Four Community Economic Council (CEC) workshops spanned throughout Carbon County last week as events were hosted in Helper, East Carbon, Wellington and Price City. These meetings took place in a town-hall setting and invited residents of each respective community to attend and learn more about the Community Economic Council, give their input and learn more about volunteering opportunities.
The Community Economic Council was organized by the Carbon County Commission following the study done by Lewis Young Robertson and Burningham and the restructuring of both the Carbon County economic development and tourism departments. There are four committees under the umbrella of the Community Economic Council: Quality of Life, Employee Development and Recruitment, New Business Development and Local Business Expansion. Each committee has co-chairs, who also serve on the council, with members from both the private and public sector.
The first meeting of this four-part series took place in Helper. Carbon County Commissioner Casey Hopes started off the meeting by thanking everyone for attending. “We have a responsibility to come together,” Hopes said. He continued by commenting on the progress that Helper has made in recent years, which should “ripple through all the way to East Carbon.”
As a community, focus has been given to job shortages and economic strategies to help fix some of the pressing matters at hand. Gina Gagon of the Community Economic Council spoke about how there are specific challenges that communities are facing that the council aims to address. This meeting, and the subsequent meetings, will help create a path for the council and the community to take. The opioid crisis was addressed as one of the issues that the council is looking to tackle while another dilemma mentioned was a creating a more qualified workforce.
Utah State University Eastern has been putting forth a helping hand by organizing a broader CTE (career/technical education) program. This program facilitates education for individuals who desire to enter the workforce quickly. The program aims to help those people learn and develop skills that will put them into the workforce with qualified skills in a timely manner.
On Tuesday night, the Community Economic Council made its way to East Carbon. Commissioner Hopes began the evening once again by praising the East Carbon rodeo and its impact on the community. He also expressed how appreciative he was for the high attendance of the meeting. After Hopes welcomed attendees, Gagon took the stage as she had in Helper. They followed the same script as the night before, taking questions and feedback along the way, and concluded with the survey.
Wednesday evening found the council in Wellington. Carbon County Commissioner Larry Jensen was present at the meeting as he welcomed those in attendance and introduced the council. Gagon then took time to explain the four struggles the council is focusing on, including lack of skilled workforce, negative public perception, a high reliance on the energy industry and struggles of local business.
Wellington City Mayor Joan Powell took the floor next, highlighting the importance of growth in the local area, even if that means a shift away from the energy industry.
Those in attendance were then encouraged to fill out the survey provided.
The council rounded out the week in Price City on Thursday evening. Carbon County Commissioner Tony Martines kicked off the workshop, talking about the potential development and growth in Carbon County along with his high hopes for the area.
Gagon then spoke briefly before turning the time over to Price City Mayor Mike Kourianos. He explained the importance of creating a vision for the community and the great potential of Carbon County. Those in attendance finished the workshop by completing the provided survey.
The survey packet with questions was available at each meeting and is also available online. These questions were opinion-based, so each individual could answer in their own way. Everyone present was encouraged to participate and engage in the workshop and survey. The questions varied from how an individual would like to describe their community in the next ten years to where they spend time and money. This survey will help the CEC create the steps to improve local communities.
To take part in the survey online, please click here.