News Release

Helping hard-hit rural counties

The Utah Coal Country Strike Team’s multi-pronged proposal to improve financial prosperity in Carbon and Emery counties received an additional $300,000 financial boost following its presentation to the Alliance for the American Dream in New York City on Thursday, June 26, 2019. To date, the project has received $900,000 in direct and matching funds from Schmidt Futures and the University of Utah.

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Mike Kourianos, Price City mayor and co-chair of the strike team. “This is a tremendous investment in our vision for Price and all of Utah coal country. This funding will help us diversify our economy, allow us to invest in infrastructure and give us a path toward a vibrant economic future.”

The funding, along with a $500,000 legislative appropriation, will enable the team to invest in workforce training, tourism infrastructure, housing revitalization and economic development planning in Carbon and Emery counties, according to Natalie Gochnour, one of the team’s co-chairs and director of the U’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. She said the team plans to pursue additional funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Utah State Legislature and other private philanthropy.

“This project is attracting positive widespread attention from both public and private funding sources because of its high potential to transform lives, not only in the near term but over generations,” said Gochnour. “We are deeply appreciative to Schmidt Futures, our partners in the Utah State Legislature and our partners across Utah’s coal country.”

The team’s proposal was one of 150 ideas submitted from across Utah in August 2018 as part of the Alliance for the American Dream—an initiative funded and sponsored by Schmidt Futures.

The team’s plan targets four interventions to aid the economically distressed communities:

  • Create a Silicon Slopes eastern hub to complement Utah’s rapidly expanding tech sector.
  • Create a tourism infrastructure fun