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Professionals sought to fill Utah jobs

State recruitment drive is especially targeting engineers

Ad insert from the Governor's Office of Economic Development will run this weekend and spotlights recreational opportunities in Utah.
Ad insert from the Governor's Office of Economic Development will run this weekend and spotlights recreational opportunities in Utah.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development gets a lot of publicity for trying to get companies to come to Utah. Now it's trying to get employees, especially engineers, to come to the state.

The Utah Recruitment Initiative will feature advertisements, recruitment trade show appearances, billboards and resume-collection in an effort to help Utah companies find the workers they need in an atmosphere of a tight labor supply.

"I think probably one of the reasons would be because of fast growth in the technology arena," Julianne Grant, communications and public relations manager for Communication Systems-West, said of the state's need for more engineers. CSW is a division of L-3 Communications and has 10 openings despite having hired about 100 engineers during the past two years.

"We've got 4,000 technology companies in Utah, and quite of few of them are very new companies. These kids aren't graduating fast enough, although we have some excellent, excellent schools of engineering in the state. And for us, maybe for some of our technologies, we've needed people with a lot of experience."

GOED's initiative will start with an advertisement in a 24-page Utah tourism insert that will be in newspapers Sunday in several cities, including Boston, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Chicago. The insert ad features a skier heading down a Utah slope, with a headline hailing "Quality Jobs in Utah As Plentiful as the Powder."

GOED also will participate along with private industry at recruitment trade shows nationwide. A flier showing Delicate Arch notes Utah's strong business-climate rankings and says, "It's no wonder we're looking for engineers and other talented professionals and companies to join Utah in going to the next level. The scenery's not bad either."

GOED is asking companies with engineering needs to participate in the initiative, and those that do must complete a participation agreement that can be found at www.goed.utah.gov or by calling 801-538-8743. Participating companies will receive new employee resumes weekly that come in to GOED as a result of the program's efforts.

Jason Perry, GOED's executive director, told the GOED board last week that Utah companies currently have more than 1,000 open engineering positions.

"We have put a lot of things in place to handle those calls and when those resumes come, we have agreements with many companies in the state of Utah that are ready to share those resumes," Perry said. "So, for the first time, we're ready to go with those."

While engineering is the focus of the first effort, resumes from other professionals will be accepted and the initiative could be expanded in the future to focus on specific needs for certain professionals.

The new initiative follows a pilot program late last year. A "Here for the Holidays" campaign featured ads in Wasatch Front newspapers, urging Utah natives now living outside the state to consider returning to their home state for good engineering jobs. GOED received more than 150 resumes.

Grant said L-3 recruits throughout the country and usually finds the engineers it needs, but she said the GOED approach is smart.

"I think they're going the right directions. They've got the UTC (Utah Technology Council) involved and the colleges involved and all of the local companies — whether they are Utah companies or national companies — and they've talked with all of us about what our needs are and how they can best help," she said.

"If you look at areas like California right now and back East with some of the extreme weather, they're going to start looking at Utah and thinking that it's pretty calm. Plus, it's beautiful."


E-mail: bwallace@desnews.com