents everywhere who want to buy their children STEAM friendly products that they can learn from together. Educators are also stoked on the Zubi Flyer and the education it could lend to their classrooms. And members of the EDM (Electronic Dance Music? Right?) community are also super enthusiastic about the flyer. Which makes me laugh. In fact my favorite thing Sevy said in our phone interview is “I don’t rave at all.” It’s just not something I hear a lot in my line of work.

“We want to bring communities and family together,” Sevy says. So if you’re a parent or teacher looking for better ways to teach your kids science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, or if you’re super into raves like I know so many of you are, preorder the Zubi Flyer now.

The Do Good Foundation Is Teaching Kids To Code

We know coding is as important as english and math.

InsideSales is teaching fourth, fifth and sixth graders how to code with their Kids Coding Initiative. “We know coding is as important as english and math,” says Tema Laussen, Director of InsideSales Do Good Foundation. Utah has over 6,000 computer science positions with not nearly enough talent to fill those positions. Meanwhile, only 1 in 5 schools offer computer programming courses. InsideSales is looking to change that.

The program started in January with Maple Ridge Elementary School. Every Friday six InsideSales employees taught 225 4th-6th graders how to code using’s plugged and unplugged curriculum. This fall the foundation is expanding into two more elementary schools thanks to the sponsorship of Domo, Qualtrics, and Vivint. InsideSales hopes more Utah companies choose to sponsor elementary schools, expanding the program through the state and eventually the nation.

Companies can sponsor schools with money, employee volunteers, or both. The financial donation is $10,000 to cover the cost of chromebooks or ipads. If companies choose to donate employee time, they need one employee coordinator and 24 employees to teach coding on a rotating schedule.

“If we wait until high school it’s too late,” Laussen says. “Kids are so smart already. Because they’re like sponges, elementary school is the time to teach them.” Laussen explains that learning coding helps children develop computational thinking skills that serve them in every aspect of their education.To learn to code is to learn to create. “We truly believe that in this day and age every child should learn how to code,” Laussen says.

This is just the latest in a long list of the Do Good Foundation’s philanthropic successes. Following Saleforce’s 1:1:1 model, InsideSales works to donate 1% of time, revenue, and product to local nonprofits. They’ve worked with Primary Children’s Hospital, collected canned food for drives, and offered scholarships for women in tech, among other things. “We just want to make a difference,” Laussen says.

To get involved in the Kids Coding Initiative, contact Tema Laussen at

JK, JK, West Jordan Would Like That Facebook Data Center After All

This is too good of an opportunity for Utah to pass up, so we have been working throughout the night and will continue through the day to keep the project alive.

Okay. Disregard everything I’ve written about the Facebook Data Center saga so far. I wrote AT LENGTH about the details of Project Discus. Then I wrote AT LENGTH about West Jordan’s decision to end negotiations with Project Discus. But neither of those stories matter anymore because today West Jordan officials said JK! and then announced that negotiations are starting afresh. It’s fine. Those stories only took 20 hours to research and write.

The statement released by the City of West Jordan today reads:

Yesterday’s State School Board vote challenged negotiations that were already worked out with a company known as Project Discus. The company was not in a position to accept the terms of the School Board’s motion last night. As a result, the City of West Jordan terminated the agreement so that we could start fresh. This is too good of an opportunity for Utah to pass up, so we have been working throughout the night and will continue through the day to keep the project alive.

Based on feedback from other cities where Discus has data centers, we know that this company is a generous community partner and an asset wherever they locate. We have been in talks with Discus since the vote, and they are still very interested in coming to West Jordan. We appreciate the support of the Governor, State School Board, the Jordan School District, and the Jordan Valley Water District who we have worked with throughout our negotiations. The company is anxious to make a decision, and we are ready to welcome them to our city.

This story is one twist away from becoming one of those straws we all had in childhood with which we blew bubbles in our chocolate milk and the dishwasher never really cleaned them properly and they got pretty gross pretty quick but they were really great twisty fun while they lasted.

Personalized Learning Is The Mission Of Core-LX

Core Learning Exchange is a tool for the entire ecosystem of educators and students.

BoomStartup company Core Learning Exchange has been selected to to join the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) Emerging Private Sector Partners program. Phew. That’s a lot of links in one sentence. But you know what they say: the more links, the more elite the program invitation.

That’s not a joke. Well, I mean, yeah, it is because no one says that, but the program is indeed very elite and Core-LX’s inclusion speaks volumes for the work founder and CEO Jeffrey Katzman is doing.

“Core Learning Exchange is a tool for the entire ecosystem of educators and students,” Katzman says. While existing platforms in the education market are designed to reinforce and support the factory style of education, the Core-LX model is highly personalized. Teachers may create a learning plan for each individual student to best accommodate their speed and style of learning.

Katzman founded Core-LX after discovering just how backward and out of step most schools were in terms of technology and learning theory. When his son fell ill and missed school for a month, he returned without having any opportunity to learn what he missed and dealt with what Katzman describes as a “cascade of consequences.” Katzman had worked in the education space for over twenty years and was developing incredibly sophisticated solutions for corporate education. “I [thought] I could bring my skills, approaches and technologies and apply them in an academic context,” Katzman says.

At the time there was a perfect storm of disruptions sweeping through the educational system. Schools started opting for digital resources instead of print and well-funded reforms prompted educators to take different approaches to curriculum, creating a market ready for Core-LX’s arrival.

The Core-LX platform will be available in a Rhode Island charter school, a New York private school, and a few Colorado schools. The students will benefit from the personalized, blended, and competency-based learning the Core-LX makes available. And as the program expands, those same benefits will reach students regardless of their ability, economic, or social status. For a flat fee, educators have access to a range of content from various publishers. Teachers can identify students with special needs, those who may be falling behind or too far ahead, and create customized curriculum for those students. The program allows teachers to assign lectures as homework and spend class time offering one-on-one or small group instruction.

And because one rad program isn’t enough, Core-LX is also partnering with Vant4ge to bring education to prisons. Nothing reduces recidivism in prisoners more than education and Core-LX’s technology can make that education easily accessible.

So you can see why SETDA, the nation’s leading advocates for equity of access, digital content, online assessment, interoperability, and digital learning selected Core-LX for its Emerging Partners program. “It’s quite an honor,” Katzman says. “It gives us a seat and access to the key decision makers at the decision level.” No doubt those decision makers will decide to make Core-LX a must-have in every school.

It’s Time For Girls (To) Go Digital!

The program is designed to empower girls to participate in computer science and technology activities.

“Girls want to make the world a better place. If they learn about technology, they can make it a better place,” says Rachel Ramsay, director of Girls Go Digital!

Girls Go Digital! provides opportunities for girls to learn more about computers, programming, technology and design. The program includes events, workshops and camps with projects created by girls for girls.

Ramsay created the Girls Go Digital! program while pursuing her MFA at Dixie State University. While preparing her thesis, she studied the gender gap in computer science. “We have a problem in western culture,” Ramsay says. “We push boys to do hard things, but accommodate to the skills girls already have.” Ramsay explains that there’s a cultural perception that boys are better with mechanical work, when in reality girls are just as capable. Ramsay decided she wanted to create a learning environment that could begin addressing that problem.

“The program is designed to empower girls to participate in computer science and technology activities,” Ramsay says. The program has grown from 6 participants in 2013 to 143 girls this summer. “I think people are hungry for tech education for their children,” Ramsay says, then explains how excited many parents have been to see how engaged their daughters are in the program. One father was pleasantly surprised to discover that his daughter, after attending camp, had set up a text base on her personal computer on which she could complete programming projects.

“This is really about the individual girl,” Ramsay says, explaining that if 500 girls attend a Girls Go Digital! camp this summer and at least one leaves thinking she is capable of a STEM career, that’s all that matters. To help girls understand just how capable they really are, Ramsay has recruited female instructors whose occupations range from finance to education. “We’re showing [these girls] that there are smart, strong, and capable women who can mentor them,” Ramsay says.

Ramsay credits much of the program’s success to Dixie, saying that without their support and generosity Girls Go Digital! would not be where it is today. To continue growing, however, the program needs support from the tech community and beyond. Some companies and groups — such as Instructure — are sponsoring girls by covering their camp fees and Ramsay is looking for more sponsors to do the same.

“Any time you have a chance, support women in tech,” Ramsay implores, and urges all of us to support the institutions that are supporting the Girls Go Digital! Program.

Published 7/19/2016

Kyte Learning Believes In Simplifying Classroom Technology

We wanted to help teachers and help schools navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology.

“It’s always our challenge to walk that line of not overwhelming some and not underwhelming others,” says Brayden Wardrop, co-founder of Kyte Learning. The some and others Wardrop refers to are educators, some with an extensive understanding of technology and how it should be implemented in the classroom, others with a limited or nonexistent understanding of technology and how it should be implemented in the classroom. “Cafeteria style” instruction, as Wardrop calls it, wherein educators gather for a one-size fits all presentation, can leave technology novices feeling confused and technology experts feeling bored.

Recognizing that not every educator has the same knowledge or interest in technology, Wardrop and his cofounder Asher Sume created Kyte Learning. After running iSchool and servicing schools for hardware, Wardrop and Sume starting receiving requests for training. “Schools were going to invest in technology with or without us,” Wardrop says. He figured it was best to teach them how to use the technology they were investing in. He knew, however, that the cafeteria style instruction would not address the needs of every educator, and that a learn-at-your-own-pace model would better serve teachers at all levels of technological expertise. And that’s just what Kyte Learning does. “This product provides teachers with the opportunity to develop professionally and become familiar with different products. It allows teachers to control their development at their own pace,” writes a teacher on Kyte Learning’s EdSurge review page.

As Wardrop explains it, there are two sides to edtech training. The first side focuses on tech tools, an area where Wardrop and Sumer, who are both passionate about technology, excel. The second side, however, focuses on the pedagogical aspect of edtech, knowing how to use technology in the classroom, an area where Wardrop and Sumer are not so well versed. So they turn to people who are. Kyte Learning pays teachers across the country to create content. After teachers are vetted, Kyte Learning sends them a creator kit which allows them to create training courses that instruct other teachers on how to use technology in their classrooms. “I love that it draws on the knowledge of teachers out there using the technology,” writes an elementary school teacher named Tracy. “It crowdsources teacher knowledge which is very cool and also rewards and compensates teachers for their hard work,” writes Dylan, a gifted education program specialist.

These videos created by teachers are broken down into modules of three to five minute videos, allowing educators to select which topics they would like to learn. “As a teacher, I personally like that I can watch videos on my own time. I also like that they are posted by teachers who are currently using programs in their classrooms,” writes an elementary school teacher Lindsay.

Kyte Learning currently works with more than 100 schools and districts in the U.S. and Canada and plans to bring an additional 1,000 more campuses by Q3. “We want to get this into the hands of as many educators as we can,” Wardrop says.

If the company’s growth after launching just nine months ago is not indicative enough of the invaluable service it provides, the efficiency with which it accomplishes its goal surely is. “We wanted to help teachers and help schools navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology,” Wardrop says. An educator named Jonathan explains just how well Kyte Learning is assisting that navigation: “So many teachers today are wanting to use technology in the classroom but do not have the knowledge or tools to be able to implement technology in the classroom. This product gives the teacher the professional development to be able to learn and apply what they’ve learned into the classroom every day.”

Published 3/4/2016

Landesk Recognized For Its Dedication To STEM Education

We want to do our best to continue to make Utah a leader in technical expertise. We think this is a really valuable thing that not only helps our company but the community as well.

At the UACTE (Utah Association for Career and Technical Education) awards ceremony on February 5, Landesk was awarded 2016 Business of the Year for the company’s dedication to STEM education in the Utah community.

Sue Urses, Vice President of HR at Landesk, explains that the members of UACTE are impressed with Landesk’s work in the arena of STEM education. “They consider us a leader,” Urses explains.

“We engage in a variety of activities with local schools here,” says Tanner Lindsey, Support Systems Architest for Global Service and co-chair of the internal STEM committee. These activities range from school assemblies to individual classroom presentations.

STEM education is a priority for Landesk CEO Steve Daley who authorized the Landesk HR team to put together a program that allowed employees to give back. Landesk employees may use up to 16 hours a year to go into schools and promote STEM education. Urses estimates that Landesk employees volunteered 1600 hours in 2015 with over 100 employees serving as volunteers. “Our employees are passionate about it,” Urses says. ‘It makes it fun to let them be involved in something meaningful in their communities.”

As part of their volunteer work, several Landesk employees volunteered to teach a beginning computer programming course in the Jordan School District. Since its inception, the program’s enrollment has grown from eight students in one school to hundreds of students across the district. Landesk employees continue to provide mentorship to these classes.

When asked why Landesk is committed to STEM education, Urses explains that investing in STEM is part of being a good corporate citizen. “We want to do our best to continue to make Utah a leader in technical expertise,” she says. “We think this is a really valuable thing that not only helps our company but the community as well.”

As the Utah tech market continues to grow across the state, tech companies struggle to attract and retain qualified employees. “We have to help generate an employee base for the future,” Urses says, explaining that STEM education is the best way to generate that base.

“Without the proper exposure and hands-on experience, students may be unaware of the endless opportunities that emerge from science, technology, engineering and math,” says Steve Daly, LANDESK president and CEO in a statement. “We are dedicated to helping shape the next generation of engineers here in Utah and are honored to be recognized by the UACTE for our efforts.”

Published 3/1/2016