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Midvale Journal

Public/Private Partnership Creates Pathway For Students

Oct 27, 2016 03:54PM ● By Kelly Cannon

Vanessa Olsen, Edwin Carcano and Kiera Terrlink are seniors enrolled in the Medical Innovations Pathway. (Kelly Cannon/City Journals)

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Cottonwood Heights & Holladay

Governor Gary Herbert announced the launch of a new medical innovations pathway on Sept. 27 that will allow high school students the chance to graduate with a certificate in medical manufacturing innovations. From there, students can either continue their education at the post-secondary level or begin their career in life sciences. 

The new pathway was brought about through a partnership of USA Funds, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Department of Workforce Services. 

“We set a goal to become the best performing economy and a premier business destination,” Herbert said during a special presentation at Edward Life Sciences in Draper. “It’s encouraging to see the fruits of our labors, to see that happening in front of our eyes.”

The Medical Innovations Pathway is being funding through a $1 million grant from USA Funds. 

This is the third pathway the state provides to high school students, the other two being aerospace and diesel technology. According to Ben Hart, the managing director for urban and rural business services at the Governor’s Office for Economic Development, the pathway works by partnering high school students with both a post-secondary institution and an industry.

“They get some experience, some curriculum while they’re in high school and then they get further, more rigorous training at one of the secondary institutions and then they get a chance to go onsite in the industry,” Hart said. “Whether that’s a 48-hour internship or job shadow, they get a chance to see what they’re actually going to be doing.”

Hart said the purpose of the pathways program is to empower students to make better career decisions so they can understand what jobs are actually like before deciding if it’s the right career for them. 

Herbert praised these programs because of the partnership between public and private interests. 

“Education is the key to long-term success economically,” Herbert said. “One of the reasons we’re having success is what I call the spirit of collaboration, this partnership and the one we see in this pathways program, exemplifies this idea of public and private partnership working together for the good of the whole economy.”

Herbert also praised the program for its potential to help people. 

“The advancements in science and technology we’re seeing and exhibiting here today is making people’s lives better,” Herbert said. “And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”

Ken Eliason, vice-president of plant operations at Edward Life Sciences, thanked Herbert for pursuing these opportunities to improve their workforce and provide students with workforce opportunities. 

“This program is a step forward for us addressing workforce challenges in our state,” Eliason said. “We hope this program will not only provide stable and rewarding jobs but also create an interest in life sciences and STEM classes.”

The Granite School District has been working on a life sciences program for the past nine years, developing training programs in both biotechnology and biomanufacturing. 

“This medical innovations pathway will take that work to the next level by providing direct linkage to companies who are seeking employees and the real work that is going on in these industries,” said Martin Bates, the superintendent of the Granite School District. 

The program will start in the Granite School District and will expand to the Davis and Canyons School Districts next year. The first semester of the program will take place in the high schools and the second semester will include curriculum from Salt Lake Community College. Students will also do internships and job shadowing. Upon completion of the Medical Innovations Pathway program and passing pre-employment requirements, students will be certified to begin work with one of the life science partners in Utah, receiving a family-sustaining wage. 

Kiera Terrlink, a senior at Skyline High School, will be starting the pathways program next semester. 

“People seemed so involved in their careers and it sounded like a good opportunity to start and figure out if that’s what I wanted to do,” Terrlink said.