Salt Lake Chamber, DWS and EDCUtah announce new rural development initiative

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The Salt Lake Chamber, Utah Department of Workforce Services and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah) announced that they will be partnering on a new initiative called the Chamber Rural Workforce Network to help further Utah’s rural development. The program was made official when partner officials signed a memorandum of understanding at the Utah Rural Summit held in Cedar City, UT.

“This MOU represents months of work to align the efforts of our three organizations and partners,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “With the tools that both Workforce Services and EDCUtah provide, we will work with the business community to provide more job opportunities for rural workers, including remote jobs. What better way to make this official than to be here today with everyone who contributes to the success of our rural communities.”

Many companies along the Wasatch Front are struggling to find the personnel required to thrive, and yet many rural areas are struggling for employment opportunities. Through a geographical shift, and perhaps a shift in mindset as well, the workforce demands of the Wasatch Front and the employment needs of rural Utah can connect to ease the concerns of both regions. The Chamber Rural Workforce Network’s goal is to fulfill this need.

“We believe the hidden workforce in Utah is in rural Utah,” said Jon Pierpont, executive director of the Department of Workforce Services. “We are committed to supporting companies willing to move jobs to rural Utah and connecting them to rural job seekers. It’s a win-win situation for these communities and employers throughout the state.”

As the largest business association in Utah, the Salt Lake Chamber connects with employers about their needs and interests. Representing significant industries and employers, the Chamber will work with its members, local chambers of commerce, and the business community to understand and promote hiring opportunities within the rural Utah workforce.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services has seen significant success with moving jobs traditionally located along the Wasatch Front to communities in Rural Utah. The Workforce Service community data and job bank are important tools to help connect employers with job seekers.

EDCUtah is doing important work with rural communities and has had several recent successes with projects in both Carbon County and Cedar City. From the Development Ready Communities program to their work with businesses who seek to locate or expand their operations in Utah, EDCUtah is an important part of any effort to increase employment opportunities in rural communities.

“As a statewide organization and a partner with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, EDCUtah looks forward to assisting companies with the data, location information, and contacts with local communities that they need to evaluate a rural Utah expansion project,” said Theresa Foxley, president and CEO of EDCUtah. “To us, this is a core-mission initiative.”

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