Utah’s opportunities: bringing a new meaning to Happy Valley

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Utah County is being noticed in the country for reasons other than just being “Happy Valley.” Frankly, as a native Utahn, this is refreshing. Utah, and Provo specifically, should be known for things other than being a BYU-obsessed town. BYU might lend some true or untrue stereotypes to Provo, but there’s a lot more to it than even our beloved university.

Mayor John Curtis encourages people to interact with him, city programs and events. This has become a bit of a symbol to me of community engagement as I see people respond to him online and in person. My mom once met with him about an issue after she messaged him on Facebook. That availability and sense of relationship is part of what makes Provo a great place.

And the attitude of confidence in taking charge with ideas is setting Utahns apart as they make a mark with their talents. More innovative people are getting attention for their hard work and talents.

A not-so-bad Utah job market may be a part of this success. Utah made the top 10 in Kiplinger.com’s list of states with the fastest job growth in 2015. The article says Utah’s projected 2015 job growth for its nearly three million-member population is 3.8 percent.

The 2015 year is almost over, but the near future isn’t dismal either. The Kiplinger article also said Utah’s projected 2016 job growth is 3.4 percent. Each state on the list, including Utah, is “likely to see the fastest employment gains this year, all topping the 2 percent national average,” the article said.

Whether it’s by job opportunities or exceptional individuals, there are opportunities here for success. People are noticing that living in Provo can benefit its residents and bring fewer groans to them than it has in the past.

So if you’re wondering whether to stay in Provo or neighboring cities after graduation, think of what opportunities you may find here or from the relationships you gain here.

If you still groan at the thought of living in Utah, that’s ok. People grow and move on, literally and figuratively. But, as one of my favorite songs I learned in elementary school says, “Utah, it’s a great place to be!”

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