How is your business engaged in helping education?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Utah’s economic success has been attributed to a well-qualified and educated workforce. Businesses have recognized that and have been engaging for years. We want to know how yourbusiness engages.

As the Salt Lake Chamber, we have partnered with chambers of commerce and business associations from all over Utah in a movement to strengthen our economy and our business community through improving education–Prosperity 2020.

As a coalition of business people, executives and 21 chambers of commerce across the state, we believe that improving education outcomes is at the heart of our development and opportunity as a state. We believe that building and sustaining the strongest economy in the nation requires innovation, accountability, and investment in education.

Both the Salt Lake Chamber and Prosperity 2020 are interested in understanding how Utah companies are affected by education and also how business people are engaged in building the workforce of tomorrow. We invite you to take just a few minutes of your time to complete this survey:

Your feedback is invaluable as we will use this data to develop Chamber’s policy position and assist in the development of education policy. Thank you for helping us gain a clearer picture of the network of ties between education, the workforce and business.

Responses to the survey will help to increase understanding of these efforts to support the development of Utah’s future workforce. Survey results will allow us to share exemplary efforts with the community. We also want to feature your business in Salt Lake Chamber news outlets such as the Utah Business Report, newsletters, social media and websites.

Again, we’d like to ask you to please take this survey to help us gauge how you are or would like to be involved in education by July 23

The survey is also an opportunity for those who have interest in getting engaged to learn more about the opportunities to impact strategic state goals to improve education outcomes.

We’re all in for education in Utah!

How the 2014 General Session impacted business

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

The Utah business community commends the Utah legislature for another great year for business. The 2014 General Session wrapped up in March, and the newly released Salt Lake Chamber 2014 Legislative Scorecard highlights how the business community’s policy priorities fared.

“Utah’s economy 
is in a spectacular position because
 of the leadership 
of our Governor, Legislature and
 our great business community working together to bring compromise for important progress for our state,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber.

The Salt Lake Chamber Vote website monitored the course of 298 bills that had an impact on business through the legislative session. Through that website tool, more than 9,800 emails were sent to state representatives, asking them to act on policy decisions. Eleven of 13 business community priority bills passed, and the average of “yes” votes on priority bills stood at 83 percent. With a 93 percent passage of supported bills, 2014 was an excellent year for Utah’s business community.

Here’s what the Utah’s Legislature helped accomplish this year:


•  Provided $62 million to public education, increasing the weighted pupil unit by 2.5 percent and
another $62 million to fund 10,300 new students
• Invested toward goal of 66 percent of adults with a postsecondary degree or certificate, providing $50 million to equalize funding and increase capacity in our state’s higher education institutions
• Expanded efforts to reach goals of 90 percent proficiency in reading and math among Utah students, allocating more than $7 million for preschool and early intervention programs for at-risk children, and $20 million to STEM education


• Approved a multi-decade effort to support the development of a convention center hotel, benefiting
the entire state
• Authorized $400,000 in business marketing, corporate recruitment and business expansion efforts, as well as $15 million in tourism marketing
• Addressed critical community issues through investing $100,000 to incentivize employers to hire the homeless
• Tackled issues of panhandling and solicitation around Utah’s highways and sidewalks that negatively impact the ability to conduct business in a safe manner
• Partnered to fund $400,000 for the Your Utah, Your Future quality growth initiative


• Funded a $500,000 air quality education campaign
• Provided $1 million in scientific research to help better understand the causes of air pollution
• Established a $200,000 fund to help small businesses reduce air emissions through new technologies and programs
• Created a $250,000 fund to incentivize the conversion of sole-source wood burning homes to cleaner energy heating
• Addressed mobile emissions through enabling enhanced infrastructure for electric vehicles,
providing tax credits to purchase alternative fuel vehicles and mandating 50 percent of the State’s vehicle fleet to be highly efficient vehicles by 2015


• Jump-started a robust conversation to address both the $11.3 billion funding gap outlined in the 2040 Unified Transportation Plan and the significant need for increased education funding
• Moved toward improving Utah’s air quality and set the stage for further discussions on issues such as Tier 3 fuels and improving statewide transit systems

The 2014 Legislative Scorecard also has a bill-by-bill tally of priority bills and their impacts on Utah business. To see the PDF of the 2014 Legislative Scorecard, click here


Curiosity Unleashed is about more than great jobs

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Editor’s note: Originally published on, written by Prosperity 2020 Chair Alan Hall. 

Last week in collaboration with the Governor, the STEM Action Center and others, STEM-related companies launched a series of videos about opportunity for Utah children and young adults in STEM fields.

A number of STEM jobs are among the highest paying jobs in Utah. The Utah Technology Council (UTC) created a list of “Hot STEM Occupations in Utah,” many of which are in growth areas. The annual median wage of occupations on the list of 50 occupations related to science, technology, engineering and math ranges from $43,000 for support positions to $187,000 in the medical field.

A number of positions on the list have annual median wages in the $70,000-$90,000 range, including such positions as: software developer, medical and health services manager, industrial engineer, electrical engineer, civil engineer, mechanical engineer, database administrator, physical therapist, occupational therapist, physician assistant, and mining engineer. Chemical engineers and petroleum engineers each fall around the $90,000 mark. Positions like computer and information systems managers can be even higher.

It’s one of my passions in life to help create good jobs that enable more people to make a good living and care for their families. STEM careers provide exceptional opportunities. One of our goals at Prosperity 2020 is to help Utah become a top-10 center for these kinds of jobs. It will lift our economy and it will lift our lives.

The business community has rallied around STEM education and expanding opportunities for young people. Our most recent contribution is a series of videos called Curiosity Unleashed.

As important as jobs are, Curiosity Unleashed is about more. It’s about discovery and wonder. It’s about realizing new possibilities, stretching minds, and expanding horizons. It’s about personal growth and the joy of learning and making things better. It’s about the mind, but also about the heart. It’s about fulfillment. It’s about loving to learn and the pull to learn more.

STEM careers allow people to make better life-saving devices, expand the human capacity to organize and create, enrich life, increase comfort, expand capacity, and simply make life better.

As business leaders behind Prosperity 2020, we believe life is about learning and experiencing the wonder of it all. And we believe in the remarkable kids in Utah.

Enjoy Curiosity Unleashed and share it with young people you know who might be a little curious about their futures.

Education Summit promoting Prosperity 2020 & Business Promise

Friday, October 25th, 2013

This week, Ogden/Weber Chamber along with Partners in Education put on the Education Summit in Ogden. Prosperity 2020 chair Alan Hall, an Ogden native, keynoted the event, elaborating on the education movement’s goals for Utah and how we are working to achieve those goals. Hall expressed that he is very impressed by how involved the Weber and Ogden school districts have been in furthering the goals of Prosperity 2020.

One of the things Hall will be working towards is taking Prosperity 2020 to the next level by incorporating statewide action. The Standard Examiner reported:

Hall said he plans to visit every school district, university and trade school across the state to spread his message of the importance of education and how Utah can and should be rising to the top.

“In the 1960s we were third in the nation. Now we are somewhere in the middle. I think we can get back in the top 10,” Hall said of Utah’s education scores.

Ogden/Weber Chamber President and Business Promise chair Dave Hardman said that there has been an uptick in volunteers, but they still would like to see more.

Volunteerism is another key to Prosperity 2020′s goals for education in the state. The Prosperity 2020 Business Promise aims to have 20,200 volunteers in Utah schools by the year 2020. An ambitious goal, but one that can greatly increase positive educational outcomes.

You can read the Standard Examiner’s coverage of the event here:

About Prosperity 2020
The Prosperity 2020 movement, the largest business-led movement ever assembled in Utah to advance educational investment and innovation, is supported by 20 chambers of commerce across the state as well as multiple business associations and individual businesses. This robust group of business leaders has played a critical role in establishing three goals to be achieved by 2020:

·       66 percent of Utah adults with a postsecondary certificate or degree
·       90 percent of elementary students proficient in reading and mathematics
·       STEM Top Ten center for technology jobs and businesses

During the 2013 general legislative session, the Utah Legislature officially adopted the first two goals and formed a committee to chart a path toward meeting them. Prosperity 2020 will continue to play an active role in supporting the completion of these goals. Learn more by visiting

Science: Learning through inquiry

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Ask most employers and they will tell you critical thinking is an important skill for job seekers to have.

While schools don’t have classes specifically called, “Critical Thinking,” there’s one topic that can open up student’s minds to thinking out of the box.

Science, in particular, challenges students to ask questions, gather information, deduce and explain a decision based on their experiments. Science encourages exploration, reflection and application of principles. Essentially, science is a machine requiring critical thinking to find new solutions.

A secure grasp of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education is important for students who want to succeed now and in the future. Many of the high-paying jobs of the 21st Century involve these subjects. Such positions help further the technology of the world, improving the quality of life for many, and lead those who do this kind of work into a prosperous future of their own.

That’s why Prosperity 2020 greatly encourages STEM education and shares a goal with the Utah Legislature to make Utah a top ten tech center. The key to a prosperous future for Utah and people in Utah starts with education.

The infographic, published by the Smithsonian Science Education Center, below goes into more detail about science education and what kind of a difference a STEM education can have.

Learning Science Through Inquiry

by TimothySanders.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


An active role for business in education

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Editor’s note: This post was authored by Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was originally published on the official blog of the U.S. Chamber, You can find the original post here. 

Cracks in the U.S. workforce suggest that our legacy of ever-expanding opportunity and advancement is under threat. Even as unemployment remains high, some 3 million U.S. jobs sit vacant because businesses can’t find qualified workers to fill them. And the current generation of students could be the first in our history to be less educated than their parents.

Fewer Americans are emerging from our public education system with sufficient skills in math, science, reading, communications, and critical thinking. Without that foundation, it’s harder for them to advance their education or careers in our modern economy. Consequently, the United States has fallen to 10th in the world in the percentage of young adults with a college degree—we used to be 1st.

Complicating matters, the jobs of the 21st century are becoming more specialized and technical, requiring more education, advanced training, and sophisticated skills. Approximately 90 percent of the jobs in the fastest-growing occupations require some postsecondary education and training. By 2020, there will be 120 million “high-skilled” and “high-wage” jobs.

To ensure a steady flow of American workers to fill those jobs, we must strengthen U.S. education and job training, aligning those systems with the needs of our economy.

U.S. businesses can and must play a role. The business community continues to advocate for policies that better prepare students to be college and career ready—such as Common Core State Standards—and supports an overhaul of current job training systems. Companies also invest heavily in education, contributing more than $4 billion a year. But we’ve largely left the job of educating our workforce to the educators. Business needs to take a more hands-on approach.

We’ve got to clearly articulate what we need: competitive workers who can write, reason, solve problems, and apply their learning and use their diplomas or degrees to contribute to our economy.

We must help students see a clear connection between their programs of study and tangible opportunities in the labor market. And we need to bring more American students into our businesses through internships and apprenticeships. “Work-linked” learning can enrich their education and help decide career paths.

The bottom line is that the education and competitiveness of our workers affect all of us. It determines the economic strength and global competitiveness of our country. So we’ve got to work together to make sure that we’re improving and investing in one of America’s greatest assets—the U.S. workforce. And if we do that, we’ll be able to protect the great American legacy of opportunity and advancement too.


66 by 2020: The Perfect Vision

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Joaquin Zihuatanejo from CoolSpeak recently presented at the First Annual Multicultural Affairs Youth Leadership Summit. This video was created by Zihuatanejo and Art Hooker. Zihuatanejo wrote this poem for the Governor’s 66 by 2020 initiative and goal shared by Prosperity 2020, the largest business-led movement to increase innovation, investment and accountability in education.


Miss America and the importance of STEM education

Friday, May 10th, 2013

As the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) announced the allocation of some STEM-related funds, Miss America joined business leaders and policy makers in championing the importance of STEM education in a press conference on Friday at the Salt Lake Chamber.

The Utah Legislature appropriated $10 million for a STEM Action Center during the 2013 session. Sophia DeCaro, deputy director of GOED, announced $1.5 million will go to establish a director, staff and board. $5 million will be dedicated to math skill building in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, while $3.5 million will go to juniors and seniors in high school for college math readiness.

“If we don’t give our children an education that provides them an edge, their future jobs will be taken from them by students in China, India or the rest of the world,” said Stan Lockhart of IM Flash and private sector chair for Utah’s STEM Education Initiative. “What can we do to give them an edge? What can we do to teach them the skills that allow them to compete in this digital world we live in? What it comes down to is this: science, technology, engineering and math.”

Mallory Hagan, the reigning Miss America, says she expressed great interest in math and science in middle school thanks to passionate teachers who cared about her success. “But [in high school] we had teachers who were making sure we made good grades on tests but not making sure we could comprehend any of the information. That’s a hard lesson to learn when you’re a freshman in bio-medical science.”

Hagan has since changed her educational path to marketing with a focus in cosmetics and fragrance, but wishes she had learned back in her formative years the “cool” jobs that she could have from pursuing more math and science, like making lipstick and mascara and not just wearing it.

Today, she encourages mentorship as part of an education to show students what kinds of opportunities are available to them, since dissecting frogs and learning about atoms doesn’t give them the whole scope what of what they are able do.

“There are so many kids across the nation who don’t have a favorite subject, who don’t enjoy school, and they are in the first, second and third grade. That’s really disheartening because we want kids to want to learn. We need to catch them early on otherwise there’s no hope for the rest of their education process.”

And a quality education can help make the difference, whether that’s in only in making good grades to get to college or making an actual difference in the world as many STEM-related jobs are able to do.

Business leaders thank lawmakers for investing in education

Friday, March 29th, 2013

With just over a week remaining in the 2013 General Legislative Session, the business community supporting the Prosperity 2020 movement encouraged the Legislature to focus on three unifying elements of a bold, multi-year education agenda.

The Utah State Legislature delivered.

Earlier this week, Randy Shumway, president and CEO of the Cicero Group and vice chair of Prosperity 2020, was a guest on KSL News Radio’s Doug Wright Show to discuss the bills passed to invest in the next generation of Utahns.

“This is a good legislature, a fiscally prudent legislature that, because of their wisdom over the years, we had monies to invest in education this year,” says Shumway. “While other states are hemorrhaging, our state is investing–not just in the short term, but in the long-term for the betterment of our children.”

The original call to action from the business community came by way of a full-page advertisement that ran in both the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News. Shumway also did an interview with Wright the following day explaining why the business community supported education-strengthening legislation.

“The business community is the largest customer of education; we’re the ones hiring all of these graduates,” Shumway told Doug Wright. “So we have a vested interest in the quality of student learning. Education is the key to enduring prosperity. It’s critical to note that it’s not merely an economic motivation. This is a moral prerogative. We owe it to the next generation to give them the highest quality education possible.”

The Legislature did three things to invest in education this session:

-   Passed a joint resolution adopting the twin goals of 90 percent reading and math proficiency in elementary schools, and 66 percent of all Utah adults with a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2020

-   Made strategic investments toward measurable goals

-   Committed to develop a collaborative and united education plan

“We have to create a strategic plan. We spend billions of dollars on public education, K-12 as well as higher education,” says Shumway. “Yet the relevance and depth of what a student and a graduate needs to know and what they need to be able to do is constantly evolving. The state needs a unified plan specifying the objectives, the different audiences we need to serve and how we can best achieve those desired objectives for each demographic at the lowest cost and at the best return on investment. And the Legislature this year committed to focus on and invest in that area, and I believe there will be bills that come of that next year.”

Jobs that require STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) will grow at 17 percent compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations over the next six to seven years. These are jobs that pay 50-75 percent more than other comparable jobs.

“These are creating family-sustaining careers for Utahns,” says Shumway. “We need to establish systemic change that will propel greater innovation, greater accountability and greater investment in the long-term and short-term education needs in our state.”


Prosperity 2020 runs full page ad to thank legislators, sets goals for home stretch

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

In Sunday’s Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, business leaders supporting the Prosperity 2020 movement expressed their thanks for the Legislature’s support of education thus far in the session and laid out three unifying elements of a bold, multi-year education agenda.

This morning, Randy Shumway, president and CEO of the Cicero Group and vice chair of Prosperity 2020, discussed the business community’s recommendations for education priorities with Doug Wright on KSL News Radio.

“The business community is heavily vested in the quality of education in the state,” says Shumway. “We’re the ones hiring all of these graduates. So we decided, let’s demonstrate our appreciation for all that the governor and Legislature are doing, as well as the message of how important education is as we come to the end of this legislative session.”

In the ad, Prosperity 2020 specifically asks the Legislature to:

1. Pass a joint resolution adopting the twin goals of 90 percent reading and math proficiency in elementary schools and 66 percent of adults with a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2020.

2. Make strategic investments toward these measurable goals. As a starting point, and with appreciation for the budget challenges Utah faces, we recommend the following new investments in education: $20 million for higher education’s 66 percent plan, $15 million for a STEM action center, $9 million for additional postsecondary certificates, $20 million for early intervention and children at risk, $1 million for ACT exams for every high school student and full commitment to fund computer-adaptive testing in Utah schools.

3. Commit to the development of a collaborative, 10-year unified education plan that can be adopted by the end of 2014.

“We’ve had a lot of very positive responses–in particular from our legislators saying thank you in particular for delineating what the three priorities ought to be in improving student learning,” says Shumway. “There isn’t a parent, a student, or a business leader out there that does not care about the education of our students. This is our way of saying that during tough times, we have to make priorities, and these are the three things in education on which we ought to be focused.”

At a time when our elected officials face a lot of demand from various groups, Shumway says the business community wanted to thank them for all they do—and all they have consistently done to strengthen the Utah economy over the past few decades.

“We have to remember that we are the best run state in the country for a reason,” he says. “We have a good legislature and a great governor. They are committed to improving education. The business community is simply trying to serve as a catalyst to help all stakeholders focus on the right things to ensure the maximum return on investment in improving student learning.”