By Michael Evans
Finding good-paying jobs is crucial for west Salt Lake City residents, especially since fifteen percent of the population in 84104 and 84116 zip codes lives below the poverty line and the median income per household was only $49,471, according to the 2010 Census.
But, good-paying careers almost always require education beyond high school. It costs time and money to acquire those necessary skills, but Salt Lake Community College is on the scene to help qualified local residents acquire good existing jobs through cash grants and flexible class hours, with the active aid of technical industry partners who need good employees.
Salt Lake Community College opened a massive education and training complex in August of 2018 in Salt Lake City’s industrial northwest quadrant, in the Westpointe community. SLCC’s Westpointe Workforce Training & Education Center, located at 1060 N. Flyer Way between 2200 West and I-215, is geared toward industrial trades that only require a one-year certificate for beginning workers.
West-side residents can take advantage of these opportunities to earn certificates in technical fields by visiting the Westpointe Campus website at www.slcc.edu/westpointe/ and then contacting SLCC representatives who can help with advising and financial aid resources. Technical career training programs can lead to having one steady job, rather than balancing several part-time jobs.
Starting in the 1960s, several High Tech/Aerospace firms built manufacturing plants in Meadowbrook and Westpointe. Among the first were Sperry Corporation, Univac, and Litton Systems, which is still there as Northrop Grumman. Utah’s millionth resident came to work in the Aerospace industry. Hundreds of west side families found employment in high tech industries surrounding the airport, with the active aid of SLCC/Utah Tech.
This area was once semi-rural land, criss-crossed by modest ranches, farms, and canals, while the marshy Jordan delta north toward Davis County was called North Point. Many Rose Park families once rented temporary housing in WWII military barracks at the long-gone “Air Base” along 2200 West.
L3 Technologies took over many of the Sperry/Univac buildings, but they also built more facilities that continue to create jobs for the local community. Boeing runs several factories in and around Westpointe for handling aircraft composites, construction, and cockpit manufacturing for their new McDonnell/Douglas planes, and they sponsor customized training through SLCC’s Westpointe Campus.
High-quality training facilities exist at the Westpointe Campus for manufacturing trades like Injection Molding, Machining, Welding, and a huge area devoted to Diesel Mechanics and Heavy Truck Driving at the north side.
Becton, Dickinson and Company, a major international medical equipment firm, furnished equipment for a lab to teach the basics to students who will later learn the proprietary details of their jobs while working for BD. Other labs feature three stations for lathing, two stations for welding, and plenty of portable tools, lifts, and cranes. Most of the classes are taught Monday through Thursday, with classrooms and desks near the equipment. Blueprint reading and Computer Aided Design are also taught right in the building.
Kenworth Sales Co. donated $400,000 worth of equipment, including trucks and trailers for the enormous truck driving range, complete with a computerized training simulator, made possible by neighboring L3 Technologies.
SLCC’s Diesel Mechanics Team won competitions in Utah State and became National Champions in 2018. They belong to one of only three apprentice programs partnered with Cummins Diesel Corporation, who estimate that there will be 25,000 job openings during the next decade for diesel mechanics, because of retirements and continuing needs for diesel power.
The Program Advisory Committee, an industry-led group, meets with faculty three times per year to discuss present and future needs. Eric Heiser, Applied Technology’s Dean said, “One of the hottest employment fields is Robotics, Automation Controls and Instrumentation.”
A certificate holder can both work in this industry and take the additional classes at the Taylorsville campus to achieve the Associates Degree necessary to gain further advancement. SLCC Associates can seamlessly transfer to Weber State College’s Engineering program for further opportunities.
The certificate program includes Basic Electronics, which involves the rudiments of DC, AC, Analog and Digital Circuits, Electronic Assembly, Test and Measurement. Electro-mechanical assembly technicians are needed, and SLCC teaches the latest techniques and tools of Integrated Circuit soldering and manufacturing to IPCA 610E Standards. This field has historically hired large proportions of women as well as men. Other technical and engineering jobs are open to all sexes and ages.
Salt Lake Community College prides itself on “The Promise” to all its students: if someone qualifies for any amount of public educational aid, like a Pell Grant, than the college will assist that student financially and materially (books, etc.) in achieving the certificate or associate degree they need to achieve their aims.