The Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership (UCAP) program provides funding to public colleges and universities and applied technology colleges—and now also K-12 school districts, charters and individual schools—to develop, implement, or enhance educational programs in direct response to regional and statewide industry needs. UCAP is a partnership between the Utah System of Higher Education, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the Department of Workforce Services. Funding for UCAP comes from the state Job Growth Fund.
On April 1, UCAP held a grant kickoff event in the Capitol Rotunda, announcing $3.45 million in total funding: $2.2M for the public colleges and universities, applied technology colleges, and industry trade association track, and $1.25M for public school districts, individual schools, and charter schools. As a general guideline, projects are limited to $200,000 with a higher cap approved for consortium/regional partnerships upon approval by the UCAP Executive Board.
At the event on April 1, several UCAP projects presented their work in the Capitol Rotunda:
Dixie State University
Utah State University – Moab, Grand County School District, and the BEACON afterschool program
These three entities developed educational programming geared toward employment pathways in career and technical education and STEM disciplines. While UCAP only funded the USU – Moab project (the other two were funded through STEMLink, a K-12 grant through DWS), they all collaborated while preparing their individual grant proposals to ensure multi-year student involvement in these areas. The BEACON program used funding to add a robotics team, purchase state-of-the-art equipment for the afterschool club and introduce students to STEM-related careers through field trips. Grand County High School created a new college and career pre-engineering pathway. Three new classes were offered: pre-engineering technology, engineering design, and robotics and automation. USU – Moab hired a new CTE coordinator to develop and implement three new CTE/STEM programs at the college, including IT and web development, accounting and auditing, and construction management. Students can earn a certificate or associate in these areas.
Utah Valley University
With UCAP funding, UVU has created three certificates of proficiency: Computer Science, Information Technology, and Digital Media. These certificates are stackable, meaning they can be used to feed directly into an associate degree. The certificates are part of a “Career Pathway,” which get students involved early in areas of interest to them and that prepare them with the professional skills and education they need to qualify them for current jobs and professions.