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Midvale Journal

Hillcrest High, Savage, United Way partner to create student educational pathway, supportive services

Dec 01, 2021 02:24PM ● By Julie Slama

Student body president Jason Mun shares with the community about Hillcrest High School’s community hub, which provides not only school supplies, but food and personal hygiene items, laundry facilities, showers and more to the Midvale community. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

The new partnership between education, business and a not-for-profit entity will be a multi-year commitment for the Midvale community, providing a new educational pathway, resources and support.

The Savage-Hillcrest Impact Network for Education is two-fold: to provide Hillcrest High students an educational pathway that will provide career training in the transportation, logistics and distribution fields while also providing support for their physical, mental and emotional needs.

Hillcrest High Principal Greg Leavitt said this partnership aligns with the Utah State Board of Education’s agenda.

“One of those agendas is ‘think outside the box and make education for kids and what they need to do with their lives,’” he said. “This is a partnership that allows students to (potentially) leave high school with a high-paying job in a world-class company and to connect directly with that company, which is invested in person and financially in the school, making it a unique partnership. Savage is a global leader in the transportation and logistics industry, so it’s an amazing opportunity to be able to start or end to work there.”

Savage President and CEO Kirk Aubry pledged the company would provide $500,000 over the next five years.

“This is a long-term commitment,” he said. “We don’t just write checks and cut ribbons. We actually show up and we want to be partners in the community. We are all about relationships and so being able to play a meaningful impact at Hillcrest is a big deal to us. Volunteering and helping the community is part of being a good neighbor and being a true part of the community. It’s who we are; it’s our vision and legacy.”

Aubry expects his team will help with CTE programs and in the community hub during the three hours per month Savage team members are given to volunteer; the company already is involved in reading programs at Midvale Elementary as well helping in the Midvale and Utah communities.

Hillcrest High Community School Facilitator Juan Del Valle Perez, who is passionate about providing help and resources to underrepresented students, already is reaching out to students’ families letting them know about the student services that are available and now, he also will tell them about the career pathway. He is overseeing the community hub that can provide for up to 2,200 Hillcrest students, which about 400 may be classified as low socioeconomic.

“We are targeting students who don’t see themselves in college or don’t have a clear career pathway, without a map of what their future looks like,” he said. “Now, we can show them this opportunity they can have when they take classes, have an internship that will lead them to having a foot in the door to a global company.”

The first classes to be introduced in this pathway will begin fall 2022, however registration will begin in January. The classes will take place whether 10 students initially sign up for it or 100, Leavitt said. 

New curriculum for transportation I and II is being developed, and it will be taught by Hillcrest career and technology education teacher Clief Castleton.

“The transportation pathway will introduce students to the transportation industry and help prepare them for employment in that industry with marketable skills and knowledge,” said Kevin Wood, Hillcrest CTE coordinator.

The pathway could include classes in business management, accounting, business office systems, robotics, engineering, physics, automotive, heavy-duty diesel, computer programming and unmanned aerial systems.

As part of the pathway, participating students will have the opportunity to interview for an internship at Savage, Aubry said.

Savage, which received Canyons School District’s Apex Award in 2014, began in 1946 when Kenneth Savage returned home from World War II and with his father, purchased a single truck to haul cinder blocks to the Uintah Basin and coal to American Fork. He, along with his two brothers, began hauling materials throughout Utah and Idaho. Now, 75 years later, it is a global supply chain company with service offerings for truck, rail and marine transportation and logistics, materials handling and other industrial services.

“The brothers were known for their hard work, they were known for their integrity and they were known for diving into things and making things happen. So, the vision they started has really materialized for us through the hard work a lot of people have done, and some good things have been created,” Aubry said. “Education is a key focus for us. It always has been. High school is an incredibly important part of our philosophy about helping Utah kids achieve their dreams.”

Earlier this year, Aubry and United Way of Salt Lake President and CEO Bill Crim collaborated to determine a way Savage could help high school students in the community. 

“We are not the educators, were not the industry leaders, but we believe that helping every child in our state achieve their potential takes a team; so we wake up every day, and we just try to find more team members and bring those team members together,” Crim said. “Think about the potential that exists in every one of the 2,200 students that go to school here, all the kids in Canyons School District, all the kids in our state and think about the potential that often is not realized because we don’t work together as a team. That is what we are doing.” 

Then, the two approached Canyons School District and Hillcrest High this past spring, said Wendy Dau, Canyons School District’s director of federal and state programs.

“They wanted to do more than just help our community hub, so we looked at CTE and what it would look like to develop a pathway; we found it aligned with what the state has already approved for CTE very well,” she said, adding that the cohort of students will move together from one class to another in the pathway. “Our students will have job shadow opportunities and internships, and these could lead to some pretty high-paying jobs right out of high school.”

Canyons School District Superintendent Rick Robbins said it’s a great model showing how the community is working together to support student success.

“I’m honored and thrilled that we have this terrific model that serves our students to really provide in-kind materials as well as scholarship opportunities and training,” he said. “It really is about targeting the needs of students and what they need. So, it’s just an amazing partnership, a model that can serve the entire district well. It’s exciting to hear their passion, that of Savage and United Way, to support our vision in supporting students and our school community.”