Val Hale discusses economic growth, job opportunities in DSU visit

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Vale Hale presented six economic clusters and focuses regarding growth in Utah and explains how Dixie State University and St. George help the economic increase.  

Val Hale, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, visited DSU Tuesday, Nov. 1, in the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons Building. Hale introduced the plans Utah has for growing economically and how DSU plays a role in that growth. Hale presented the six clusters to a group of approximately 60 students, faculty and staff, and community members. . 

Hale was invited by DSU to speak about the economic issues in Utah. He presented six economic clusters and focus points in Utah which are outdoor recreation, energy, aerospace and defense, life science, software and financial Services.

“It’s one of the great things about the state, that we have a wonderful quality of life; with the top 10 safest Metro areas in the west , St. George is ranked number five,” Hale said. “That is an important thing for people when they look where they want to work and where they want to live.” 

Hale said St. George can take part and increase the growth, and how the community can prepare to double the city and state’s population in coming years.

Mitch Wilkinson, a sophomore finance major from St. George, attended the presentation for some of his classes in business. Wilkinson said he enjoyed the Power Point slide showing high rankings for Utah. These rankings include Utah being highly ranked for No. 1 in Tech job growth in the U.S., workforce quality, travel destinations in 2015, and best state for business. Utah is A+ for small business friendliness and No. 5 in top broadband speeds in the U.S. 

“Val presented another slide showing the highest percentage jobs in Utah and financial services was one of them, and that is what I’m going into, so I thought that was sweet to see and hear about my career,” Wilkinson said. 

Ali Threet, Director of Career Services said this was the first time community members have been invited to corporate night. Threet said this was beneficial for the community and university to continue to be a resource for each other and learn about the economic issues and excitement in Utah. Threet said the community will be invited to more of these meeting in the future.

“There is so much growth going on at our university and in our area, with especially tech companies and health care services,” Threet said. “I think we are being noticed more, and more are looking to relocate to St. George.” 

Hale said the biggest struggle in Utah right now is work force. There are companies that are growing but cannot find workers because unemployment rate is low. St. George needs to work with quality jobs Hal said, so when students graduate, they can step into great jobs and stay here. Keeping the workforce here will help the economy, Hale said. Salary will also rise as St. George strives for good quality jobs, Hale said. 

Viewings of Hale’s presentation can be found in the future on the career center’s website, which will provide information on the six economic clusters.

Threet said as bigger companies come to St. George, DSU will try to create degrees and classes to help prepare and teach students for those companies helping St. George thrive economically.

“If we don’t take care of the growth now and do something to help it, it will make millennials’ [lives] and their children’s [lives] miserable,” Hale said.