SLCC President Deneece Huftalin, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Goldman Sachs Foundation President Asahi Pompey and Goldman Sachs Salt Lake managing partner Dave Lang met this week with 15 local small business owners who are also alumni of the SLCC’s Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. The group had a powerful roundtable discussion on the challenges and opportunities for small business owners in Utah.
As part of the discussion, roundtable participants talked about the difficulties of attracting and retaining talent while doing business in Utah’s red-hot economy. IIIens Dort, an alumnus of 10,000 Small Businesses and president and CEO of the non-profit organization Lift a Life, said that the program helped him recognize the value of workplace culture. “I say that employee engagement is not a department or program, but it is a culture,” he says. “You need to focus on creating an engaging culture because you attract the employees who reflect your company culture.”
President Huftalin said that as an institution SLCC has specifically joined with businesses and industry to develop employees for the local workforce. “Some of the partnerships we’ve engaged in are really powerful,” she says. “ Business and industry are right there with us, helping us develop curriculum so we can train the employees they need. They have invested early on and give preference to our students when they hire. This has been helpful for developing employees in some high-demand fields.”
Pompey from the Goldman Sachs Foundation said that small business is a huge driver in the nation’s economy. The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in Utah alone has helped 550 businesses, resulting in $800 million in growth and the employment of 11,000 people,