Representatives of Utah's computer and telecommunications industries have announced they are forming an association to help further the efforts of the Utah Information Technologies Industry Development Task Force.
The announcement was hailed by Gov. Norm Bangerter as the first result of the task force he created in the fall of 1989 to find ways to boost the economic impact of those industries."It's exciting to see that this report has already resulted in such a positive step toward strengthening Utah's already strong information technology industry," the governor said.
"The formation of this association means that valuable partnerships will be formed between all aspects of Utah's computer and telecommunications industry in a way that we hope will promote continued growth for all of the businesses involved," he said.
The report identified areas where competitors in the information technologies industry could cooperate, including helping to establish training programs for both new and current employees.
Sen. Ronald Ockey, R-Salt Lake, who served as co-chairman of the task force, said a $50,000 appropriation will be sought from the Legislature to cover the costs of starting the organization.
Ockey said it is anticipated the dues and contributions from the industry members will soon make the association self-supporting. The state has already spent $50,000 on a consultant for the task force.
The task force's report was presented to the governor Wednesday at a press conference where the announcement of the formation of the Utah Information Technology Association was made.
Bangerter accepted both the report and the announcement with enthusiasm, citing the industry's importance to the state's economy because of the high wages usually paid.
According to the task force report, jobs in the computer, telecommunications and related industries pay an average annual salary of $30,000, some 59 percent higher than the average Utah wage.
A total of 31,000 Utahns are employed in information technology industries by some 400 companies in the state, not including most retailers, dealers and distributors.
A recent edition of Fortune magazine ranked the Provo-Orem area behind only the Silicon Valley in California and the Research Triangle in North Carolina in the number of high-tech enterprises.