Utah’s economy is prospering. Even in times of recessions and pandemics, the state has remained prosperous, largely because of Utah’s commitment to creating a skilled workforce. Giving employees the skills they need to succeed is not only the most important part of the hiring process, but also a crucial step in strengthening our overall workforce.

Ben Hart, deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, says that it is more important than ever for employers to focus on training and development in the workplace.

“Utah is #1 in the country for GDP growth right now,” Hart said. “How do we channel that growth? We have to make sure our employers have a really good talent pipeline.”

Amanda Tullis, director of the usiness and Economic Division at Davis Technical College, echoed Hart’s thoughts. She explained that a talent pipeline is a group of candidates that are ready and able to fill job positions when they open, continuing to move upwards as they develop more skills.

“I’m a firm believer in acceleration,” Tullis said. “For the pipeline, that means accelerating education, programs, training — you need action at every step.”

Steve King is the business development leader of Apprenti, a tech intermediary for the U.S. Department of Labor that was founded on the principles of acceleration. The organization utilizes the model of apprenticeship to create a quicker path to qualified and certified talent.

“When you think about apprenticeships, you normally think about trades,” said King. “But apprenticeships are everywhere. An apprenticeship just means training people for what a company needs, and it can be part of the hiring solution.”

RizeNext is another organization that seeks to provide solutions for recruiting and retention in the workforce. Trina Limpert, the company’s CEO, explained that through its “Fast Track to Empowerment” initiative, they have been able to help other organizations hire diverse talent, especially women, people of color, and other underserved populations. 

“You have to focus on groups in the frozen middle, people who want upward mobility but don’t know how to get it,” Limpert said. “That means investing in opportunities to invest in employees.” 

When employers take the time to devote resources into not only hiring skilled individuals but also upskilling their existing employees and businesses prosper. In today’s job market, employees aren’t the only ones who have to prove themselves. Companies must show that they are willing to invest in their employees in order to hire the best candidates.

Cyd Tetro, CEO of Brandless, said that no matter what, investing in employees is the best way to invest in business.

“It all comes down to, ‘How do we move our people faster?’” Tullis said. “You have to give them access to more tools. You have to be willing to see your employees grow.”

The Salt Lake Chamber convened business leaders and community advocates on August 12, 2021, for a summit to address critical shortages in the workforce and included a panel conversation on Navigating the Current Training and Development Landscape.