LOGAN – More than a thousand middle school students filled Bridgerland Technical College (BTECH) over two days last week for Career Days. It was the 11th annual event, but because Utah Governor Gary Herbert declared 2018 as the Year of Technical Education, it received extra attention.
The students were able to get hands-on experiences in heavy equipment operations, dentistry, construction, food services and dozens of more technical careers.
“This is going to give kids an opportunity to see things they’ve never seen before,” said Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, who visited the event Thursday, “to experience some real, live equipment and to understand how things work. It’s going to change kids’ lives.”
Cox said college education is important, but emphasized technical education shouldn’t be overlooked.
“We’re encouraging (the students) to look at both,” he said. “That’s a real shift from where we were the last 20 years.”
Cox said there is a real need to get kids interested in technical careers. He said Utah, like other states, has taken focus off of technical education, which he believes is a disservice to both the students and the state.
“Quite frankly, our economy needs it right now,” he said. “So this is the focus, getting these kids here in this experience early is a big deal.”
BTECH President Chad Campbell said the goal of the event was to get the students interested in technical careers while they are young.
“We’re trying really hard to change technical education in the minds of the students and in the minds of the parents,” he said. “At least on a weekly basis I get a chance to meet and interact with business and industry leaders. They all tell us the same thing, that they are desperate for technically trained workers, so we are trying hard to introduce students to technical careers.”
Campbell said the event achieves its purpose. He said he knows it works because there are current BTECH students who attended past career day events.
“We always know it’s a success because of the smiles and the look on the kids’ faces,” he said. “This is one of their favorite events that they do all year. One of the really good ways for us to learn how successful it is, is we see many of these students back.”