Nothing is guaranteed. Life is a balance of risk/reward or sometimes a sense of luck vs. lack. However, when we contribute our full effort and hone our skills, we are creating our own good luck. Application of this principle works in our personal lives, in business, and when the state supports individuals to create a skilled workforce. For this reason, workforce initiatives are one of the key drivers helping to put a floor under our economic progress. They shore up our advancement and continually raise our standards for developing talent in today’s competitive environment.

As I have noted before, we must reconceptualize the meaning of work, the value of employees, and the talent pipeline flowing into our growing economy. Utah is number one in many categories but it will take increased effort to remain the best through the current and unprecedented disruption of how we work. The Salt Lake Chamber is focused on removing barriers to parents in the workplace through child care and tackling the stigma around mental wellness and how these impact our economy. The Chamber offers Leadership Utah to emerging professionals and other initiatives because, without a deep bench of cultivated talent, we can quickly lose momentum and our success could be reversed.

We also understand that in a tight labor market, it is important to retain employees and build with them. The State of Utah has programs in place to develop young talent and pipeline them into career jobs. For example, Talent Ready Utah works with education and industry partners to build a highly skilled workforce with students engaged in career development in high school. From advanced manufacturing to technical training, Utah offers something for anyone who wants to develop new skills or upskill and increase economic mobility. This in turn, reduces unemployment, which doesn’t just hurt the economy, it hurts individuals and families when the bread-winner loses a job.

When I worked in economic development for Governor Huntsman and Governor Herbert, it became obvious that a skilled workforce was essential for attracting and retaining businesses in the state. The companies we sought needed a qualified workforce that could meet their demands for specialized skills. I also learned that workforce initiatives promote innovation and competitiveness for our state, because a skilled workforce can lead to the creation of new industries, attracting investments and promoting economic growth.

In short, workforce initiatives play a crucial role in building our economy by ensuring employees have the skills to be adaptable and competitive in the modern job market. These initiatives promote business investment, economic mobility and innovation. This leads to a prosperous and sustainable economy that further benefits employees, businesses, our communities and the state as a whole. The only way to secure our future is to support the workforce that will build it.