Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced Aug. 3 that his administration would begin the process of enacting a nonpartisan job creation initiative. Deseret News reported that Herbert aims for the program to bring at least 25,000 jobs to rural areas of the state currently being hit hard by unemployment.
Herbert spoke forcefully about the initiative's necessity at the 30th annual Rural Utah Summit in Cedar City.
"I feel like we have had great discussions, but we are at the crossroads where we actually have to do something," Herbert said, according to Deseret News. "It's time for action, time for doing. The time for talking is long past."
According to the most recent data available from Utah's Department of Workforce Services, the state's unemployment rate is 3.4 percent, just a percentage point less than the U.S. average. However, in rural counties within Utah's southeastern corner like Wayne, Garfield and San Juan, things aren't as positive, with some cracking the 7 percent mark. These regions are to be a primary focus of the governor's initiative.
Deseret News noted that leaders in these counties and the towns within their borders are most concentrated on improving infrastructure to increase these areas' accessibility, and eventually enable the building of new reservoirs for higher-quality water. Herbert acknowledged that he'd work with community leaders to brainstorm constructive solutions.