Sunday, October 9, 2016

2015 Interim: Changes for Dixie ATC

During the legislative session earlier this year, the southern Utah delegation was able to secure $31.9 million in state funding for the new Dixie Applied Technology College (DXATC). These funds will be combined with another $8 million from Washington County that will fully fund the construction of the new DXATC on the land formerly occupied by the St. George airport. Construction is expected to start at the beginning of January 2016. This will allow the DXATC to move all of their classroom and training facilities into one cohesive campus.  I am very excited about this new project and economic development potential this new facility will bring to southern Utah.

Some readers might be aware of the Governor’s Prosperity 2020 plan to advance educational investment and innovation. The goal of this plan is to raise the bar for students of all ages and ensure that 2/3 of all Utahns achieve postsecondary training by 2020.We need an educated and well-trained workforce to continue to propel Utah’s economic prosperity.  What some people might not know is that an important component of the plan to support postsecondary education are the Applied Technology Colleges (ATCs) located throughout the state. The certificates and 2-year degrees offered at the ATCs can launch well-paying careers not just jobs. Our high schools students can take classes for free at the ATC’s; receiving a certificate and high school diploma at the same time. The manufacturing industry has reported it has an intense need for advanced manufacturing workers like welders, machinists, and industrial productions specialists that can pay anywhere from $35,000 to $80,000 a year. It isn’t only the industrial sector that needs people with training from an ATC. The bio-life science sector needs laboratory technicians and medical records technicians and you can find that training at an ATC too.

Last year, the DXATC served 7,644 students on the current campus. That is the highest enrollment in the Utah ATC system and this is the third year in a row that DXATC has led with the highest enrollment. During the most recent school year 951 high school students took advantage of the free classes. The certificate programs have been growing and are up 64% over the previous year. With the new facility coming on-line soon, the DXATC will also be adding new programs and additional student capacity.

With the start of the school year, you might want to direct your high school aged children to look at the programs offered by the DXATC and how that might open doors to a future career or give them a jump start on a traditional college experience. It is also a very cost effective option for anyone that wants to continue their education with a cost of about $2/classroom hour in tuition for adults. Our new facility will offer state of the art facilities in the heart of St. George!

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