A pitch to get more people to come to Utah to work apparently is, well, working.

Though still in its infancy, the Utah Recruitment Initiative by the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) featured a "come to Utah" ad in a Sunday newspaper insert Oct. 28 in several major cities, and Web-site hits and resume submissions are already going strong.

Clark Caras, the office's director of marketing, told the GOED Board on Friday that the Web site www.utahworksforyou.com had about 1,500 visits during the first day the ad ran, and 65 resumes were submitted during one recent week.

The ad in a 24-page Utah tourism insert features a skier heading down a Utah slope, with a headline hailing "Quality Jobs in Utah as Plentiful as the Powder." That caught the eyes of readers, Caras said.

"What we're finding and what the recruiters are finding is lifestyle is a key to people wanting to come to Utah, so as you can see, (the ad) is lifestyle-based," he told the board.

GOED is asking companies with employee 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.

About 70 companies are participating, although that number is expected to rise to 100 soon. And those initial 70 are looking to hire more than 1,200 workers in the next few months, GOED officials said Friday.

Jason Perry, GOED's executive director, said the program had been geared to recruit engineers but has been expanded to include other sectors identified by the Utah Department of Workforce Services: composites/material science, construction, health care, energy, automotive, ski/hospitality and teaching among them.

The recruitment drive also will feature:

• Fliers at the state's welcome centers, hotels and motels and restaurants, letting incoming motorists know about the state's need for more workers.

• A reprise of last year's "Here for the Holidays" campaign, which used a newspaper ad to encourage Utah natives living outside the state to consider returning to Utah for good engineering jobs. "People that come to the state during the holidays are going to know that there are jobs here for them if they want to stay," Caras said.

• A job fair in April during the Society of Manufacturing Engineers' composites conference, a three-day event with about 800 attendees.

Utah also is getting help from at least one other state. Michael Sullivan, communications director for GOED, said Idaho officials are distributing information about Utah's needs to several hundred former employees of Micron Technology in Boise who recently lost their jobs.

"They are distributing, for us, to all the unemployed Micron engineers, with a cover letter from their department, saying, 'While we'd like to keep you in Idaho, we understand that if you haven't found an engineering job, we'd like to keep you in the West,"' Sullivan said.

Caras said another company in a neighboring state is planning layoffs — he declined to name the company or the state — but said GOED hopes to contact that state's workforce officials "and see if we can repeat the same type of thing and keep people in the West."

Caras said the GOED Board has been good at recruiting companies to come to Utah, "and we hope to do the same thing with people."

A few board members questioned the approach, saying they are worried about GOED getting into the jobs-listing business, but others said the initiative is a first step of what will become a refined program with cooperation from the Department of Workforce Services.


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