The Utah Coal Country Strike Team serves Carbon and Emery counties by helping to raise incomes by 10% and diversify the economy. The Strike Team, which was a finalist in 2019 national competition sponsored by Schmidt Futures, pursues a four-fold strategy, including workforce training, housing revitalization, tourism infrastructure, and economic development incentives.
The effort serves as a national model for how a public university can organize a multi-disciplinary, data-driven, and mission-focused “Strike Team” to help coal-dependent communities struggling in a dynamic energy environment shifting away from fossil fuels.
The Strike Team assesses its success through a custom-built and rigorous model that measures income gains in Utah’s Coal Country compared to that of other coal communities in the United States. Using a synthetic control approach, the model compares actual income in Utah’s coal country on a quarterly basis to the trend incomes in 150 benchmark coal communities. The model helps investors see whether their investments achieve desired outcomes. In the first quarter of 2020, the Utah Coal Country Strike team met its goal to raise incomes by 10%.
The Strike Team, with the support of the Utah Legislature, Schmidt Futures, and the University of Utah, has invested $1.3 million in Carbon and Emery counties to diversify the economy and help residents achieve a more economically stable future.
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“Despite the challenges we face, Carbon and Emery counties have significant potential for future economic success. This additional funding from Schmidt Futures will help us fulfill that potential and invest in new opportunities for all Utahns living in the region.”
-Geri Gamber, Director, Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments
“Utah’s Coal Country is a lot like the other 150 coal communities scattered around the country. We have a vision to diversify and invest in a bright future for our children and grandchildren. As we do so we value partnerships like we have with Schmidt Futures and the University of Utah to help us create a more well-rounded economy moving forward.”
– Mayor Mike Kourianos, Price City, Utah
“Public universities like the University of Utah embrace a service mission to help our states prosper. We recognize the economic hardship faced right now by the very people and communities that helped build the Utah economy. As public policy leaders we share our expertise with a locally led effort, and in doing so, provide a national example of how universities can serve.”
-Natalie Gochnour, Director, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah