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Strategic Planning for Higher Education in Moab and Grand County
A number of movements have occurred in Moab within the past year that have led to the realization that while higher education is highly valued within the community, there is no concrete plan in place to identify what higher education should look like, where it should be located, or how it should be pursued. The result of this ambiguity led to the organization of a community group, The Heat (Higher Education Action Team), that has taken on the task of developing a strategic plan for the promotion of higher education in Moab and Grand County.
After informal meetings among a number of individuals, it was determined to establish a larger informal HEAT group that would be open to the public and meet monthly to establish direction, delineate goals, and make assignments that might be taken on by a smaller task force (made up of volunteers from the larger group). Both the large HEAT group, and the smaller HEAT taskforce have had broad community representation including: city and county government, higher education, school district, school board, business community, State Trust Lands, and local citizens. The initial HEAT group meeting was in mid-April, followed by a second meeting in late May. The smaller HEAT taskforce has met three additional times in between the larger group meetings to carry out specific assignments.
In creating a strategic plan for higher education in Moab, the general goals of the HEAT group were four-fold: 1. Conduct a three part Community Needs Assessment a) Community profile: demographics, education, economy, and trends b) Local workforce training needs c) Opportunities for attracting students to a destination campus 2. Determine a location for higher education programs 3. Create a conceptual plan for facilities at identified locations 4. Create a plan for resource acquisition
Needs Assessment Summary
After the first general HEAT meeting, the smaller HEAT taskforce accepted the assignment of designing and conducting a Community Needs Assessment. The following information summarizes the results of the Community Needs Assessment and related planning activities.
A) Community Profile
The first step was the development of a community profile based on information already available in the community, at various websites, or other public sources. The following represents a brief summary of the Moab and Grand County profile: Economic Profile a) Wages in 2006 UT State average Grand County average Grand 2006 monthly wages by industry Mining Government Education/Health/Social Service Construction Information Professional & Business Services Financial Services Trade, Trans. & Utilities Manufacturing Other Services Leisure & Hospitality b) Seasonality of jobs July 2007 January 2008 c) Household Income $0-$24,999 $25,000-$74,999 $75,000+ $4,044 $2,824 $2,532 $2,461 $2,333 $2,307 $2,069 $2,062 $2,006 $1,754 $1,194 $2,883 per month, $34,596 per year $2,042 per month, $24,504 per year Grand 2006 labor force by industry Leisure/Hospitality Government Trade/Trans. & Utilities Construction Education/Health/Social Service Financial Services Professional & Business Services Mining Other Services Manufacturing Information # of jobs 5,570 4,113 jobless rate 3.3% 11% 2007 estimate 31.6 50.5 17.9 2012 forecast 29.0 49.2 21.8 32.8% 19.0% 18.4% 7.3% 6.9% 4.9% 4.8% 2.5% 1.5% 1.0% 0.7%
Sources: DWS Grand County Facts; Grand County Demographic and Economic Profile, by Michael Hanni, DWS Regional Economist; Economic Development Corporation of Utah
Demographic Profile County Population: Population Growth 2000-2006: a) Ethnicity 2007 estimate Caucasian Hispanic Population American Indian Other Races 85.9 7.0 3.8 3.3 2012 forecast 85.3 8.0 3.6 3.1 8,999 7% (Utah growth: 14%)
(NOTE: STAFF AT THE MULTI-CULTURAL CENTER BELIEVES THE ACTUAL HISPANIC POPULATION IS SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER. THEY ESTIMATE 11%.) Education Profile Utah Percentage who hold a bachelor’s degree (2000): Trends Analysis for Higher Education Needs A trend analysis was completed that identified high demand jobs and growth industries at the national level (first two columns), and then identified possible ‘best-fit’ degree programs and trade/technical programs that might be most suitable for offering in the unique setting offered by Moab (second two columns). High Demand Jobs Health Care Engineering Biochemistry Biophysics Geology Information Technology Hotel Management Trades Law enforcement Attorneys Accounting, Finance Education Skilled Labor All Service Jobs Management Chefs, Caterers, Food Urban/Environmental Planning Growth Industries Content Creators Energy Related Jobs Eco-Friendly Jobs Leisure Industry Destination Degrees Sustainability Environment & Urban Planning Geology/Biology Leisure Industry Natural Resources Outdoor Rec Mgmt Trade/Tech Health Care Education Skilled Trades Culinary Leisure Industry Criminal Justice Eco-Friendly 26.1% US 24.0% Grand 22.9%
B) Local Workforce Training Needs
In addition to the available data that was collected in the ‘Community Profile’ above; a community survey was designed, pilot-tested, refined, and implemented by the HEAT Taskforce. One hundred four surveys were collected from high school students, and 68 were collected from community members. For the most part, intact convenience samples were utilized for disseminating surveys and collecting data (high school classes, Rotary members, Chamber of Commerce, Builders Association, HEAT members, government agencies, etc.). The result was broad representation from current high school students (approximately 25% of the study body completed a survey), and the community (government agencies, business, philanthropy, etc.). Expected employment growth, and the top three issues in our community, were as follows: Represent Emp Now 871 455 441 Emp 5 yrs 1127 530 586 Top Three Issues in our Community (Their choice, 8 or more responses) (*Related to Higher Education) Cost of Living Diversify the local Economy* Education / Lack of workforce readiness* Fuel Prices Affordable Housing Worker Shortage* 010 008 011 016 037 009
Full time Part time Seasonal Total SUMMARY N= 68
When asked what types of trade, technical, vocational or applied programs were needed to support the current and future workforce in Moab, the following results were obtained: High School Students (N = 104) Trades (33) Culinary Arts (24) Health Care (24) Criminal Justice (22) Community (N = 68) Health Care (31) Culinary (30) Office Support (24) Trades (22)
C) Opportunities for a Destination Campus
When asked what types of four-year and graduate degree programs would attract students to a campus in Moab, the following results were obtained: High School Students (N = 104) Geology / Biology/ Sciences (22) Art and Design (20) Hotel / Motel / Hospitality Mgmt (17) Outdoor Rec Mgmt (13) Community (N = 68) Geology / Biology (36) Natural Resources (39) Outdoor Rec Mgmt (35) Sustainability (26)
Needs Assessment Summary
In general there was significant overlap between the results of the community profile and the community survey. In short (and not surprisingly to anyone who lives here), Moab might be characterized as a tourism based community that is troubled by low-incomes, seasonal employment, lack of affordable housing, and high jobless rates in the off-season which are associated with tourism and the leisure/hospitality industry—the largest employer in Grand County. Higher Education has a role in addressing these issues as Higher Education has been shown to impact: Individual quality of life: vision of life, pride, self-identity, community orientation. Economic development: need-specific training, small business development, economic stability, trained work force, etc. Multiplier effect: dollars spent on higher ed get re-spent in the community (1:2). Greatest Asset: Our youth stay in, or return to, our community.
In answering the question, “what types of post-secondary programs would best meet local training needs, and attract students to a destination campus?” there was considerable consistency between the national trends analysis and the local community survey. In terms of trade and technical programs, the following were consistently mentioned: Health care, skilled trades, and culinary arts. In relation to four-year and graduate degree programs that might attract students to a destination campus, the following were consistently identified: Geology, biology, natural resources, outdoor recreation management, and art and design.
What Should Higher Education in Moab Look Like?
As part of the community ‘educational profile’ it was determined that USU and CEU currently offer the following distance education or on-site programs in Moab: USU Bachelor Accounting Business Computer Science Elementary Education Family Studies Interdisciplinary Studies Psychology Entrepreneurship Mgmt Info Systems Special Education Sociology Master Education English (Technical Writing) Fam & Human Development Computer Science School Counseling Vocational Rehabilitation Special Education CEU Trade and Technical Programs Medical Coding (limited) Construction Management Computer Literacy (limited) Certified Nursing (future) Criminal Justice (Fall 2008)
Based on the community needs assessment, there is an unmet need to expand health care related offerings, skilled trade programs, and culinary arts programs at the trade/technical/applied level. Arrangements have already been made to bring CEU’s criminal justice program to Moab beginning in the fall of 2008. At the four-year and graduate level there is an unmet need for on-site, faculty led programs in natural resources, outdoor recreation management, geology/biology, eco-friendly trades (e.g. environmental planning), environmental studies, and the leisure industry. Many of these degree options can be grouped under the general umbrella of ‘natural resources.’ The expansion of a post-secondary and higher education presence in Moab should be designed to address these identified program needs.
The next question is, “Where should higher education be located in Moab?”
The HEAT Task Force met on June 13th to discuss and evaluate three options in relation to the location of post-secondary programs: (a) stay in the current location at 125 W 200 S, (b) colocate all programs on School District property near the high school, (c) locate some programs near the high school and some programs on USU/SITLA property south of town. Strengths and weaknesses of each option were considered and a general consensus was reached: (a) Stay at the Current Location (Expand to Surrounding Buildings) UP SIDE We are here presently in the complex and one building is owned by USU. There are buildings around us that could potentially become part of a campus. We could possibly build up to a couple of stories on some buildings if needed? We could build equity in the current space and sell / lease space when we move to another location.
DOWN SIDE Our various potential partners would not be able to locate on the current site. The site has limited space. We would be land locked. The space is less attractive than a new campus and may not attract new students. Needs for higher education may lose momentum if we settle on the current location. CONSENSUS The present site could possibly be used as part of a phased growth plan, but the ultimate goal would be to have new facilities to accommodate future needs and the needs of potential partners by creating an attractive destination campus elsewhere.
(b) Have Facilities Located Next To and Around the Current High School Complex
UP SIDE • Close to town • Next to the bike path, students could ride to college • High school students could have ready access to higher ed opportunities • Shared shop space for trades / vocational technical programs – youth during day and adults at night • Avoid duplication of having same programs in two different sites • CEU and GCHS would be able to partnership on programs, thus saving money and meeting community needs • CEU, USU, and GCHS could all be colocated around the school DOWN SIDE • Limited space for the various partners. • Land in and around the HS is either in the flood plain, or store front property that would be prohibitive to buy. • Space would leave potential partners out • When campus grows we would be landlocked
CONSENSUS The best partnership at this location would be between CEU’s vocational and applied programs and the high school. Together they could co-locate and avoid duplication. The master plan for the HS vocational technical building includes the possibility for expansion that might include new programs. Together they could leverage for State support for vocational technical and applied science programs. The site could be used for both HS students and adults for certificate programs and customized training.
(c) Locate Programs on USU / SITLA Property South of Town UPSIDE • USU already has 20 acres of land south of Moab City. • The land borders SITLA land so the size of the campus could be increased. USU and SITLA could work on various land swaps to increase the size of a campus to meet the needs of all partners. • USU could share facilities with other partners in this location, including facilities for research and training opportunities • We would not be limited by size. There is sufficient area to grow a campus and campus programs. • The area could accommodate a variety of services. • CEU/USU/ and select high school programs could be located on this campus • This site gives the community growth potential. Private investors could provide housing.
DOWN SIDE • Distance from town. • Lack of bike/walking paths.
CONSENSUS As a group we do not want to limit the vision of a destination campus located in Moab. We want to see a site that can grow to meet the needs of our community. This site could accommodate the needs of all parties involved; have expansion opportunities for programs and offering from USU / CEU / High School / Government Agencies / Other Providers. 9
Where Should Higher Education in Moab be Located?
It was the general consensus of the HEAT taskforce that to the degree possible, the postsecondary applied, technical, and trade programs needed in Moab (and offered by CEU) should be located in the new vocational building adjacent to the high school. Once the recent bond election passed, which included funding for a new vocational building, discussions between the Grand County School District and CEU (and others) have been initiated to consider and act upon this possibility. The HEAT taskforce was also in general agreement that a destination campus that might include federal agency partners and other educational partners should be pursued on the USU/SITLA property south of town. This site allows for expansion and growth that can accommodate potential partners and that can attract students to Moab.
The next question is, “How should we pursue the development of this type of campus?”
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