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GOED Working To Diversify Utah's Economic Landscape

Funding will be used to help provide affordable housing options in rural Utah
Benjamin Jopen
Funding will be used to help provide affordable housing options in rural Utah

Tech companies and other new businesses have Utah’s urban areas and cities growing at the third-fastest rate in the country, behind Idaho and Nevada. Officials from the governor’s office of economic development are focusing on creating a diverse Utah economy.

Utah’s growing tech companies and other businesses located on the Wasatch Front are getting a lot of attention, but it’s the rural areas that help diversify Utah’s economy.

Rebecca Dilg, the rural community outreach manager for the governor’s office of economic development, is working to provide broadband coverage for Utah’s rural communities.

“It’s almost like saying why was the phone important back was in the 1930s to the rural communities? It’s communication,” Dilg said. “It’s not only nationwide, it’s global. We’re able to have employees, people who live in rural communities who can stay with their families, they can stay on their farms. Yet, they can still have a remote job where they’re connected with companies on the Wasatch Front.”

Ginger Chinn, the managing director of urban and rural business services for GOED said their team is working with lawmakers on legislation such as House Bill 390, rural economic development incentives.

“Pulling jobs off the Wasatch Front into our rural areas, allowing people to work remotely,” Chinn said. “If there are opportunities for companies to have rural presence, we’re encouraging that and working collectively with our stakeholders on making that a reality.”

Building Utah’s rural economies is part of the governor’s 25k Jobs initiative, which aims to add 25,000 additional jobs in rural Utah counties by 2020. Chinn said it’s important not to put all the eggs in one basket. A diverse landscape of economic growth is critical for Utah’s future.

“There are so many of our economic clusters, that it’s so important that we spend equal time on the diversity,” Chinn said.

Both Dilg and Chinn are working with each of the counties in Utah to grow their local economies.