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EDCUtah launches effort to help lure ‘out-of-state diverse talent’ to Utah

By Tim Vandenack - | Nov 19, 2021

Image supplied, Economic Development Corp. of Utah

A screen grab from one of a series of videos unveiled Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, by the Economic Development Corp. of Utah. The videos promote Utah as a welcoming place to immigrants, people of color and others to aid in economic development efforts.

SALT LAKE CITY — In a bid to “dispel misperceptions” about Utah, the state’s leading economic development entity has unveiled a campaign to promote Utah as a welcoming place to people of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ community and more.

The Economic Development Corp. of Utah, or EDCUtah, a private, nonprofit group, publicly launched its “We are Utah” initiative in a bid to appeal to outside investors looking to establish operations in the state.

“Our objectives are to provide a stereotype-busting asset for human resource and corporate recruiters to use when engaging with out-of-state diverse talent,” Theresa Foxley, the EDCUtah president and chief executive officer, said in a statement Thursday. “Secondarily, EDCUtah wanted a presentation tool to use with site selectors and corporate executives of companies considering Utah for an expansion project.”

One of the questions local business boosters get when trying to lure investors is about how welcome the state is to racial and ethnic minorities, said Michael O’Malley, the EDCUtah marketing director. EDCUtah convened a meeting of reps involved in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives from an array of large Utah employers and they cited the need for means “to help dispel misperceptions and to welcome diverse talent to Utah,” Foxley said.

In Utah, 75.4% of the population identifies as non-Hispanic whites, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures for 2020. Latinos, accounting for 15.1% of the population, are the next biggest racial or ethnic group.

Image supplied, Economic Development Corp. of Utah

A screen grab from one of a series of videos unveiled Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, by the Economic Development Corp. of Utah. The videos promote Utah as a welcoming place to immigrants, people of color and others to aid in economic development efforts.

A series of three videos were unveiled as part of Thursday’s announcement, which Utah companies are welcome to use in their recruiting efforts. In one, a series of Utahns introduce themselves, one by one.

“I am an immigrant. I’m a first-generation American. I’m an Indian woman. I am Ukrainian,” four of them say in succession. They offer brief biographies of themselves in the 30-second spot.

In another, a series of speakers, including Nikki Walker, director of brand experience and community engagement with American Fork-based software company Domo, tout the diversity and offerings of Utah.

“I’m excited for the changes that are coming. I’m humbled and grateful to be part of those changes and I’m looking forward to welcoming new Utahns to the state to have this fun party with us,” Walker says.

Comcast helped cover the cost of the initiative. It was completed in collaboration with the Center for Economic Opportunity and Belonging, an arm of the EDCUtah Foundation tasked with promoting Utah among companies that “value diversity and inclusion.”

Deneiva Knight, Comcast’s external affairs director in Utah, said promoting diversity has ripple effects. “We know that helping Utah become a more diverse, equitable and inclusive state will help make it a more innovative and successful one,” she said.

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