Observers of the political news media often talk about “echo chambers.” Situations where ideas are reinforced and repeated within a defined system, thus making it challenging for competing ideas or views to be heard or understood.
Sometimes I worry I might get caught in a pro-Utah “echo chamber.” I worry that because of my job I seek out and digest news and information that is positive about Utah, and unconsciously disregard the rest. This week I had a good gut check on that concern when I visited another market with a few state leaders to call on the headquarters of some of our key existing employers.
I sat across the table from the CEOs of major corporations with global operations that include a Utah footprint. The dialogue was open and the CEOs had a forum to talk about what’s working in Utah and what isn’t. By and large, we got great feedback on our workforce and overall business climate. There were a few common issues that we stand ready to address. The primary opportunity to improve is around attracting and retaining technical talent. Several employers suggested that technical talent is becoming increasingly hard to come by in Utah; however, I was impressed and heartened to learn that not only were those employers aware of the Talent Ready Utah and Pathways Programs, but they were also optimistic that as those programs scale up the issues can be addressed.
So yes, we have work to do. But it was reassuring to hear that Utah continues to live up to its stellar reputation amongst key decision makers. And for now, I am confident that the positive information reverberating about Utah is genuine.