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Posted 09 Apr 2001   For week ended April 06, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 04Apr01

By Deborah Carl

Utah's Mormon Workforce Is Advantage Leavitt is Promoting

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Utah Governor, Mike Leavitt, isn't taking junket trips to Silicon Valley every month, he's persuading high tech companies to come to Utah. "What if I showed you a place that takes less time to get to by air than it takes to drive across the valley. Where they have an abundance of tech-savvy workers, with a high quality of life, where housing is reasonably priced, where there are already 2,500 technology companies and three major research institutions. Would you be interested?"

Leavitt has also made Mormon resources and values a part of his pitch, telling executives that the state has many returned missionaries that speak foreign languages. He has also made a point of emphasizing the influence of Mormon values on the workforce, saying that the workforce is better-educated than in other states and has a stronger work ethic.

Software maker Novell thinks it's a winning combination, along with Iomega, 3Com, Fairchild Semiconductors International, and Gateway. These high-tech companies, three venture-capital firms, and a prominent Silicon Valley law firm have headquarters or branches in Utah. And more companies are looking to make the move. Intel plans to turn its 150-acre campus in Riverdale into a $500 million research-and-development center that may eventually employ 8,000 people.

So far Intel has been pleased. The first building went up ahead of schedule and under budget. It is also easy to find workers. "Work force is our advantage," Gov. Leavitt said. "No one can change that. You can't put those workers in the pipeline, we have them. We have to educate them, and that's a big job. But it's an irreplaceable resource, and if we can prepare them well, we'll be prosperous." In order to meet that challenge, the legislature passed two measures to produce more engineering graduates and to pay bonuses to science and math teachers.


High-tech discovers Utah
Seattle WA Times (AP) 2Apr01 B4
By Hannah Wolfson: The Associated Press


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