It is not by chance that Utah is continuously named the best economy in the country – it’s in part thanks to all of you, our members, for engaging in the community and collaborating in the process of making Utah the best state to live, work, learn and play.
Recently at our Annual Meeting, I shared what I believe are the three key elements of our effective and productive chamber.
First is professional development. Not only is the Chamber a gathering place for business leaders and the community, but it is also a place to foster important skills and relationships. One such way we facilitate this is through the Leadership Utah program. This year-long program features monthly, day-long sessions that immerse participants in a given community topic by experts in the field.
Over the past 33 years, more than 1,400 individuals throughout the business community have participated in Leadership Utah. We believe a community’s future is determined by the quality of its public and private sector leadership. This program is dedicated to providing the necessary direction to establish, train and support a network of aware and knowledgeable citizens.
The second key element of the Chamber is our public policy work. In the past year, the Chamber has been involved in numerous issues and demonstrated leadership on everything from rebalancing Utah’s tax structure, enhancing education funding, transforming the governance and funding of our multi-modal transportation system, and building a talented workforce, among others.
This past legislative session we tracked over 200 bills, issued 22 Priority Votes with a success rate of 90%, supported and passed 43 bills, opposed and defeated 11 bills, and had an 83% success rate of our position bills. These are impressive results for small policy and government relations team inside the chamber. But the truth is, our team is quite large when we factor in your support. We could not have seen this success without our dedicated members.
The third element is our mission to champion community prosperity. Together we can impact change that supports communities, builds business and strengthens quality of life for all Utahns.
Despite our state’s economic prosperity, not all communities are enjoying the same fruits of this success the same. While Utah as a whole has the highest job growth and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, in many parts of our state, the story is much different. Our rural counties continue to struggle with high unemployment and low job growth, so low in some areas that the population is dwindling.
When I talk to companies along the Wasatch Front, they tell me their biggest challenge is finding workforce; and when I talk to leaders in rural Utah, their biggest challenge is finding jobs that enable their people to stay within the communities they love. That’s why I am issuing a call to action to all of our members to engage in a simple two-step process: review the job openings you have and are struggling to fill and then identify which of those jobs don’t need to be located on the Wasatch Front. Let us work with you, through our network of chambers of commerce across the state, to identify which communities have the workforce that matches your needs.
If you would like to get involved with our rural outreach efforts, please contact Bailey Bowthorpe at email@example.com to learn more.
Thank you for supporting everything the Chamber is doing, and for all you do to contribute to our success. Please take a look at this year’s Annual Report, which highlights all of our major accomplishments during the 2017-2018 year. Together we will continue to make a difference for Utah!
President and CEO
Salt Lake Chamber