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College plans to utilize expanded vocational center

Sun Advocate publisher

An expansion at Grand County High School in Moab will likely lead to more College of Eastern Utah involvement in vocational and technical programs in the area.

In early December, the Grand County Board of Education picked a contractor to build the vocational center expansion, which the district anticipates will become a partnership with CEU to operate.

The board said the school district will look for alternative funding for the project to help in the costs of construction.

It is anticipated that a lease arrangement with CEU will help the district to repay loans that may be needed to build the facility.

The vision is to have CEU use the space for two types of purposes.

One purpose would be to provide applied technology programs that are needed in the Grand County area.

The other purpose would be to provide a custom fit program in Moab.

The announcement of the project by the school board came before CEU announced budget cuts for the rest of the fiscal year and the possibility of a 15 percent reduction in funding for next year.

How the situation could affect any partnership remains to be seen.

Last year, CEU and the Southeastern Utah Applied Technical College merged. CEU then became the main provider for technical training in southeastern Utah.

Custom fit programs have been running for many years at the campus in Price.

The programs provide the opportunity for private enterprise and community organizations to have input into the type of specific training they need for employees and workplaces. The programs are set up with particular goals and skills that are taugh to meet local needs.

According to Miles Nelson, associate vice president for workforce education at CEU, the program that is planned in Moab will be of great value to the community there.

"We are planning to expand the programs that we are already doing at the Utah State University building in Moab and to add some other things," said Nelson in a phone interview on Tuesday morning. "I think our biggest challenge right now is to find the funding to help with building the facility."

Nelson said once the facility is operational CEU will be offering nursing and medical assistant training, a basic skills lab, a medical coding curriculum, and many kinds of computer application training courses.

"We are now in the concept phase and are working with architects to give us some concept drawings of what the facility will look like," said Nelson.

It is hoped that the facility can be open for business sometime in 2010.

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