Today’s jobs are much different than they were a generation ago. Salt Lake City is facing a working world that is more changeable and unpredictable than ever. SLC Economic Development Workforce Development Manager Jake Maxwell offers this latest blog on one major way Salt Lake City is keeping up. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback.

School is in session and it’s time for classes to start this week at the brand new Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) Westpointe Workforce Training and Education Center. This center will aim to fill some of our middle skills gaps that pay great wages, including Diesel Technicians, CDL Drivers, Machinists, Welders, Plastic Mold injecting, Composites, and Solar Installation.

On-the-job training isn’t enough to close the widening gap and demand for skilled labor in Salt Lake City. And even if you are already in the workforce, experts suggest the rapid pace of change in jobs means there is a growing demand to update you skills as well.

For example, if you are a truck driver, you can see that self-driving trucks may be a threat to your employment — maybe not this year or next year, but certainly within five or 10 years. Don’t wait until self-driving trucks are a common sight on the highways, prepare for the future now.  slccopens

A solution may be SLCC Westpointe’s Diesel Tech Program which offers both certificate and degree options. The program is designed for working adults to take at their own pace. It’s also competency-based, so students can go through their program at an accelerated pace. The commitment is doable — one of their service technician certificates takes 750 hours, it can be done in as little as 8-9 months. Individuals just entering the workforce may be surprised to know the current median wage for Diesel Technician is $22.15. That makes the average starting annual wage around $46,000/year!

We’re grateful for community partners like SLCC’s Westpointe that offer vocational training to prepare our people for jobs that don’t necessarily require a college degree, but for industries that have specific skill needs.

Companies with specific needs must look beyond the “not my problem” mentality when it comes to skills acquisition. If nobody takes responsibility for training, simply assuming that some other party (another company, universities, the government) will take care of it, then we will not keep up with demand. Instead, we ALL need to contribute to investing in skill training.  Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development created the role of Workforce Development Manger to facilitate these discussions, create strategic partnerships, and keep talent in the pipeline.

In a recent interview about the new Westpointe facility Rick Bouillon, Associate Vice President for SLCC Workforce and Economic Development said,

“We were able to get direct input from industry members to say ‘here’s what this particular lab needs to look like’.  If we take care of students, we take care of the community, which takes cares of industry.  We want to give our students the best opportunity in the highest technical environment that we can.”

Westpointe Workforce Training and Education Center is located conveniently close to many West SLC businesses who stand to employ these students or to offer students internships and grow them in your business. To see this amazing new 121,000 square foot structure and start a partnership, visit or contact our department and we will help you build this fruitful relationship.