Recently, Gov. Herbert met with over 20 manufacturing industry leaders at the downtown City Library to share success stories and discuss industry challenges. Attendees also discussed ways the state can foster continued economic growth and success.

The Governor’s Manufacturers Roundtable, organized by GOED’s Urban and Rural Business Services team, was a listening session for the governor and his economic development team to learn about industry challenges and opportunities, and help inform public policy.

The roundtable discussion focused on four outcomes, including a statewide economic impact study, workforce enhancements, optimizing rural incentives and understanding Utah’s manufacturing ecosystem through a cluster initiative.

Ginger Chinn, managing director for urban and rural services at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), facilitated the meeting and said, “Last year Utah was selected to participate in the national Manufacturing Extension Program Manufacturing Policy Academy to enhance and grow manufacturing in the state of Utah. We have been incredibly fortunate to work alongside New Jersey, Kentucky and Puerto Rico to enhance our ecosystem and to learn best practices.” 

In a wide-ranging 90-minute discussion, topics included maintaining manufacturing jobs for future generations, the increase in automation and emerging technologies, tariffs and regulatory processes that continue to pose challenges, as well as maintaining generational family-based jobs in rural Utah.

One topic that received a lot of attention was how to attract young workers to the manufacturing industry. Programs offered by GOED’s Talent Ready Utah were cited as good alternatives to a traditional and often expensive four-year college degree.

“In today’s workforce, you no longer need a four-year degree to be successful. Great jobs are available without incurring the debt. You can have a good career in manufacturing and the trades,” says Val Hale, executive director of GOED. 

The Governor’s Manufacturers Roundtable was the most recent in a series of quarterly meetings coordinated by GOED with executives representing key industries. Past roundtables have focused on Utah’s chambers of commerce, financial services and information technology.