State of Utah Awarded for Workforce Services’ Intergenerational Poverty Initiative

Workforce Service honored with two awards for innovative initiatives within its workforce development system

Today the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) presented the Utah Department of Workforce Services with the State Excellence Award for Leadership (SEAL) to honor the State of Utah’s ongoing and innovative efforts in addressing intergenerational poverty. The SEAL award was established to honor a specific state for their innovative solution or initiative aimed at significant improvement of a societal challenge.

“Our goal is to reduce the number of Utah families caught up in a generational cycle of poverty,” said Jon Pierpont, executive director of Workforce Services. “This award honors the countless state, county and local public servants who have embarked with us on this long-term initiative to see that every Utah family can access the tools and resources they need to improve their quality of life and become economically stable.” 

At its 80th annual national conference in Oklahoma City, NASWA recognized Workforce Services’ efforts in leading a multi-state agency initiative to address intergenerational poverty — in which two or more successive generations of a family continue in the cycle of poverty — by aligning state agencies’ data sharing and research with local communities most impacted by this issue.

“Utah’s extensive and substantial efforts to address intergenerational poverty are uniquely innovative and definitely deserving of NASWA’s SEAL award,” said Scott Sanders, executive director of NASWA. “Other states would be well served to take a long, hard look at Workforce Services’ approach at addressing this extremely intricate societal barrier.”

Additionally, NASWA today presented Melisa Stark, program manager for Workforce Services, with the prestigious Eagle award for taking the lead in cutting-edge programs designed to align education with the needs of industries in need of skilled, qualified workers — a challenge resulting from Utah’s healthy, growing economy and tight labor market. This year, her work with the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership and the Career Pathways programs has resulted in 25 educational institution and industry recipients receiving more than $3.5 million in grants to help build training programs based on industry needs.