Well before anyone had even heard of COVID-19 — not to mention the ripple effects into the economy — businesses were having a hard time finding workers thanks to a tight labor market. In July 2018 there was a record opening (at the time) of 6.7 million jobs. From truck drivers to tech workers, the workforce shortage was widespread.

Fast forward a few years, and the problem persists. Two thirds of Utahns are concerned about the workforce shortage, and fewer Utahns are participating in the economy now than before the pandemic. Still, Utah’s job growth and unemployment numbers show our state as having one of the strongest economies in the nation.

This means there is incredible opportunity both for businesses, and for Utahns — particularly those who have been trapped in a cycle of poverty and are ready to move toward self-sufficiency.

Utah Community Builders, the Salt Lake Chamber’s nonprofit social impact foundation, is launching a new initiative for this exact purpose. The Opportunity Coalition brings together businesses (specifically with workforce shortages in entry level and mid level jobs), Utahns hungry for opportunity, and community partners that provide vital wraparound supports for work, education, and long-term success. 

If your business is struggling to find workers, or if you also care about creating better opportunities for Utahns to escape poverty, here’s what you can do:

  1. Take the Workforce Shortage and Opportunities Survey
  2. Designate someone from your business to participate in the Opportunity Coalition and reach out to Utah Community Builders
  3. Share this information with colleagues in your industry to encourage others to follow your lead

There is a unique opportunity today to pair the desperate need for employees, with the potential workers who are ready to provide a better life for their families. Addressing the workforce shortage and creating stronger avenues of upward mobility for Utahns mutually support one another. Join with us today to make a difference for your business and for the community.