Governor to Testify before Congress on Building an Educated Workforce

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert is scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., tomorrow to testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.  The Governor’s invitation was a result of his aggressive approach to align education outcomes with employer needs and the State’s goal to achieve a college degree or post-secondary certificate for 66% of all working-age Utahns by the year 2020. In his 2013 State of the State address, the Governor called upon members of the State Legislature to unite behind this goal so Utah will achieve education excellence.

“For the sake of Utah’s future economic strength, the alignment of educational outcomes with marketplace demands is not just important; it’s essential,” said Governor Herbert. “We invest in areas that meaningfully improve outcomes and our future economy will reflect it.”

“Utah’s education dollars are being optimized. In a majority of all measurable tests, Utah exceeds the national average or is on par,” said Governor Herbert. “With that said, improving all of these scores is imperative to the success of our 66% by 2020 plan.”

Utah Scores Compared to National Average
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
4th Grade Math      Utah score: 243 (ranked 9th)          National Average: 240
8th Grade Math    Utah score: 283 (ranked 13th)        National Average: 283
4th Grade Reading    Utah score: 220 (ranked 12th)        National Average: 220
8th Grade Reading    Utah score: 267 (ranked 9th)        National Average: 264

Advanced Placement        
Utah Average Test Score: 3.1       
U.S. Average Test Score: 2.84

High School Graduation Rate    (based off of latest national numbers for 2010)   
Utah: 78.6%           
U.S. Average: 78.2%

On PACE to 66% by 2020 is the Governor’s 10-year plan for aligning education with the demands of the workplace. To measure Utah’s progress toward critical education goals, “On PACE” Metrics Charting focuses on the following areas:

P – Prepare Young Learners

  • Early intervention and at-risk support
  • STEM initiatives
  • 21st Century learning
  • Teaching and organizational support

A – Access for All Students

  • College/Career preparedness
  • Institute ACT, PLAN and EXPLORE as mandatory college/career prep exams
  • Complete technology intensive concurrent enrollment online high school courses required for associate’s degrees
  • Complete counseling and career planning tool

C- Complete Certificates and Degrees

  • Applied Technology expansion
  • Higher Education programming and performance
  • Women’s College Taskforce
  • Expand Campus Facilities

E – Economic Success

  • Align education and workforce data: Maintain Utah Data Alliance to develop a comprehensive data integration system for collaboration.

*See PACE plan for exact dollar recommendations for budget approval.

The results of the plan will drive increases in all measurable outcomes leading to economic alignment and the accomplishment of the 66% by 2020 goal. The following will be measured annually:

  • Reading proficiency in 3rd, 6th, and 8th grades (end goal of 90%)
  • Math proficiency in 3rd, 6th, and 8th grades (end goal of 90%)
  • Number of high school students taking the ACT (end goal 90%)
  • High School graduation rate (end goal 90%)
  • High School students pursuing post-secondary credit (end goal 80%)
  • Eliminating waiting lists or “soft caps” in required post-secondary courses
  • Utahns with a board-approved certificate (end goal 13%)
  • Utahns with associate degree (end goal 14%)
  • Utahns with Bachelor’s degree (end goal 28%)
  • Utahns with graduate degree (end goal 11%)
  • Graduates employed in chosen field earning living wages or better (end goal 90%)

For more details and information on the Governor’s plan to achieve 66% by 2020, visit


Download the 2013 PACE Booklet (pdf)