LOGAN – Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox stood on the steps of the Historic Cache County Courthouse Monday afternoon as part of the 25k Jobs Launch Tour. He spoke to the crowd about the challenges of job growth in rural Utah, about Cache County’s specific challenges and the plan moving forward.
Cox has teamed up with World Trade Center Utah in response to Governor Gary Herbert’s challenge to create 25,000 jobs in 25 rural Utah counties during the next four years. The stop in Logan came after Monday morning’s visit to Box Elder County – the first two of 25 taking place this summer.
Cox said the economy in Utah has been doing “tremendously well,” to the point of receiving international attention, but said some counties are still struggling.
“Not every economy is seeing the same success that the Wasatch Front is seeing,” he said.
The purpose of the tour, according to Derek Miller, president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah, is to work closely with local elected officials to learn the specific needs of each area, connect businesses with those looking for jobs and to connect the entrepreneur, job creators and business owners with the resources and help that exists.
“There are all kinds of resources,” Miller said. “Some of them are government, some of them are non-profit, others are private sector. We want to be able to connect these business owners so that that they are aware of the resources that can help them grow and be successful.”
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Cox said that in some economic categories – such as the unemployment rate or the amount of entrepreneurship taking place – Cache County is doing even better than the Wasatch Front, but said it has its own challenges.
“We have a level of underemployment here that is critical,” he said. “While people may have a job it may not be a wage that is enough to take care of their families or make sure they can be successful like they want to.”
He pointed out that each county, like Cache, has its own unique needs, which makes the communication between the state and local government crucial.
“We shouldn’t be telling you what to do, you should be telling us what to do,” he said. “We know you have some transportation issues and we’ve talked about that and we’re trying to help every way we can. Those conversations are really critical.”
Cox encouraged similar conversations between businesses and local government officials.
“So often we have great ideas but we don’t know what everybody else is doing,” he said. “By exchanging that information, by coordinating together, we really can win.”