Building Opportunity

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“I am confident you will rock this.”

Mayor Jackie Biskupski echoed that sentiment today to graduates of a unique training program in the Capital City. Spearheaded by Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development, the pilot program provided individuals previously experiencing homelessness with free housing and transportation, intensive training in the construction industry, and the “soft skills” needed to land and keep a job. Mayor Biskupski spoke to inspire the first “class” of trainees, and was joined by City and community leaders.

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Trainees of the pilot program listen to City and Community leaders celebrate their success in overcoming challenges of the past few months.

“Today is a day where we see what be accomplished when we collaborate, innovate, and participate” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “A day where we recognize those who once felt faceless and celebrate them.”

For months, Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development worked with partners at The Housing Authority of Salt Lake City, Utah Department of Workforce Services, Catholic Community Services of Utah, Salt Lake Community College, Utah Transit Authority and construction industry leaders to develop and execute this pilot construction work training program.

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Eight individuals completed the innovative pilot program which provided housing, transit, and job training in the construction industry.

“This endeavor came about as many of us brainstormed ways Salt Lake City and Utah could begin to tackle both the homelessness issue and workforce challenges,” said Lara Fritts, economic development director for Salt Lake City. “It’s truly amazing to see how well many of these students have done.”

Students who competed the program received recognition certificates for their training, their own tool belt and supplies, and guaranteed job interviews with more than a dozen local construction companies ready to hire.

“I’m glad to be able to take responsibility again,” said Kevin Cressall, who spoke the event. Kevin was a graduating trainee and had previously experienced homelessness.

“We couldn’t be prouder of these individuals who took an opportunity to move from homelessness to training to housing” said Mayor Biskupski. “This program is a success because it combines the stabilizing forces of housing, transit, economic development, and education.” 

“Your success is our City’s success, and we can only be better as a community if we help one another. All of Salt Lake City is rooting for you.”

About Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development: Formed in 2016, under the leadership of Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development is focused on building Salt Lake City as a vibrant, beautiful, prosperous, diverse, and authentic place – a place that is economically accessible to everyone. Known as the “Crossroads of the West,” Salt Lake City is strategically located for businesses to succeed. SLCDED works to streamline processes, provide excellent customer service, and offer an array of resources and services to recruit and retain businesses in the City, and ensure they have the tools to thrive.

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