Thousands of Utah students get hands-on experience at STEM Fest

Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) – Thousands of Utah students are trading the classroom for a hands-on, high tech experience.

Utah's high tech industry is flourishing, and the next generation is taking note.

Korben Dawrych and Tyson Lutz are two of the many students who are finding inspiration at STEM Fest, at the South Towne Expo Center.

"It's something that you can really go and expand your knowledge of different things, and really see the future that you can take in your career," said Dawrych.

"I think it's really awesome, where all these kids get different opportunities to learn more about technology, because it's really on the rise," added Lutz.

Here, the lessons are hands on. More than 100 experiences with robotics, virtual reality, under water engineering and more.

"What we are trying to do is; create skill and capabilities in these students to where they are prepared for the future jobs, and one of the skills we think is so critical in that is problem solving,” said Landen Garner with USSynthetic.

And, that is a major need in Utah. Many high tech companies say they don't have the talent they need to fill open positions.

"It's been disappointing to me that we've been having to import engineers into the state of Utah, we have to import engineers into our country. We're not producing enough to meet the demands of our market place," said Governor Gary Herbert, (R) Utah.

Herbert is determined to change that. He says companies are looking to expand, and bring more jobs to Utah.

He's calling on Utah students to embrace the opportunity. He says an emphasis on science, engineering, technology and math now, can launch a bright future.

He says growth in STEM fields is about 25% greater than other areas, and the jobs pay about 30% more.

"Gives them an opportunity to find a good job, and support themselves and their families," said Herbert.

During the two day event, 27,000 students from all across the state will be in attendance.

Tuesday night, STEM Fest is open to the public until 8 o'clock, it's free for all ages.

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