Here in Utah, we’ve felt what it’s like to be the fastest growing state in the nation, to have unprecedented economic growth and experience low unemployment.
However, not all of Utah’s communities are full participants in this economic success. Many counties off the Wasatch Front are experiencing challenges.
Gov. Gary R. Herbert recognized the need to do something to help these communities, including Tooele County. In his 2017 State of the State address, he challenged the private sector to create 25,000 jobs in the 25 counties off of the Wasatch Front over the next four years. The governor asked me to lead Team Utah to determine how to achieve this goal and identify what success would look like. From those meetings, the 25k Jobs initiative and Launch Tour were born.
The 25k Jobs Initiative focuses on helping grow businesses in the 25 counties off the Wasatch Front. While the ultimate goal is to create 25,000 jobs in four years, the initiative does more than that. Not all of these communities are the same, and we realize they all have different challenges. Part of the goal of the 25k initiative is to help communities clear roadblocks that are impeding economic progress, whether that is infrastructure, transportation, seasonal employment, etc.
To launch the initiative, I partnered with Derek B. Miller, president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah. Together, we have teamed up with more than 25 business and employment service providers on a 25k Jobs Launch Tour. A few of the organizations participating include the Utah Department of Workforce Services, Zions Bank, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, USTAR, the Salt Lake Chamber and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
The 25k Jobs Launch Tour will be stopping in Tooele County on Sept. 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Benson Gristmill.
At this family-friendly launch event, you can expect to network and meet with representatives from business, education and government. If you’re a business owner or manager, you can connect with business service providers who can help you find new customers, be more efficient with your time and even help you expand internationally. If you’re a job seeker, you can meet with employment specialists who can help you prepare for, and land, your next job. Activities for all ages and free meals will be provided, so bring your family, coworkers and friends.
For counties struggling with high unemployment and lack of available jobs, the state is trying to arm local companies with the resources to grow/diversify. We are encouraging companies that are located along the Wasatch Front to add a rural component to their expansion strategies. A great success story of a company that did this is HealthEquity.
HealthEquity, a company located in Draper that provides tools for health savings accounts and other health financial services, recently found themselves looking for qualified workers to meet growth needs. HealthEquity’s team realized that these jobs did not have to be located along the Wasatch Front and decided to look for people who could work remotely from rural Utah. HealthEquity’s new hiring initiative resulted in more than 60 permanent, benefited employees in Price, Utah.
This example shows that real change can come from industry. The goal is to find other companies that are able to partner with rural Utah to find innovative solutions to their workforce needs.
We look forward to seeing you at the 25k Jobs Launch Tour here in Tooele County on Sept. 6. Whether you are an entrepreneur, job seeker, employer, community leader or just a resident interested in getting engaged, there will be something for you. Join the effort to elevate our state to even greater heights and make sure all Utahns experience the quality of life they deserve.