Developing a Vision and Plan for the Northern Utah Geospatial Technology Education Program (NUGTEP)
This project addresses the increasing demand for a skilled geospatial technology workforce by government and industry throughout northern Utah. Increasingly, employers require the expertise of geospatial technicians to perform geospatial tasks across a multitude of disciplines. To meet this demand, this project develops the Northern Utah Geospatial Technology Education Program (NUGTEP) to address the region's needs. NUGTEP prepares post-secondary students for successful employment as well as providing additional educational opportunities for individuals already in the geospatial workforce. The foundation for the NUGTEP curriculum is the U.S. Department of Labor Geospatial Technology Competency Model and associated best practices identified by the National ATE Geospatial Technology Center (GeoTech Center). Specific competencies important to the regional Utah geospatial workforce community are also being emphasized in curriculum development. NUGTEP is divided into a two-tier structure. The new Community College First Tier provides students with the opportunity to earn an entry-level certificate or associate degree in Geospatial Technology. The University Second Tier offers an advanced certificate or college minor in Geospatial Analysis. The two-tier model provides students with opportunities to earn credentials in Geospatial Technology, enter the workforce, or if desired, seamlessly advance into the higher level University Tier. The project also provides students internship opportunities that may lead to future employment in the region. Furthermore, NUGTEP serves as a catalyst for future educational outreach efforts in regional secondary schools, and includes the development of summer workshops for secondary teachers who can then introduce their students to the emerging career opportunities available in geospatial technologies.