Our Mission on Rural Economic Development

“Utah's economy is thriving. We are committed to fostering economic development throughout the state, ensuring that success extends well beyond the Wasatch Front. .” - Governor Gary R. Herbert

The Story:


     In his 2017 State of the State address, Governor Herbert challenged Utah businesses to create 25,000 jobs throughout rural Utah in the next four years. This initiative brings partners from all corners of the state to engage with rural communities and explore new economic development opportunities.


     The overall goals of the initiative are far reaching and significant. One of these goals is to help communities clear roadblocks that are impeding economic progress, whatever they may be. Not all of Utah’s communities are experiencing the same challenges. One community may be struggling with lack of employment opportunities while another may be suffering from insufficient infrastructure. Locally driven solutions are needed for the unique challenges.


     Governor Herbert spent several months meeting with representatives from each rural county to discuss incentives, grants, funding opportunities, resources, and each county’s strategy to grow and diversify their local economy.


     The governor wanted buy-in from both the public and private sector on the 25k initiative. To get business leaders on board, he met with them and issued a new challenge: Add a rural component to their existing job growth strategy. While hiring people from off the Wasatch Front to work remotely may not have seen realistic to business owners before, it is actually a great way to find skilled workers and provide jobs in areas that need them. Remote employment is becoming significantly more feasible as time goes on, and in many circumstances it is creating greater affordability all around. Rural communities can significantly benefit from this business model. Of course, this isn’t the only solution.


     This year, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development recognized 25 businesses (one for each rural county) with the 2018 Rural Businesses of the Year Award for for outstanding achievement, growth, impact in their community, job creation and innovation. The recipients are:



     Utah is pulling out all the stops to improve the economic health of our rural communities. Governor Herbert is committed to ensuring all communities in Utah witness equitable growth and opportunity. The Herbert administration truly is committed to representing the entire state of Utah.


Frequently Asked Questions:


Q: In what ways can the Utah Government incentivize job growth in rural Utah?

A: There are many ways to incentivize job growth in rural Utah. The state can encourage companies to relocate to or expand in rural communities by providing grants, funding opportunities, resources, and exploring individual communities and their strategies to see if their goals, values, and culture match that of corporate cultures.


Q: What infrastructure is needed, if any, to help the economic development in rural Utah?

A: Technological advancement has created varying degrees of infrastructure need between communities. Some growth might require massive infrastructure investment (like the creation of a data storage facility) while other general employment growth could require little to no infrastructure investment (consider those capable of working from home). Every community and project has unique needs. The state is committed to work with each area as feasible.


Q: Can better educational and vocational opportunities and institutions in this area help the economic development?

A: Utah has a wide selection of renowned educational institutions already dispersed throughout the state, and many of them are located in rural Utah communities. Governor Herbert also declared 2018 the “Year of Technical Education” and he is actively working with vocational and trade institutions to improve access, promotion, enrollment, and career placement.

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