How can Utah over the next 10 years come up with 350,000 new jobs that will not only provide employment but pay enough to support a family?

Gov. Mike Leavitt addressed that concern earlier this week when he traveled to Silicon Valley to meet with venture capitalists. Leavitt is determined to use his influence to bring the right kinds of jobs to the Beehive state. It will take more than Leavitt's perseverance, however.Of the $49 billion in venture capital invested in 1999 in the United States, Utah attracted only about $100 million -- a small amount given the state's recognition as a leader in technology development. In addition, of the more than 1 million jobs available, not quite 10 percent provide wages suitable to supporting the average family.

Leavitt is taking the right approach in promoting the state's work force, which is growing at twice the national average. He's also right in urging Utah's students to be well-prepared for what he calls "new economy" jobs. Those communities and states that don't adapt to the changes molded by technology will be left behind the economic curve. Leavitt has challenged Utah's colleges and universities to increase the number of students studying computer sciences and engineering.

He's convinced that companies are more interested in a well-trained work force than they are in tax breaks and other incentives. While that may be, Leavitt and other state leaders should not ignore the value of prudent incentives, which are used by virtually every other state to lure business. They should resolve to use the power of their offices to promote the types of incentives that attract companies willing to provide high-paying, quality employment.

That also means providing an attractive infrastructure so that those investing in the state will feel it's not only a good place to work but to raise families as well. That includes sufficient roads and public transportation, and safe and appealing communities.

Those who reside in Utah know of its many positive qualities, a chief one being its desirability as a place to raise a family. That message needs to resonate with prospective employers.