Our Economic Development Workforce Development Manager Jake Maxwell was able to attend the Salt Lake Chamber’s ‘Workforce Summit’ and shares his thoughts from the event and how Salt Lake City is shifting primary focus to our workforce. Read on and as always, we’d love to hear your feedback.

Under the new leadership of the State of Utah, Spencer Cox, his appointees, and specialized commissions have begun work to tackle some very important topics, the most profound being to remove barriers. Remove barriers to education access, education costs, occupational licensing, and the list goes on. After attending the Salt Lake Chamber Workforce Summit last Thursday, I left encouraged by the following objectives to “remove barriers” for those who have had difficulty with access to opportunities in this state:

  • Scholarships and outreach to adults with partial degrees
  • Introducing “micro credentials” and placing emphasis on competency-based training so the consumer gets more just-in-time skills relevant to their career
  • Removing obstacles in Occupational Licensing, such as some criminal background requirements
  • Emphasis on all modes of training, such as apprenticeships
  • More resources toward expungement of low-level offenses
  • A commission set to focus on “systemic, not optical changes” to workforce and education
  • Working with employers and education to create clearer signals and language of what skills and qualifications should look like.
Photo credit: Salt Lake Chamber — Key highlights from #WorkforceSummitSLC: 1. Removing workplace barriers. 2. Accelerating opportunity up the talent pipeline. 3. Fostering a culture that respects employee values and diversity.

Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development has shifted from mere economic development (jobs, square footage, capital investment) to a hyper focus on our workforce, particularly on equity of opportunity, increasing career mobility and wages of all residents and spreading the success of Utahs hot economy so each resident has a fair shot of benefiting. We feel this can start to be accomplished by:

  • Investing in quality early childhood infrastructure, capacity, and access
  • Investment in adult learners to increase skills and career mobility
  • Engaging high wage, high growth industries such as life sciences and healthcare innovation to increase modes of entry for our most underserved communities.

So long as the State of Utah leadership remains committed to the necessary policy and system changes that will be required to accomplish their stated goals, combined with our initiatives and investments, we believe Salt Lake City can more quickly become the most desirable place in the state for anyone to prosper.

Thanks, Jake!

Whether it’s enhancing workforce opportunities, finding mentors, or creating programs with government agencies, Salt Lake City can help local businesses owners and their employees build a bright future for themselves and their families. Need more resources? Reach out to us at ed@slcgov.com.