The Utah College of Applied Technology (UCAT) increased student enrollment by more than 4 percent over the previous year, according to data released Friday.
UCAT issued its annual membership hour and headcount report showing positive growth in both indicators. According to the report, student membership hours (amount of time students are enrolled) in the nine UCAT regional campuses increased 4.07 percent during the 2005-06 school year as compared to the previous year. UCAT headcount also increased by 3,507 bringing statewide UCAT student population to 55,562.
"Some of the best news we received is that secondary enrollment is up by 4.5 percent," said Utah College of Applied Technology President Rob Brems. "Last year 12,071 high school students received training at a UCAT campus. That's about one-third the size of last year's high school graduating class." By law, UCAT is charged with providing workforce preparation training to both high school and adult students.
Growth is brisk at some campuses. UCAT's Dixie Applied Technology College campus posted a 26.1 percent growth over the previous year. Dixie Campus President Rich Van Ausdal said, "Our facilities are completely full every evening. Most of our adult students must work during the daytime hours, but are anxious to take our programs at night to improve their work skills." Acting Campus President Scott Snelson indicated similar activity at UCAT's Salt Lake - Tooele Applied Technology College campus. "We're up more than 50,000 membership hours this past year, yet our headcount is similar to the previous year. Our students are staying in our programs longer as they prepare to enter or move up in the workforce."
Student membership hours at UCAT's Mountainland Applied Technology College campus increased more than 60,000 over the previous year. "We are witnessing dramatic growth in our region due to a fast-expanding population. We're also seeing more adult students sign up for our training to get better jobs or move up in their present job," said Campus President Clay Christensen.
A considerable influence on UCAT's growth this past year has been the addition of 'Jobs Now' funding by the Utah State Legislature. "We've focused on training people for good-paying jobs employers haven't been able to fill," said Brems. "This is our niche in higher education and we believe we're stimulating significant economic development by aligning our programs with the needs of Utah's vibrant workforce."
Douglas Holmes, Acting Chairman of the UCAT Board of Trustees is pleased with the report. "As Trustees we're charged with managing precious state resources and providing a return on investment. It's incredible that UCAT can serve almost 60,000 students a year and do it so well."