by, Stephanie Carter & Lezlee Whiting

Statistics show just 29 percent of high school graduates in the Uintah Basin go on to attend college within one year of graduation concern the president of Uintah Basin Applied Technology (UBATC).

Numbers, compiled by the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE), in their Annual High School Feedback Report in 2015, show the rate of high school students attending college within a year of graduating in Duchesne, Uintah and Daggett counties to be far lower than the statewide statistics of 42 percent.

UBATC President Aaron Weight said these statistics show it is “time to move the needle” and that is why UBATC has ramped up outreach efforts to recruit high school students to attend UBATC, including hosting a special senior/parent night coming up April 27.

Program areas at UBATC include Office Professional, Culinary Arts, Civil Technology, Medical Assistant, Nursing Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Practical Nursing, CDL Training, Petroleum Technology, Industrial Automation, Auto Technology, Carpentry, Heavy Duty Diesel, Welding and Satellite POST Academy.

“UBATC’s average student is around 26-years-old.” said Weight. “Although we are grateful for being able to serve students of all ages and change many lives, it’s time to encourage students to think about their futures at a younger age. The earlier they start, the more opportunities they have at earlier stages in their lives.”

Tammy Wilkerson, vice president of Program Development said the movement is on to help high school students view UBATC as more than just a great school that had fun electives while they were in high school.

“One of the problems that I think all technology colleges’ face is the fact that younger students may not see us as a college option,” said Wilkerson. “They don’t realize that we may not be a university, but we are still a college. We want to help them view us as a viable option; as either a step in furthering their education, or the place to receive skilled training for their future career.”

The effort to “move the needle” led to the expansion in the marketing department and the hiring of new employee, Marketing Assistant, Kassie Timothy, last July.

“Kassie has been charged with overseeing high school recruitment,” said Bob Peterson, VP of Student Services and Marketing. “Many high school students from across the Uintah Basin have seen texts, e-mails, visits and presentations from her in an effort to spread our message and get students thinking about UBATC now.”

Peterson said Timothy has collected a database of names of high school students who may be interested in pursuing their higher education at UBATC, and makes monthly visits to those students.

“It’s been a privilege to work where we do and be a part of this community, because we have such great support from our high schools,” said Peterson.  “We want to say thank you to those who have helped us, throughout the years, but especially with our stronger recruitment efforts this year. We’ve had teachers, counselors, principals, and many others promote UBATC and talk to students.”

The recruitment efforts all lead up to a special parent/senior night event at the Roosevelt UBATC campus, April 27 at 6 p.m. All Uintah Basin high school seniors and parents are invited to attend.

High school seniors in attendance will have guaranteed scholarship opportunities, providing students meet qualifications. Students and their parents will be able to meet instructors, learn about admission and registration, win prizes, and enjoy a dinner provided by the Culinary Arts Program.

If you would like to attend this free event, please RSVP by April 17 at UBATC.edu, or e-mail Kassie at kassie@ubatc.edu.