Adobe Partners with Utah to Nurture Digital Literacy in School Curriculums Across the State

With an ongoing commitment to strengthen digital literacy, Adobe today announced a new program in the state of Utah that will provide students between grades K-12 with universal access to Adobe Creative Cloud.

We live in a time in which the job market is dramatically evolving. To avoid talent shortages in high-demand fields and ensure that Utahns are able to find gainful employment in their home state, schools have an obligation to prepare their students for college and, ultimately, their future careers, regardless of the industry.

As a result, the state of Utah made a multi-million dollar, statewide investment in education technology that will empower schools and students alike to develop digital communication, creative thinking, and problem-solving skills. Together, the Utah Education Network, the Utah State Board of Education, Local Education agencies, and Adobe unveiled Create Utah, an equitable, statewide program that aims to nurture digital literacy and fluency in the curriculum across grades K-12.

“Utah students statewide have the tools to digitally share their amazing stories of growth and imagination. Digital literacy skills, including applications and creativity, lead to greater ownership of student work and engagement,” said Dr. Sydnee Dickson, Utah state superintendent. “We are excited for our students throughout the state to share their story as well as our Utah story, broadening their skills and preparing them to succeed and lead in future endeavors.”

The program will provide all public and charter school educators and students between grades K-12 with complete access to Adobe Creative Cloud, career-relevant, digital tools for creative and persuasive communications, which will help strengthen participation in the classroom and prepare students for their future careers, especially in technical fields across disciplines. A recent study from the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute confirms that employment opportunities in Utah’s technology sector now support one in seven jobs across the state, making it the nation’s second-fastest-growing state market for employment opportunities in tech.

“Create Utah is an unprecedented step forward in education. The program will inspire innovation and allow all students the opportunity to learn and create from anywhere,” said Eric Scholer, a career and technical education teacher at Layton High School in Utah’s Davis School District. “It will also increase collaboration across curriculum areas, equal the playing field for all students to have access to digital tools, and help students to develop skills they can use in the industry which will help them stand out.”

Eric’s school district, Davis, was also involved in the pilot program of the Create Utah implementation. It’s the second-largest in the state and adjacent to the state’s hub for tech jobs — Salt Lake City. With a commitment to keep industry talent home, Eric says the Create Utah program provides an opportunity for graduating students to secure viable job opportunities in their home state.

“My students have used the Adobe products to produce school broadcasts, edit commercials for local businesses, compete in state and national competitions, work in their fields of employment, express their creativity, and more,” Eric said. “Create Utah is a tremendous initiative and will help education in Utah to move forward.”

Greater access remains a significant barrier for schools, especially for those with limited resources. In fact, a 2018 Utah School Technology Inventory study from the Utah Education and Telehealth Network shows that 19% of Utah schools report that mobile devices have been deployed on a 1:1 basis to their students, but only 6% allow students to take these devices home. As digital literacy increasingly becomes a core competency for employment in the modern workplace, Create Utah will empower many K-12 institutions that previously struggled to incorporate digital literacy tools and critical soft skills into their infrastructure and curriculum.

Gaining access to creative tools, such as Adobe Creative Cloud, will open countless possibilities for Utah students of all backgrounds. Early and regular exposure to these creative tools will help ensure that future graduates in the state of Utah can all be digitally literate professionals ready to find success and meaningful work in an ever-changing workplace.