Oct. 27, 2011

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Jeff Edwards President's Message
Natalie Gochnour to be Honored; MD4 Summit Takes Place in Lehi

This Saturday Salt Lake Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Economist Natalie Gochnour will recognized at the People of Vision Dinner at the Little America Hotel. Natalie has made major contributions to the State of Utah and is well deserving of this recognition. We extend our congratulations to her for her many accomplishments.

To learn about participating in the People of Vision Dinner go to http://www.friendsforsight.org/events/ .

On another subject, EDCUtah was pleased to be part of the MD4 Utah Summit that took place this week at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. MD4 Utah was created to help catalyze, shape, coordinate and consolidate activities and programs that will help make Utah a major epicenter in the global life science sector. MD4's mission includes recognizing and fostering the disruptive innovation potential of Utah and its companies in the global life science marketplace. The summit focuses on promising technologies, buttressed by innovative business models, and the establishment of new value networks. It also seeks to champion the creation and adoption/utilization of enlightened legislation and regulatory practices.

MD4 also seeks to collaborate with leaders in Utah's education, business and government communities to highlight and encourage the growth of Utah's life science companies and innovation economy on the regional, national and global levels. For more information about MD4 Utah go to http://md4summit.org/index.php/mission.

Today's Economic Review also includes links to many of the ED-related news stories from the past week. As always, if you have comments, suggestions or topics you'd like to see in the Economic Review, please contact us by clicking the "Comments" link on the bottom of this page. Enjoy!

Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards
President and CEO

Feature Story
Customized Training Keeps Utah's Workforce Up to Speed with Business Needs, Aids Economic Growth

During fiscal year 2011 more than 16,000 employees from 1,173 Utah businesses received specialized workforce training through an increasingly popular program called "Custom Fit," which leverages state funds to encourage business expansion.

Such training has become an essential tool for Utah businesses to find and retain the talent they need to sustain their growth.

The Utah College of Applied Technology (UCAT) is the primary source of Custom Fit Training. It administers the program through eight UCAT campuses, Snow College and Utah State University Eastern formerly the College of Eastern Utah). Together, the 10 providers served 1,044 businesses during FY 2011, according to a UCAT report released this week. Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) also administers Custom Fit Training funds and reports that during FY 2011 it served 129 businesses with Custom Fit Training.

Investing in Workforce Development
Recognizing that workforce development is essential to maintain and grow Utah's economy, the state legislature created the visionary Custom Fit Training program 25 years ago. Today Custom Fit is a mainstay in helping Utah businesses remain relevant and competitive in the global marketplace. Further, because of the regional scope of the applied technology colleges and coverage by Snow College, USU Eastern and SLCC, businesses across the entire state have the opportunity to engage their workers in Custom Fit Training.

Melanie Hall, marketing manager for SLCC's School of Professional and Economic Development, and Shannon Strickland, manager of Custom Fit Training and Short Term Intensive Training at SLCC, call Custom Fit "Utah's best kept secret" because so many businesses are surprised when they learn that it is available. Truth be told, the secret is out. Custom Fit Training is so popular among Utah businesses there is never enough money in the program to meet the growing demand for training. In FY 2011 UCAT received a little more than $2.8 million in Custom Fit Training funds, which it divided among the eight applied technology colleges, Snow College and USU Eastern. The 10 schools then raised an additional $1.6 million in company contributions, for a total of $4.4 million expended on Custom Fit Training. (Salt Lake Community College also received Custom Fit Training funds, which it administered separately from the funds appropriated to UCAT.) Generally, a business seeking Custom Fit Training is expected to pay 40% to 50% of the cost, while the remainder is paid through the Custom Fit funds allocated to the schools.

Because of the increasing demand, UCAT President Robert Brems says he will petition the 2012 legislature to increase the amount of money it appropriates to the Custom Fit program. "The demand has been so high, many of our institutions have already committed their entire allotment of FY 2012 Custom Fit money and we are only about four months into the year," he explains. Demand is also skyrocketing for Custom Fit training through SLCC. Strickland says SLCC assisted 66 companies and over 800 students in the first quarter of this fiscal year.

Customized Training
Brems says the Custom Fit program is unique because the schools are able to customize the training they provide to meet the specific needs of the businesses they serve. Generally, the first step for the school is to complete a needs analysis, through which it identifies what training the business needs and how to coordinate the training effort.

"This is going to the employer and figuring out exactly what training the employer's workforce needs on a short term basis. Custom Fit is especially beneficial during the down economy, when funds are tight and training dollars might be allocated elsewhere by a business," he adds.

SLCC recently used Custom Fit Training to customize an existing electronics technician certification program in the School of Applied Technology to meet the workforce needs of L-3 Communications West. SLCC and L-3 are working together to create a "University of Manufacturing" that could one day turn into a standalone program offered by the school. SLCC has assisted many other Utah businesses with their workforce training needs as well.

Training in Action
In Ogden, Alanna Posell, trainer for Cornerstone Nutritional Labs, says Custom Fit training through the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College enabled the company to broaden the type of training courses it is able to provide. "Using the Custom Fit program saves Cornerstone money, which allows us to provide more training to our employees," she says.

Meanwhile, the Dixie Applied Technology College in St. George was able to assist Blue Bunny Ice Cream with a Custom Fit program wherein 58 employees received a combined 1,063 hours of lean manufacturing training. Custom Fit funds paid for $28,759 of the training, while Blue Bunny paid $14,380.

In Tremonton, the Bridgerland Applied Technology College used Custom Fit funds to tailor the ATC's Fire and Rescue Services Program and train more than 40 Procter & Gamble employees in fire safety skills and incident command techniques. The employees received a combined 1,352 hours of training at a cost of $17,713. Procter & Gamble paid $6,640 for that training, while Custom Fit funds paid $11,073.

The requirements to qualify for Custom Fit Training are not stringent. Generally, the business must be a for-profit company and the workers to receive training must be employees of the company. Further, the business must be prepared to pay between 40%-50% of the training cost. The exact cost and requirements of the training program are usually negotiated between the school providing the training and the business.

EDCUtah President & CEO Jeff Edwards notes that Custom Fit training is not only important for keeping the state's workforce skills up to speed with the hiring needs of local businesses, but also for recruiting new businesses to the state. "Having higher education institutions that are nimble enough to quickly customize training for the needs of incoming businesses is a major factor in our business recruitment success," he explains.


Nov. 1
CoreNet Global's Greater Salt Lake Chapter presents "Corporate Expansion in Utah," 4-6 p.m., Oracle 9350 South 150 East, Suite 600, Sandy. RSVP to saltlakecity@corenetglobal.org.

Nov. 1-3
Governor Gary R. Herbert leads trade mission to Canada

Nov. 8
4th Annual Women in International Business Conference, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (SLCC Miller Campus, Karen Gail Miller Conference Center, 9750 South 300 West, Sandy) $20. Lunch provided. RSVP REQUIRED.

Nov. 10
Community Dialogue on Social Enterprise 9-10:30 a.m. (Founders Room, Zions Bank, One South Main Street, Salt Lake City). Sponsored by The Community Foundation of Utah, Morgan Stanley Bank, N.A. and Zions Bank. RSVP here.

Nov. 11
Social Commerce Exchange,6-9 p.m. (SLCC Miller Free Enterprise Center, 9750 South 300 West). Email socialcommerceexchange@gmail.com for more details.

Nov. 16-17
Utah Renewable Energy Business Summit (Salt Palace Convention Center)

Dec. 14
Save the Date! EDCUtah Annual Holiday Open House (EDCUtah Office)

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The EDCUtah Economic Review is a weekly publication of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. It is distributed to EDCUtah partners and selected other government and civic organizations interested in Utah's economic development.

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Newsletter Archive


In the News

Draper OKs eBay's development plans
Online auction house eBay won approval for its plans to build in the city's transit-oriented district.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

City Creek project coming along
Watching the retractable roof close over City Creek Center gave the distinct impression that this place will definitely be something special.
(Deseret News) (Salt Lake Tribune) (Utah Policy)

4th Annual Women in International Business Conference: November 8, 2011
For those women already in the international business arena and those interested in becoming engaged in the exciting world of global business, this conference is an opportunity to expand and reconnect with your network as we discuss how to negotiate and conduct successful transactions in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas.
(Utah Pulse)

Three buildings going up at BDO
The Boyer Company is constructing three buildings within Business Depot Ogden to meet the needs of firms looking at establishing a larger presence in the bustling industrial park.
(Standard Examiner)

University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business rises to 33 in U.S. in Financial Times EMBA Rankings
The Executive MBA Program at the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business has climbed to No. 33 nationally on the 2011 Financial Times list of leading Executive MBA programs and is the only Utah school ranked in the top 100 this year.

Guv touts economic plan to Realtors
Gov. Gary Herbert assured Park City real estate agents Thursday that he knows what they're going through and he's trying to help. A former broker, Herbert reminded a ballroom full of agents at Canyons how difficult it was to be in the industry during Utah's recession in the 1980s.
(Standard Examiner)

Final Spots Still Open for Larry Ellison Keynote; Technology Celebration at Nov. 4 UTC Hall of Fame
Utah leaders have the unique opportunity to hear one of the world's top executives, Oracle CEO & Founder Larry Ellison, deliver the keynote at The Utah Technology Council (UTC) Hall of Fame Celebration the evening of Nov. 4 at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.
(Utah Pulse)

Syringa Networks Utah expansion improves telecommunication options for businesses
Syringa Networks, a regional provider of high-speed fiber optic services, continues its network expansion efforts in Utah. By reinvesting and expanding its infrastructure, the company is creating opportunities for Utah businesses to improve their network services and capacity.

Venture capital investment slips in Utah
Utah business owners who wanted to expand and grow their companies during the first nine months of this year had a harder time finding the venture capital they needed than a year ago.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Westminster hosts symposium on entrepreneurship and venture capital
Westminster is pleased to present the fall symposium "Capitalizing on the Idea: A Symposium on Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital" hosted by Delta Mu Delta on Oct. 26, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. in the Gore School of Business Auditorium.
(Utah PUlse)

Economy slowing development of Layton WinCo
The empty field on the southwest corner of Gentile Street and Fort Lane Village will not be changing anytime soon.
(Standard Examiner)

Survey: Utah ski resorts earn high marks
The most widely recognized survey of North America's top ski resorts is out, and once again, Utah resorts are featured prominently on the list.
(Standard Examiner)

PushButton Summit Pushes the Right Digital Media Buttons
The diversity of Utah's digital media industry cluster was on display when a wide range of students, game developers, educators, government leaders, and industry veterans attended the PushButton Summit hosted by Grow Utah Ventures Oct. 13-14.
(Utah Pulse)

Utah expands our European network
October 7, 2011, the Italy Utah Cooperation Center signed a Letter of Intent for partnership and cooperation with the World Trade Center Utah. This agreement aims to actively promote business and cultural exchange and cooperation between Italy and Utah.
(Utah Pulse)

Digital media publisher's CEO plans to double workforce in Ogden
A company that produces news and reviews reaching more than 25 million Internet visitors has landed a $33 million investment that will allow it to double its local workforce.
(Standard Examiner)

Utah company funds air quality and nutrition research at Utah State University
There are more than 100 days each year with poor air quality in Cache Valley, Utah. Poor air quality impacts health by limiting lung function and by weakening defenses against illness; children and the elderly are at higher risk.
(USU Press Release)

Salt Lake City airport passes over local taxis for out-of-state companies
The Salt Lake City International Airport on Tuesday passed over two longtime Utah taxicab companies, awarding contracts for on-demand services to two out-of-state ground-transportation firms.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Confidence in economy off in Utah, nationally
In Utah and the rest of the country, consumer confidence in the economy isn't getting better.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

County looks to sell Murray land for hotel
A Marriott hotel could become part of Murray's skyline, built partially on land now functioning as a parking lot for the Salt Lake County Ice Center.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Who is driving Utah's Future?
The Community Foundation of Utah announced today the 2011 class of the "Enlightened Fifty" or E-5-0. This program recognizes individuals who are a driving force in improving Utah's future.
(Utah Pulse)