KAYSVILLE—Looking for that perfect job but don’t have the skills? Consider Davis Applied Technology College (DATC).
“Here you get an education to get you into a career field,” said DATC recruiter Earnest Cooper. “Once you get the education you can do basically anything.”
Cooper was overseeing a recent open house at the school for prospective students to introduce them to the programs offered there. “We do one at the beginning of spring semester and one in the fall,” he said. “We have a handful of employers here today because we wanted students to see that these are viable industries to go into.”
Employers from industries such as plumbing, automotive and health care were on hand to explain what they’re looking for in an employee and how it correlates with the DATC classes.
“We want to peak interest in the plumbing industry,” said employer Kyle Jensen. “Probably 60 percent of our employees come from DATC. We have a good partnership with them. We hope to snag some people out of this crowd to be good employees for us. I’ve had two so far who said they’d give me a call – so we’ll cross our fingers.”
Rigg Zeidler was at the open house hoping to find the right career fit. “I’m looking at trade diesel mechanic or welding,” he said. “I’ve always grown up around trade jobs. They seem to be really secure and there can be high pay if you’re willing to work for it.”
Zeidler is currently working in a welding position as an aide but wants to enhance his skills.
“Me personally, I’ve heard lots of good things from friends who have gone here,” he said. “I want to start working for someone else then take their knowledge and make it better to turn it into my own business.”
DATC offers programs from manufacturing to the culinary arts so students have a wide range to choose from.
“The fantastic thing about DATC is the accessibility,” said Melanie Hall, director of marketing and community relations. “The classes are flexible so that people can move toward a career path right away. It’s rigorous but they can often complete a pathway in a year or less and move into a well-paying job.”
Hall said DATC has a strong academic partnership with Weber State University, Utah State University, Salt Lake Community College and other institutions. “Students can apply some of the certificates into those programs,” she said. “The cost savings is huge.”
Some students are also employed in the field as they move through the program, said DATC President Michael Bouwhuis. “We had a student in the plastic injection molding program and we connected him with an employer,” he said. “They said ‘we’ll hire you while you finish school.’ That’s the beauty of the facility. Employers understand the curriculum. Employers are so hungry to get employees.”
In the past, employers sat on the sidelines and just called when they needed to fill a position, Bouwhuis said. “It was like silos of education and employers. We’re breaking down those silos so that we’re manufacturing those together. If 10 people interview for a job and only one is selected, the other nine walked away because they don’t have the skills. If they work with us we can enroll them in school and make them the best employee.”
Bouwhuis said even those with a four-year degree can benefit from the DATC programs. “We’ve got college students who can’t launch,” he said. “If they add the technical component they become the most valuable employee because they’re well rounded. It puts the abstract with the practical.”
Growth in employment has skyrocketed in recent years, according to Bouwhuis. “We’re just trying to have enough people in the pipeline,” he said. “People are even coming in from out of state but I say, ‘let’s take care of our own citizens first.’”
Everyone working at DATC believes the most important thing is to help students succeed. “I’ve been here for a year and a half,” said Cooper. “I’ve seen a single mother who was on the streets within four months have a viable income and be able to take care of her children. I see lives being changed on a daily basis.”