CURRENT LEGISLATION
UTC advocates for legislation that improves the business climate for tech companies in Utah

In the first decade and a half of the 21st Century, the Utah Technology Council (UTC) has played a transformative leadership role in the development and passage of legislation impacting Utah’s technology industry. Some of UTC’s landmark accomplishments during this time include:

ENGINEERING INITIATIVE

UTC led the effort to pass the Engineering Initiative with Governor Leavitt, which has been instrumental in increasing the number and quality of computer science and engineering graduates produced by Utah’s universities to “fuel the growth” of the state’s 5,000 technology companies (2001). In 2015, we were able to obtain additional funding support of the initiative resulting in $30 million per year to increase capacity with half coming from 1:1 match from university presidents to hire faculty.

UTAH FUND OF FUNDS - FUND 1

UTC championed passage of this significant entrepreneurial economic development legislation – which has “fundamentally changed the state’s early-stage capital structure.” Over 200 venture capital and private equity firms have been attracted to the state’s rich high-growth innovation community investing $121M in funding commitments to 28 funds (mostly out of state since 2005) – all at no cost to state taxpayers!

USTAR

UTC played a key role in the creation and funding of the $400M Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) as the state’s “innovation framework.” In close collaboration with the Salt Lake Chamber and EDCUtah, it was passed and has already established an excellent track record for attracting top researchers along with their teams and federal funding to Utah’s leading research institutions to create new companies and high-paying, high-skilled jobs (2006).

$30 MILLION FOR STEM ACTION CENTER

Our top focus again in 2014 was the STEM Action Center bill. After securing a $30 million investment in the 2013 & 2014 sessions, it produced very strong early pilot results. In these two tight sessions, getting $30 million in new money for education to innovate is a very big deal! The STEM Action Center’s primary goal is to support digital professional development for teachers and “excite students” with STEM opportunities, by providing effective STEM education through digital learning tools to public K-12 classrooms statewide(2013-2014). In 2015, we were successfully able to protect and maintain full funding for the Center.

INCREASED HS RIGOR TO FILL TALENT SHORTAGE

UTC was the sole organization to strongly advocate this crucial change in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) high school graduation requirements. This enhances the Rigor of Utah high school students by requiring one additional year of math, science and language arts. After six years of deliberation without a decision and with significant persuasion from UTC, the State Board of Education passed this unanimously (2006). It went into effect in 2011.

THE TRANSPARENCY ACT (SB 59)

UTC was the strongest advocacy group that championed this bill, which gives every school one letter grade for students’ quality of STEM education and overall preparedness. The goal is to better prepare the state’s 625,000 underserved students so that they can successfully compete in the global economy for the high-demand jobs in our “hot” technology companies (2011 – 2014).

MAINSTREAM COMPUTER SCIENCE AS SCIENCE OPTION IN HIGH SCHOOLS

In 2014, UTC trustees Aaron Skonnard and Jonathan Johnson and other members were joined by Helen Hu from Westminster College to meet with the State Board of Education, and we achieved a landmark decision in “mainstreaming Computer Science” in high schools! Starting in August 2015, students are able to count a rigorous CS course as one of three science credits required for high school graduation. Students will also have the opportunity to take more rigorous CS courses, such as AP Computer Science.

JOE SWENSON
CEO, IMAGINE LEARNING

UTC is a watchdog for the technology industry. It plays a massive role in helping Utah grow and prosper as a state.”