The Salt Lake Chamber advocates for strong education and workforce programs by promoting rigorous educational standards and effective job training systems, all with a goal to preserve the strength of Utah’s greatest economic resource: its workforce. The new economic landscape is one where skill gaps are present and unemployment is extremely low. A current unemployment rate of 2.1%, among the lowest in the nation, brings its own inherent challenges. The need for an educated and skilled workforce to meet the demands of our growing economy is felt acutely by business leaders across the state.
Utah’s current job growth rate exceeds the unemployment rate, with more available jobs than workers seeking employment. This misalignment is due, in part, to federal money, which constrained workforce participation, coupled with attrition and employees rotating out of industries to seek new opportunities with training and skills development. Therefore, the need for targeted reskilling or upskilling programs remains so that employees can return to the workforce. Utah’s business community has always recognized the importance of quality education to build a talented workforce and support a strong economy for our state’s future. The shifting of the labor market landscape from the pandemic provides an opportunity to retrain and cement our growth for the next decade. The focus on training and retaining the best people with the necessary skills to support innovation, competitiveness and growth remains a pivotal issue for the Salt Lake Chamber.
Workforce Legislative Priorities
- We support the rights of individual employers to determine the appropriate policies that allow them to maintain a safe workplace, including the ability to enforce masks and/or vaccinations.
- We support policies that connect displaced workers with training and jobs and advocate for policies that enable employers to promote training and retraining to navigate the economic landscape, including incentivizing more effective and efficient partnerships between education and workforce systems.
- We support statewide, industry-specific technical and vocational training investment to include employer-led earn and learn opportunities, including apprenticeships. Additionally, we support competency-based education, micro-credentialing and licensing efforts that promote economic opportunity.
- We support the State’s Returnship Initiative and advocate for industry, government and education to come together and help individuals who want to re-engage in the economy find meaningful professional opportunities.
Education Legislative Priorities
- We support education funding that addresses the appropriate levels to support students, educators and leaders.
- We support a plan to expand optional full-day kindergarten to every student seeking access. We support access to high-quality early childhood programs designed to improve learning outcomes.
- We advocate for improved educator compensation for Utah schools to attract and retain the most qualified talent.
- We advocate for improved transparency to empower students, parents and policymakers to make informed decisions.
- We support investments in making seismically unsound buildings earthquake-resilient to significantly limit the danger to tens of thousands of Utah children.