Utah Business Leaders Reveal a Collaborative Five-year Plan to make Utah a Top Ten State in Education

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Plan focuses on reversing Utah’s downward trend in reading, math, high school completion and college degrees to ensure the state’s quality of life

 

Business and community leaders unveiled a five-year plan to elevate Utah into the top ten in U.S. educational systems, at an Academic Excellence conference held at the Grand America Hotel, Tuesday, Oct. 28. Business, education and opinion leaders collaborated on the plan that provides a framework to move Utah forward in reading, math, high school completion and post-high school certificates and degrees.

“Across America, the most vibrant economies put education first, and this five year plan is a big step in that direction in Utah,” said Richard Kendell, former commissioner of Higher Education and Education First board member. “Countless research shows that a person’s earning power and the economic strength of communities are directly tied to academic achievement. Consequently, our children’s education is critical for creating a legacy of prosperity for Utah.”

Utah’s education system is in on a downward trend according to some of Utah’s key academic metrics highlighted at the conference. For example, Utah’s standardized test scores have not fallen, but peer states have innovated and left Utah behind. Utah’s fourth grade students ranked 22nd in the national in math and reading, and eighth grade students ranked 27th in math and 13th in reading.

The plan, derived from extensive collaboration with educators and policymakers, includes the following goals to raise Utah to the top ten in five years:

1) Improve 4th and 8th grade math performance with technology devises, technology-based math assessment tools, endorsements and technology training for teachers, professional learning communities and STEM endorsements for teachers.

2) Improve 4th and 8th grade reading performance with K-3 reading curriculum, professional learning communities, voluntary pre-school, community schools, support for at-risk students and optional full-day kindergarten

3) Increase High School graduation rates with additional counselors and mentors, counselor training, student advocates, academic couches and tutors

4) Increase post-secondary certifications and degrees with rewards for colleges that increase completion rates; access and outreach initiatives for underserved students; programs that meet high-wage, high demand workforce needs; financial aid and scholarships for lower and middle income students

Governor Gary Herbert, businesswoman Gail Miller, and Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie voiced their support for education. Data show that young people who graduate high school and go on to achieve degrees and certifications, are more likely to become leaders, innovators and achievers, and are better prepared to support the growth of crucial business sectors including technology, science, health and medicine. Utah is globally recognized for its pro-business climate and remarkable economic recovery in recent years, but there is room for improvement. Much of Utah’s forecasted job growth is for low-wage jobs, Utah’s GDP has grown, but only modestly; Utah’s household income has stalled for the last 15 years; and of the state’s 20 largest employers, most are government and only four are private sector companies.

“In order to continue to be an economic powerhouse, Utah needs to make strategic investments and reforms,” said Beattie. “That is why we’re making the education of Utah’s children a top priority, by developing this five-year plan.”

The plan calls for an investment in education of $672.5 million over five years, which is described as affordable by collaborators.

The conference also featured compelling success stories by Utah and out-of-state educators who have innovated to boost academic achievement. Sara Krebs, M. Ed., Literacy Coordinator for Cache County School District, described the impact working in small groups can have in helping children achieve reading proficiency rates 10-20 points higher than the state. Gina Butters, principal of Roy High School spoke of the collaborative effort of elementary, junior high and high school staff to help more students graduate from high school. Melissa Miller Kincart, assistant commissioner for outreach access in the Utah System of Higher Ed, described the state’s innovative and nationally-recognized approach to training school counselors to better prepare students for college. David Pattinson, founder and CEO of David Pattinson’s American Future, a non-profit focused on developing solutions to youth unemployment, described his innovations to improve the career planning and development process for youth. And, Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute of Stanford University spoke, of his numerous, highly-cited studies on the effects of class size reduction, high-stakes accountability, value-added assessments of teacher quality and other education-related topics.

Alan Hall, chair of Prosperity 2020 summed up the day by saying, “This conference and five-year plan are a starting point for moving Utah’s academic achievement forward. The plan is a work in progress, and we welcome business owners, elected officials, educators and parents to get the plan, get involved, and get behind this movement to take Utah’s education system to the next level. We cannot be complacent. Our children and our children’s children deserve the very best.”

To read the plan and see video and written highlights of the conference, visit Educationfirstutah.org. To keep up to date on the top ten education movement, follow #UTED2Top10 and @Education1stUT on Twitter.

 

Public Policy – October Update

Monday, October 27th, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Policy – October Update

As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s statewide Chamber, the Salt Lake Chamber leads out on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, here is how we plan to “move the dial” to grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as ways for you to participate for the month of October and beyond.

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Public Policy 

Natalie Gochnour, Associate Dean in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah and chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber, addresses the Utah state budget in her article published on October 3 in the Deseret News. The Salt Lake Chamber will be working over the next few months with key partners, legislators and the Governor’s office to address Utah’s big three — education, transportation and water — which all have significant needs. A growing economy requires investment in human and physical capital. As a high-growth state, Utah must provide Utah’s workforce with the skills of the 21st century and constantly maintain and invest in roads, pipelines and other infrastructure. It costs a lot of money to stay in front of the curve.

In addition, the Salt Lake Chamber’s executive board will be reviewing and approving the 2015 policy positions in the coming months. The public policy guide serves as the platform for the business community’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session, desired action in Washington and other key community issues. You can find the 2014 Public Policy Guide here.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Energy and MineralsFall Energy Trip (Oct. 21-22) 

The next Energy Mineral Task Force meeting will be held November 12th from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m.

Last week the Salt Lake Chamber and Utah Office of Energy participated in the 2014 Fall Energy Excursion into Utah’s coal country and southeastern energy producing counties. The one-night, two-day excursion built on the success of previous excursions to the Uinta Basin (Fall 2013) and Milford/Beaver (Spring 2014). A report of this successful trip will be at the upcoming Task Force meeting.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Prosperity 2020

On Tuesday, October 28, Prosperity 2020 and Education First will announce a 5-year plan to take Utah’s education to the top ten by 2020. The plan is the result of collaboration over the past few years with education stakeholders and will serve as a starting point for a long-term state plan to improve education outcomes in Utah.

Key drivers of performance have been identified in discussions at the Governor’s Commission on Educational Excellence, the Legislative Education Task Force chaired by Senate and House leadership, Legislative education committees, in focus groups with superintendents, principals, teachers and others, and elsewhere.

The plan will be announced publicly at the AcademicXL conference to a select group of 300 leaders in education, government, businesses and parents. Details will be shared through social media throughout the morning.

Review the plan and sign up to support education by following prosperity2020.com. Tune in on October 28, 8:30 a.m. to noon to follow the discussion.

Please contact Allyson Bell at abell@slchamber.com or Jana Scott jscott@prosperity2020.com for information.

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Natural Resources Business Council

The Natural Resource Business Council represents an inclusive approach to multiple sectors of Utah’s economy. The Council is the guiding body for the water, energy and minerals, and outdoor recreation and tourism task forces.

Every other month, we meet as a group of four-task forces and then in the off months each task force meets independently. This not only drives unity, but helps the Chamber maximize its staff resources and alleviate conflicts and silos.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com. 

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Clean Air: 4th Annual Clean Air Summit Scheduled for Early December

The Next Clean Air Task Force meeting will be held November 4th.

This month the Clean Air Task Force met with the Natural Resources Business Council to discuss Envision Utah’s Clean Air Action Team Policy recommendations. The recommendations include actions related to Tier 3 fuels and vehicles, addressing wood burning, investing in public and active transportation, adopting a rule to require supplies to sell only ultra-low NOx water heaters and adjusting new building codes to promote energy efficiency. The Chamber is currently in support of several recommendations, but is not endorsing or adopting all the recommendations at this time. In addition, the Clean Air Task Force heard from Representative Becky Edwards to discuss legislation regarding the state’s air quality regulatory powers. Additionally, the Task Force will begin work on the second Inversion Mitigation Effort, through which we encourage the business community to do what they can to reduce emissions during our winter inversion season.  The Task Force will continue to develop an agenda for the 4th Annual Clean Air Summit scheduled for December 4, 2014.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Ryan Evans at (801) 328-5063 or REvans@slchamber.com.

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Water: Water Task Force

The next Water Task Force meeting will be held November 20th.

Natalie Gochnour, Associate Dean in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah and chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber, spoke at the Utah Water Law Conference about the future of Utah. The conference included keynote speakers Tage Flint, CEO of Weber Basin Water Conservancy District and Warren H. Peterson Vice President of Farmland Reserve. Water conservation remains a critical issue for the state. As we enter the 2015 legislative session it is important to make water a continual priority.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Outdoor Recreation & Tourism

The Outdoor Recreation Office has been working on new policy initiatives. The first concerns HB 133, which established priorities for opening and maintaining Utah’s national monuments, national forests and national recreation areas during fiscal emergencies. The second initiative is to advocate new legislation to fund backcountry rescues. New legislation would establish a secondary source of funding for the existing search and rescue programs. Additonally, a voluntary search and rescue card could be purchased by individuals or families. Utah has suffered heavy financial burdens from search and rescue assignments and the SAR cards would provide an insurance against costs of rescue within the state. Colorado and New Hampshire have implemented similar programs. It is important to continue to promote best practices to help overcome issues within the outdoor recreation industry.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Jesse Dean at (801) 328-5045 or jesse@downtownslc.org.

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Utah Transportation Coalition: Unified Plan Needs a Unified Front to Fund Transportation

The Utah Transportation Coalition will be holding their next executive committee meeting on November 13th.

Later this fall the Utah Transportation Coalition will be unveiling their public education campaign to communicate the value of transportation in local business communities. Last week the Utah Transportation Coalition hosted a roundtable discussion with former New York City Transportation Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Kahn, at the Salt Lake City Chamber. We’re excited to announce that the Utah Transportation Coalition Chairman, David R. Golden, was invited to speak at a Colorado Transportation Summit at request of the Colorado Department of Transportation. In addition, H. David Burton has stepped down as co-chair of the Utah Transportation Coalition because of his recent appointment as Chair of Utah Transit Authority; we deeply appreciate H. David Burton’s leadership and contributions to the coalition during his role as chair.

For more details visit www.utahtransportation.org or contact Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com. 

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Downtown Alliance: Downtown Still Rising

Downtown property owners met with Salt Lake City planning staff to discuss the Downtown Master Plan after it received a favorable recommendation for the Salt Lake City Planning Commission. The Master Plan is intended to be a 25-year vision and implementation plan that will guide future growth and development downtown. Property owners voiced several concerns to the city over the regulatory nature of some of the visioning principle,s as well as the lack of a cohesive economic development strategy that will help to define downtown’s future as the regional center for culture, commerce and entertainment. The plan and its subsequent recommendations from the business community, are set to be reviewed before being adopted by the Salt Lake City Council in November.

For more information on the Downtown Master Plan, please visit downtownplanslc.com. If you are interested in learning more please contact Director of Urban Development, Jesse Dean, at jesse@downtownslc.org.

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Health System Reform 

The next Health System Reform Task Force meeting will be held November 20th.

The Health System Reform Task Force hosted a casual breakfast discussion with 4th District Congressional Candidates Mia Love (R) and Doug Owens (D). Both candidates addressed their views on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Immigration Reform Efforts, Federal Transportation Efforts and Federal Regulations. Expect more updates from the Task Force in the upcoming weeks. In the most recent meeting, the Health Systems Reform Task force addressed Governor Herbert’s Healthy Utah report. The Governor has decided to not call a special session for the plan, and instead wait for the legislature to address it in the upcoming 2015 session. An article about the Governor’s plan can be seen here.

If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at (801) 558-9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

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International: Utah Global Forum

World Trade Center Utah is hosting Rural Utah International Business Forum on November 3rd from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in Vernal. The Forum will discuss opportunities for rural businesses to participate in the global economy and the process for international expansion and exporting. Registration is free, but is limited to 90 attendees. Register online here.

For questions regarding the Utah Global Forum please visit: http://www.utahglobalforum.com/.

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A Proposed Plan of Action for Education in Utah

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, Prosperity 2020 and Education First will announce the 5-year plan to take Utah’s education levels back to being in the top ten.

Utah has a robust pro-business climate that has rebounded nicely from the recession, and that is recognized nationally by multiple authorities. Yet the overall health of Utah’s economy still shows signs of weakness that, if not addressed, spell trouble for Utah’s ability to sustain long-term prosperity for Utah’s communities and families. The good news is that virtually every one of these ailments can be remedied through targeted investments in education, investments that will produce a tremendous economic return as they increase both K-12 and post-secondary achievement for Utah residents.

Did you know that Utah no longer ranks as high as it once did in key educational metrics such as third grade reading and math? The plan being presented to the Governor and Legislator will be a turning point for Utah’s falling trend of educational performance. It is the result of collaboration over the past four years with business leaders and education stakeholders statewide and will serve as a starting point for a long-term state plan to energize education.

Across America today, the most vibrant, economically healthy cities and states are those with the highest numbers of college graduates, while those on economic life support encompass substantially smaller populations of adults with postsecondary credentials. Recent research by Stanford economics professor Rebecca Diamond found that economic regions producing large numbers of college graduates attract high-skill, high-wage jobs, that then attract even more college graduates, lifestyle amenities, and high-wage employment in an escalating pattern that rapidly builds the region’s quality of life. Of course, the reverse is also true; those regions that fail to prioritize high levels of college completion face an economic death spiral of low educational attainment, loss of jobs and personal income, housing blight, and urban decay.

The plan will be announced publicly at the Academic XL Conference of over 300 leaders in education, government, business and to parents from across the state.

To learn more, visit prosperity2020.com and educationfirstutah.org. Leave your comments and sign up to support education in Utah. We need your input on this plan! During the conference you can follow the conversation by following #UTED2Top10 from 8:30 to noon.

 

Public Policy – September Update

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s statewide Chamber, the Salt Lake Chamber leads out on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, here is how we plan to “move the dial” to grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as ways for you to participate for the month of September and beyond.

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Public Policy 

The Policy Chairs meeting gathered to discuss legislative priorities and to plan the upcoming 2015 public policy guide. The Chamber’s intent remains to enhance major initiatives including economic development, infrastructure, environment and Utah’s workforce, thereby ensuring Utah’s has the premier business climate in the country.

The public policy guide serves as the platform for the business community’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session, desired action in Washington and other key community issues. You can find the 2014 Public Policy Guide here.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Energy and Minerals: Fall Energy Trip (Oct. 21-22) 

The next meeting will be with the Natural Resources Business Council on October 8th from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m.

The Salt Lake Chamber and Utah Office of Energy are excited to announce the 2014 Fall Energy Excursion, October 21-22, 2014, to Utah’s coal country and southeastern energy producing counties. The one-night, two-day excursion builds upon the success of previous excursions to the Uinta Basin (Fall 2013) and Milford/Beaver (Spring 2014). Join us as we head south to explore, engage and learn in southeastern Utah. Register here.

The September task force meeting included an excellent presentation from Alan Westenskow from the Utah Economic Council and Zions Bank Public Finance on the energy economies of Uintah and Duchene counties, an update from Tammie Lucero from Uintah County Economic Development, the high-level details regarding our Fall Energy Excursion, and an update from the Office of Energy Development on their office including, recent new staff additions, partnering with Chamber on the aforementioned trip, a new electric vehicle website they will be rolling out in the near future, videos of energy jobs and opportunities and developing an economic impact for energy on Utah’s economy. We will have updates in the near future on the committee, including meeting dates and ways to participate.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Prosperity 2020:

The U.S Chamber Foundation released the Leaders and Laggards report which ranks Utah in the middle of the pack. Of particular interest are Utah’s low scores in student proficiency and postsecondary and workforce readiness. Prosperity 2020 is actively engaged in improving education outcomes and building a better workforce.

A five-year plan has been drafted to take Utah to the top ten in education in the country. These policies have been outlined in detail in a plan being developed by Prosperity 2020 and Education First, with input from major education stakeholders throughout the state. We’d like your feedback on the draft. If your organization would like a presentation on the plan’s objectives, please contact us.

The plan will be rolled out at AcademicXL, a TED-style conference in Salt Lake City in October presenting innovative practices to make Utah a leader in education. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Please contact Allyson Bell at abell@slchamber.com or Jana Scott jscott@prosperity2020.com for information.

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Natural Resources Business Council:

Every other month, we meet as a group of four-task forces and then in the off months each task force meets independently. This not only drives unity, but helps the Chamber maximize its staff resources and alleviate conflicts and silos.

In addition to driving fidelity, the Council provides a unique venue for the Chamber to speak on stewardship and sustainability and position the business community as a leader on energy issues. The next Natural Resources business council will be on October 8th from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. and will focus on natural resources principles.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com. 

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Regulation: Solutions Summit a Success 

Thursday, August 21, 2014 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM

We partnered with Sen. Mike Lee, Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah League of Cities and Towns, the Utah Association of Counties and over 200 attendees for the Utah Solutions Summit on Thursday, August 21, 2014  to discuss the vast and uncertain regulatory burden under which businesses are required to comply and develop solutions to move our economy forward.

The agenda included discussion with business leaders and government offi­cials about regulation compliance and the relationship between regulation and economic development. This event included featured keynote speakers U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

If you have any other questions or comments regarding regulation solutions, please reach out to Justin Jones at (801) 558-9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

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Clean Air: 4th Annual Clean Air Summit Scheduled for Early December

Over the next few months the Clean Air Task Force will spend time identifying potential legislative issues that will help clean our air including Tier 3 Fuels and Vehicles, incentives for cleaner burning autos and the revised State Implementation Plan developed to bring Utah into compliance with federal air quality standards.  Additionally, the Task Force will begin work on the second Inversion Mitigation Effort, through which we encourage the business community to do what they can to reduce emissions during our winter inversion season.  The Task Force will also start developing an agenda for the 4th Annual Clean Air Summit scheduled for early December.

The Chamber is also pleased to announce that Chris Lee, President of Deseret Digital Media, has accepted the role of Chair of the Clean Air Task Force.  Chris takes over for Jonathan Johnson who led the task force for approximately four years.  We appreciate the many years of leadership Jonathan provided and look forward to having Chris help guide our clean air efforts.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Ryan Evans at (801) 328-5063.

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Water: Water Task Force Spinning Up

The next water task force meeting will be held September 18th 2014. The Salt Lake Chamber’s first water task force will focus on best practices for business in water conservation and management. It will also look at current and future infrastructure needs. The Chamber launched its efforts in water last month with “Utah | Water Is Your Business” and will continue to meet in the coming months to address this critical issue for business.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Outdoor Recreation & Tourism:

Working with Office of Outdoor Recreation and EDC Utah, we will host a series of discussions over the coming months to promote best practices, build partnerships and discuss issues facing the Outdoor Recreation and Tourism community.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Jesse Dean at (801) 328-5045 or  jesse@downtownslc.org.

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Utah Transportation Coalition: Unified Plan Needs a Unified Front to Fund Transportation

This past month Lane Beattie spoke before the Utah League of Cities and Towns Fall Conference concerning funding Utah’s transportation infrastructure, specifically the local roads in our cities and towns.

With Utah’s anticipated population growth, it’s important to maintain a quality transportation system that benefits the entire business community. The 2040 Unified Transportation plan is a comprehensive approach that provides the outcomes required to successfully support our communities. Additionally, the Coalition is working on a comprehensive communications plan with details to be released in the near future.

In addition, The Utah Transportation Coalition and Parsons Brinkerhoff will be hosting an Aerotroplis forum on October 16th to discuss the importance of the connection between Salt Lake City International Airport and Utah’s economy. The airport just recently broke ground on a 10-year terminal rebuild and released a report detailing the economic impact of the airport to Utah’s economy.

For more details visit www.utahtransportation.org or contact Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com. 

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Downtown Alliance: Downtown Still Rising

Construction continues at unprecedented levels in downtown Salt Lake City, pushing the urban center to new heights with the following signature projects well underway:

George and Dolores Eccles Theater On Main 

Construction for the $117 million project began in Spring 2014. This 2,500 seat, Broadway-style theater is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016 and will be designed to enhance the culture and economic vitality of the region by attracting first-run touring Broadway shows, as well as other national and local music, comedy and family entertainment acts.

111 South Main 

This Class A office development is currently under construction just north of the Eccles Theater on Main Street. The building will feature 440,452 sq. ft. of office space and be integrated with the Eccles Theater project in terms of functionality and design.

300 South Protected Bike Lanes

Salt Lake City Transportation began its protected bike lane project along 300 South between 300 West and 600 East in August with an estimated completion in October. These protected bike lanes are part of the city’s initiative to create low stress urban bikeways connecting neighborhoods to the heart of downtown and will be similar to bike lanes in other major cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Minneapolis.

If you are interested in learning more about the Downtown Alliance’s initiatives or if you have any questions, please contact Jesse Dean, Director of Urban Development at jesse@downtownslc.org.

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Health System Reform: Meet the Candidates Breakfast and Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary and the State of Utah have reached a conceptual deal regarding the Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan. As you know, the Governor has been working hard to close a gap in coverage for people who do not qualify for Medicaid and also fall under the coverage of health exchanges required by the Affordable Care Act. The Chamber has been working closely with the Utah Hospital Association, Chamber members and others to gather support for the Governor’s effort.

We will continue to be an avid supporter with other key partners in urging thoughtful leadership on this key priority. As an example, the Chamber’s Health System Reform task force chairs, Andrew Croshaw and Marc Bennett, did a great job lending the Chamber’s support by testifying to the Legislature’s Healthcare Reform Task Force, urging their support for the Governor’s plan. There will be more details to come in terms of the final agreement for a waiver, as well as next steps for Legislative approval here in Utah, but this update is good news. The Health System Reform Task Force will have a “Meet the Candidates” breakfast on September 25, in lieu of a task force meeting.

If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at (801) 558-9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

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International: Utah Global Forum

Utah Global Forum – Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014

On September 24, 2014, Utah will host the first of its kind Global Forum. Topics will include Building a Global Brand; Doing Business in Europe, Mexico, Canada, and China; Shared Stories of Success from Utah Companies Abroad; Financing Your Global Expansion; and Global Operational Efficiency Through Sound Legal, Tax and Accounting Practices. The agenda for the event has been release and features a number of world-renowned business and trade experts. If you’re thinking about exporting, looking to invest in one of the fastest growing economies in the United States or seeking inspiration to take your business to the next level, you won’t want to miss out.

For questions regarding the Utah Global Forum please visit: http://www.utahglobalforum.com/.

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Public Policy – August Update

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s statewide chamber, the Salt Lake Chamber leads out on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, here is how we plan to “move the dial” to grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as ways for you to participate for the month of August and beyond.

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Public Policy

We are excited to announce that Michael Merrill has been promoted to Director of Public Policy for the Salt Lake Chamber. Michael will continue to focus and enhance the Chamber’s major initiatives, including economic development, infrastructure, the environment, Utah’s workforce and ensuring Utah’s premier business climate.

Additionally, Jesse Dean has been promoted to Director of Urban Development for the Downtown Alliance, focusing on economic development and urban policies in Salt Lake City’s downtown.

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Prosperity 2020

Prosperity 2020 is actively engaged in ensuring that our state has a world-class workforce and supporting education in our state. This includes recently speaking out in favor of extending the No Child Left Behind waiver.

In addition to these efforts, Prosperity 2020is looking to share how businesses are engaged in supporting education. Please take five minutes to complete this short survey to provide insight for the policymakers and others who ask what industry is saying about education’s impact on their companies.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Allyson Bell at 801-328-5076 or abell@prosperity2020.com.

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Natural Resources Business Council: August meeting focused on public lands initiative

Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 | 7:30 – 9:00 AM

The Natural Resource Business Council represents an inclusive approach to multiple sectors of Utah’s economy. The Council is the guiding body for the water,  energy and minerals, clean air, and outdoor recreation and tourism task forces.

This month’s meeting will focus on updates from the Chamber’s efforts in these areas, as well as an update from Rep. Rob Bishop on the Public Lands Initiative.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at 801.558.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Regulation: Chamber partnering on Utah Solutions Summit regarding regulation

Thursday, Aug.21, 2014 | 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM

We are partnering with Sen. Mike Lee, Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah League of Cities and Towns, and the Utah Association of Counties for the Utah Solutions Summit on Thursday, August 21, 2014 to discuss the vast and uncertain regulatory burden under which businesses are required to comply and develop solutions to move our economy forward.

The agenda includes discussions with business leaders and government offi­cials about regulation compliance as well as the relationship between regulation and economic development. Included featured keynote speakers: U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at 801.558.9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

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Clean Air: 6th Annual Clear the Air Challenge another success

We all have a role in keeping our air clean and the 2014 Clear the Air Challenge was another great success exhibiting Utahns and Utah businesses’ willingness to drive smarter and drive less. More than 6,800 participants eliminated over 140,000 single-occupancy vehicles trips, averting more than 2 million miles traveled.

The winners of this year’s challenge will be announced on August 16 at 9:00 a.m. at the Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park on the main stage. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Ryan Evans at 801.328.5063.

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Water: Chamber announces new effort to address Utah’s water challenges

As part of the “Utah | Water Is Your Business” week, the Salt Lake Chamber announced a co-chair for the newly launched water committee: Rob Moore, president of Big-D Construction. The Chamber water committee will focus on best practices for business in water conservation and management, and will also look at current and future infrastructure needs. To learn more, please visit “Utah | Water Is Your Business.” You can also follow the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #UTbiz4H2O.

We will have updates in the very near future on the committee including meeting dates and ways to participate. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at 801.558.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Utah Transportation Coalition: Mountain transportation and Aerotroplis

Save the Date – Aerotroplis Guest Speaker – Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014

This past month Utah Transportation Coalition and Mountain Accord hosted business and community leaders to discuss the future of transportation in Utah’s Central Wasatch. Mountain transportation is one of the key transportation objectives for Utah’s business community because of its possible impact on our economy, quality of life, and opportunities to strengthen and enhance our natural environment.

The Salt Lake Chamber and Utah Transportation Coalition support these efforts to explore transportation options in the Wasatch Mountains that increase accessibility, are a net-positive for the environment, encourage transit, enhance Utah’s global brand, and pass a rigorous environmental and local process. For more information about the Mountain Accord Process, please visit www.mountainaccord.com.

Addtionally, the Utah Transportation Coalition and Parsons Brinkerhoff will be hosting an Aerotroplis forum on October 16 to discuss the importance of the connection between Salt Lake City International Airport and Utah’s economy. The airport just recently broke ground on a 10-year terminal rebuild and released a report detailing the economic impact of the airport.

For more details, visit www.utahtransportation.org or contact Michael Merrill at 801.558.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

*   *   *

Energy: 2014 Uintah Basin Energy Summit

Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 – Vernal

Utah’s rich and diverse energy sector is one key reason behind our state’s thriving economy. This September key stakeholders will gather in one of Utah’s richest energy regions. The Uintah Basin Energy Summit is a complement to the Governor’s Energy Summit that focuses directly on economic growth and energy development in the Uintah Basin. The summit will be in held in Vernal, Utah, on September 4, 2014.

This region is extremely important to Utah’s broader business community. Most recently, the Utah State Chamber, the coordinating entity for chambers of commerce throughout Utah, held its annual summer meeting in the Uintah Basin. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at 801.558-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

*   *   *

Outdoor Recreation and Tourism: 2014 Summer Outdoor Retailer and Economic Club of Utah

Outdoor recreation and tourism represent robust business sectors that benefit both urban and rural Utah. We view efforts to enhance these industries as vital to economic development. This past month we held an industry focus group and will continue to engage Utah’s outdoor products and services companies.

As part of that effort, the Salt Lake Chamber visited the 2014 Summer Outdoor Retailer show and connected with key industry leaders. Additionally, the Chamber is supporting the Economic Club of Utah’s Summer Meeting, which is focusing on Utah’s outdoor economy.

We are also excited about our continued partnership with the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation and Office of Tourism, Global Branding and Film as we look to grow these industries.

*   *   *

Downtown Alliance: Downtown still rising

In July 2014, the Downtown Alliance released the “2014 State of Downtown Economic Benchmark Report” from 2013 through first quarter 2014. This report tells a story of a constantly evolving and improving regional center for culture, commerce and entertainment. Economic activity and tax revenues continue to recover from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, with retail sales reaching over $800 million in eating, drinking, clothing department and other downtown retail categories. Over the last year, dozens of new office buildings, residential developments, hotels, theaters and public structures either broke ground or opened within 1.08 square mile Central Business District. For more information and a full copy of this report, please click here.

Looking forward to 2014-2015, there are several opportunities for improvement within the Central Business District. The Downtown Alliance will focus on policies and programs that impact the following areas:

- Redevelopment in downtown’s burgeoning entrepreneurial and transit-oriented neighborhood, the Depot District.
- Nightlife economy and creating a dynamic and diverse downtown that is welcoming to locals and visitors alike.
- Continued residential development to create a 24/7 urban center welcome to all ages, backgrounds and income levels.
- Development-friendly codes and zoning in order to remain a regional competitor for urban infill.

If you are interested in learning more about the Downtown Alliance’s initiatives or have any questions, please contact Director of Urban Development Jesse Dean at jesse@downtownslc.org.

*   *   *

Health System Reform: Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan

Health System Reform Task Force meeting – Thursday, Aug.28, 2014

We are actively engaged in a number of issues in regards to health care and the business community. This includes the discussions around the Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan, the continued implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) and its impact on businesses, as well as directly engaging Utah’s employers as the largest payer in health care spending.

The Health System Reform Task Force will be meeting on August 28. If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at 801.558.9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

*   *   *

International: Utah Global Forum

Utah Global Forum – Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014

On September 24, 2014, Utah will host the first of its kind Global Forum. Topics will include Building a Global Brand; Doing Business in Europe, Mexico, Canada and China; Shared Stories of Success from Utah Companies Abroad; Financing Your Global Expansion; and Global Operational Efficiency Through Sound Legal, Tax and Accounting Practices. The agenda for the event has been released and features a number of world-renowned business and trade experts.

If you’re thinking about exporting, looking to invest in one of the fastest growing economies in the United States or seeking inspiration to take your business to the next level, you won’t want to miss out on this forum.

For questions regarding the Utah Global Forum, please visit www.utahglobalforum.com.

 

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: http://bit.ly/P2020Survey

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 23http://bit.ly/P2020Survey

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!

Public Policy – July Update

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s statewide Chamber, the Salt Lake Chamber leads out on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, here is how we plan to “move the dial” to grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as ways for you to participate.

Public Policy

The Salt Lake Chamber has named Rich Walje, President and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power as Public Policy Chair starting July 1, 2014. The Policy Chair is an Executive Board member which guides the Chamber’s various public policy initiatives and acts as a liaison with the Executive Board on policy.

“The Salt Lake Chamber fills an essential role in our community as the voice of business on public policy issues. Apart from narrowly-focused industry associations, the Chamber gives a voice to broad-based business issues in the community and on the Hill,” said Walje.

Additionally, Chris Gamvroulas, President Ivory Development and Ivory Homes, was also named Vice Chair, Public Policy. Walje has set an aggressive agenda for the coming year for improving the chamber’s efforts in public policy and strengthening influence on key policy issues.

The Executive Board is the only policy body of the Salt Lake Chamber responsible for the Chamber’s commercial, industrial, public, legislative and financial policies. The Executive Board consists of members of the Board of Governors and the Downtown Alliance Board of Trustees. All of the Chamber’s extensive policy task forces and committees are advisory to the Executive Board through the Public Policy Chair.

*   *   *

Clean Air

We all have a role in keeping our air clean. Businesses, citizens and government share our roads and breathe the same air. We should all do our part clean our air and the Clear the Air Challenge is perfect opportunity to show that you care about air quality! This statewide Challenge begins on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

1. Remember, it’s all about driving smarter and driving less. Find out how your company and employees can participate at www.cleartheairchallenge.org.

If you have any other questions, concerns or comments about the Clear the Air Challenge, feel free to reach out to Ben Hoyle at 801.328.5056 or bhoyle@slchamber.com.

Also – our next Clean Air Task Force meeting will be Wednesday, August 13, at 7:30-9:00 a.m. with the Chamber’s Natural Resources Business Council. For more information about the task force, please contact Ryan Evans at 801.328.5063 or revans@slchamber.com.

*   *   *

Capitol Club

“The Salt Lake Chamber Capitol Club gives business professionals unrivaled access to Utah’s leaders,” said Dan Harbeke, director public affairs of Union Pacific Railroad. “If you are interested in an inside look to how policy in Utah works, I’d encourage you to join.”

The Capitol Club provides the opportunity to gain professional development in public policy, public affairs and  especially for those interested in the policy issues affecting Utah’s business community. The next Capitol Club event will be Monday, July 16, with the newly appointed executive director of the Utah Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR), Ivy Estabrooke.

If you are interested in participating in Capitol Club contact Michael Merrill at 801-328.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

*   *    *

Regulation

We advocate for simplified and reasonable regulation as well as predictable and certain laws, so rational people can be confident in deploying resources into a productive economy. To that end we are partnering with Sen. Lee, Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah League of Cities and Towns, and the Utah Association of Counties for the Utah Solutions Summit on Thursday, August 21, 2014 to discuss the vast and uncertain regulatory burden under which businesses are required to comply and develop solutions to move our economy forward.

We will have more information about the Solutions Summit, including sponsorship opportunities, in the coming days. If you have any other questions, concerns or comments, feel free to reach out to Justin Jones at 801.558-9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

*   *   *

Water

We invite you to join business and community leaders to discuss the importance of water infrastructure and the impact of water availability on our economy, business environment and economic development efforts, as well as how Utah businesses are making a difference with “Utah: Water is Your Business Week,” which will take place the week of August 4 – 8, 2014. This will include a number of items including the launch of Chamber’s Water Task Force.

We are looking for great stories about how your business is practicing water management and conservation. We invite you to join in sponsoring this great event. For more information and to share your company’s water stories, please contact Michael Merrill at 801-328.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

*   *   *

Prosperity 2020

The Salt Lake Chamber has partnered with chambers of commerce and business associations from all over Utah in a movement called Prosperity 2020 to strengthen our economy by improving education. Prosperity 2020 is currently working towards an Education Forum later this fall as well as working closely with the Legislature’s Education Task Force. The next Prosperity 2020 Founders Council meeting is Monday, August 25 at 1:00-2:30 p.m.

To become involved in Prosperity 2020, please contact Jana Scott at 801-328-5043 or jscott@prosperity2020.com.

Additionally, the Prosperity 2020 Business Promise seeks to deploy 20,200 volunteers into Utah’s school system. If your business is interested in taking a more active role to support education, please contact Julie Johnsson at 801.328.5082 or jjohnsson@slchamber.com.

*   *   *

Utah Transportation Coalition

On June 23, the Utah Transportation Coalition held the 2014 Open House with terrific presentations from UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras, Utah Transit Authority General Manager Michael Allegra, and House Transportation Committee Chair and Interim Transportation Committee Co-Chair Rep. Johnny Anderson. The event is just one of dozens the Utah Transportation Coalition hosts every year to promote continued investment in Utah’s transportation infrastructure. These events are reserved or significantly discounted for Coalition members and include an upcoming Mountain Transportation event that we will have more details on in the coming weeks.

The Coalition is currently looking for new members to collaborate with our partners to make smart and sustainable transportation choices and to secure adequate, stable and long-term funding to support a high quality of life and economic growth in Utah.

If your company is interested in participating, contact Michael Merrill at 801-328.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

*   *   *

Natural Resources Business Council

Our Natural Resources Business Council (Council) is an inclusive approach to multiple sectors of Utah’s economy including the Chamber’s Water, Clean Air, Energy and Minerals, and Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Task Forces. This past month the Council heard presentations on the nexus between transportation and the NRBC, as well as the possibility of developing a Chamber corporate sustainability report.

The next Council meeting will be on Wednesday, August 13 at 7:30-9:00 a.m. For more information, please contact Michael Merrill at 801-328.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

*   *   *

Outdoor Recreation and Tourism

The Salt Lake Chamber held its first Outdoor Recreation and Tourism meeting on June 5 with an industry focus group to better understand the needs of this critical asset to Utah’s economy. The groups discussed challenges with regulation, coordination with our economic development partners and perceptual issues faced by Utah’s tourism industry. We want to thank all of our participants.

The Chamber will be working closely with the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, Office of Tourism Global Branding on a number of events in the coming months and establish an ongoing task force. If you would like to participate in future events, please contact Michael Merrill at 801-328.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

*   *   *

Energy and Minerals

Utah’s rich and diverse energy sector is one key reason behind our state’s thriving economy and the third annual Utah Governor’s Energy Development Summit on June 3-4, 2014, honored that contribution by setting the stage for the sector to continue to power our state’s economy. The Salt Lake Chamber welcomed the opportunity to support the summit. Read more about the summit.

To build on the summit, the Energy and Minerals Task Force meeting on Wednesday, July 9 at 8:00 a.m. will receive a briefing on the Utah Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan from the Office of Energy Development and a presentation on clean energy technology start-ups. For more information, please contact Michael Merrill at 801-328.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

*   *   *

Health System Reform

The Salt Lake Chamber in collaboration the Utah Hospital Association, American Cancer Association, AARP of Utah, Voices for Utah Children and Utah Health Policy Project sponsored a phone and email survey to better understand the public’s sentiment of the Governor’s “Healthy Utah Plan.”

A poll of 623 registered voters in May and June by Dan Jones & Associates found:

• 88 percent favor Herbert’s “Healthy Utah” plan over doing nothing.
• 70 percent prefer Herbert’s plan to a straightforward Medicaid expansion as envisioned by the Affordable Care Act.
• 59 percent say they support or strongly support Herbert’s plan.

The Health System Reform Task Force received a briefing on this polling data at our June 26 meeting and you can read about the results here.

The next Health System Reform task force will be Thursday, August 28, at 8:00 a.m. If you would like to participate in future Health System Reform events, please contact Justin Jones at 801.328.5071 or jjones@slchamber.com.

 

Downtown Alliance

Join the Downtown Alliance on Friday, July 11, for the 2014 State of Downtown, which celebrates our evolving urban center. Downtown is in the midst of a remarkable transformation with new residents, businesses and buildings shaping our urban fabric. This event will highlight these dramatic changes and forecast our future.

Also at the 2014 State of Downtown, the Downtown Alliance will be releasing the 2013 Economic Benchmark Report for downtown Salt Lake City, which presents facts about the downtown economy to stakeholders, property owners, tenants, investors, developers, retailers, brokers, theaters, museums, policy makers and civic leaders. You can read the 2012 report here.

If you would like to participate in future Downtown Alliance events, please contact Jesse Dean at 801-328.5045 or jesse@downtownslc.org.

 *   *   *

International – World Trade Center

Derek Miller, former chief of staff to Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert, has been named president and CEO of the World Trade Center Utah, a licensed and certified member of the World Trade Centers Association, which is headquartered in New York City.

The World Trade Center Utah is strategic partner of the Salt Lake Chamber and you can read more about Derek’s appointment here.

On September 24, 2014, Utah will host the first of its kind Global Forum. Topics will include Building a Global Brand; Doing Business in Europe, Mexico, Canada, and China; Shared Stories of Success from Utah companies abroad; Financing Your Global Expansion; and Global Operational Efficiency Through Sound Legal, Tax and Accounting Practices.

If you’re thinking about exporting, looking to invest in one of the fastest growing economies in the United States or seeking inspiration to take your business to the next level, you won’t want to miss out. Visit wtcutah.com.

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:

STRENGTHENED COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION

•  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

ENHANCED COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY

• 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

ACTED TO IMPROVE AIR QUALITY

• 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

ESTABLISHED PLATFORM FOR FUTURE ACTION

• 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 Prosperity2020.com, 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.

The 2014 Public Policy Guide and business priorities released

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

The Salt Lake Chamber released the business community’s priorities for the upcoming General Legislative Session within the 2014 Public Policy Guide. The Public Policy Guide was presented to the speaker of the House of Representatives Rebecca Lockhart and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser Wednesday morning. The guide outlines the Chamber’s position on policy issues including economic development, education, transportation, water, energy and minerals, clean air, outdoor recreation and tourism, Downtown Rising, immigration, international competitiveness, and small business.

“The 2014 Public Policy Guide is a Chamber publication, but it represents the broad-based support of chambers of commerce across the state as well as other important business associations,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “These are the priorities of Utah’s diverse business sectors from across the state and it’s critical that we speak with one voice.”

View and download the 2014 Public Policy Guide PDF here.

Economic Development 
Economic development and job creation is the cornerstone priority for Utah’s business community. The 2014 Public Policy Guide highlights and supports the “Your Utah, Your Future” quality growth strategy, initiated by Gov. Gary Herbert and Envision Utah, in taking the long-term view on public policy issues. The guide also outlines priorities that will facilitate economic growth and strengthen the economy, including a continued stance against general tax increases not supported by the public, a commitment to eliminating harmful regulation and a collaborative challenge to enhance Utah’s competitiveness through attracting regional corporate headquarters to the state.

“Utah’s economy is extremely well-positioned for continued growth in 2014. The private-sector is set to accomplish the significant goal of creating 150,000 jobs since the recession–more than a year ahead of schedule,” said Natalie Gochnour, chief economist of the Salt Lake Chamber and associate dean of the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business. “However, Utah’s economy faces economic headwinds from our nation’s capital and risks economic hardship if we do not address our education system and transportation infrastructure.”

Prosperity 2020
An educated workforce has a direct correlation with economic prosperity and is a top priority for Utah’s business community. To be globally competitive, Utah must return to a top-10 state in overall education rankings. To meet this challenge, the Chamber outlines key priorities to improve: 4th grade reading scores; 8th grade math scores; high school completion and college and career readiness; innovative teaching in public education; and Utah’s ability to reach 66 percent of Utahns with postsecondary degrees or certificates.

“Investing in our children is the best investment we can make as a community,” said Alan Hall, Chair ofProsperity 2020, founder and co-managing director of Mercato Partners, and chairman of Marketstar. “Facing unprecedented growth, we need to ensure that the largest population of young people in the country will be deployed as the best educated workforce, propelling Utah to enduring prosperity.”

Prosperity 2020 and the business community, through school-business partnerships, can improve school environments and boost outcomes for students. In addition to advocacy, the Utah business community has developed partnerships that support our education system and improve outcomes. The guide highlights how businesses across the state are becoming directly involved in the educational success of Utah’s children through a myriad of partnerships, including tutoring students, volunteering in classrooms, sponsoring activities, advising programs of study, providing internships and funding scholarships.

“Utah’s business leaders understand the urgency of addressing our education challenges,” said Beattie. “As a strong backer of the Prosperity 2020 movement, we are very supportive of the priorities and commitment of the Legislature’s Education Taskforce and will work to make these policies a reality.”

Transportation
Recent completions of major transportation initiatives have made Utah a national example in our commitment to disciplined planning and investment in transportation infrastructure. As one of the fastest growing states in the nation, continued investments are critical to economic growth and accommodating future generations of Utahns.

“Our community continues to rapidly grow,” said H. David Burton, co-chair of the Utah Transportation Coalition.  “We must act now to ensure future generations can enjoy economic prosperity and a high quality of life.”

The guide outlines support for a five-year action plan to fully fund Utah’s prioritized transportation needs identified in Utah’s 2040 Unified Transportation Plan. This action plan includes allowing local governments to address their urgent transportation challenges, investments to improve our transit system, and a call for the expansion and inflation-adjustment of user fees to meet critical needs.

“Investments in transportation infrastructure benefit every aspect of our economy,” said David Golden, co-chair of the Utah Transportation Coalition, and executive vice president and manager of Wells Fargo Commercial Banking Group’s Mountain Division. “The need for investment is critical and requires immediate action in order to sustain and enhance our world-class business and economic climate.”

Natural Resource Business Council
Utah’s spectacular natural environment is a legacy passed to us from preceding generations and is a key component of the state’s economy and high quality of life. The guide is the debut of the Chamber’s Natural Resource Business Council, which represents a comprehensive approach to the state’s natural environment and important sectors of Utah’s economy. The Chamber’s clean air and energy and minerals task forces, as well as two new Chamber initiatives in Water and Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, are organized under the Council.

“Utah’s natural resources provide Utah families with unparalleled life quality and economic opportunities,” said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser. “We owe future generations our best stewardship efforts to ensure they enjoy the same advantages we now enjoy.”

The Natural Resource Business Council priorities include developing a long-term vision on Utah’s water needs, enhancing rural economic development, improving transportation options to Utah’s energy rich Uinta Basin, supporting Utah’s tourism marketing and addressing air quality issues.

Specifically, the guide highlights the Chamber’s support for: the PM2.5 State Implementation Plan, increased transportation funding to improve our transit system and reduce idling on Utah’s roadways, cleaner vehicles, increased efforts for public awareness and research, and incentives to facilitate small businesses’ participation in emission reductions.

“Air quality for many Utahns’ is the state’s most pressing issue,” said Beattie. “Clean air makes good business sense and the Utah business community is committed to being a champion for improving our air quality.”

The 2014 Public Policy guide is available online at www.slchamber.com/PPG2014.

Here are some photos from the event where we presented speaker of the House of Representatives Rebecca Lockhart and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser: