This is Derek Miller Speaking on Business. Utah’s economy is booming, and our statewide unemployment rate is currently the lowest in the nation. But there are challenges under the surface, which Jevon Gibb, Salt Lake County’s Economic Development Director, is here to discuss.
Salt Lake employers have record numbers of unfilled, high-quality jobs. At the same time, many Salt Lake residents work multiple jobs with low pay and no benefits. Connecting those citizens with higher-paying jobs often requires training, but, in many programs, for every 100 students, 85 drop out.
Solving this problem is potentially expensive, but could a better approach pay for itself? Salt Lake County’s WISE Program is a $10 million effort to answer this question. It will fund a team to assist over 2,000 lower-income residents with career coaching, academic advisement, mental health counseling, and connecting them to childcare, housing, and other services. If these teams succeed, residents will land better-paying jobs, saving taxpayer dollars as they become more independent and less reliant on government help.
Salt Lake County is excited to partner with institutions and community-based organizations to show others how doing better pays for itself.
Funding for Salt Lake County’s effort comes from the American Rescue Plan, which has provided Utah with almost $1.4 billion for similar programs statewide. I’m Derek Miller with the Salt Lake Chamber, Speaking on Business.