This is an archived article that was published on in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

We live in a global economy. We can't merely return to "simpler" times. Rather, we must purposefully engage with global markets in order to create more high-paying jobs domestically. Such strategic engagement is the goal of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project with the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, which selected Salt Lake County as a metro partner.

This strategic planning for global economic engagement is based on the fact that 95 percent of consumers live outside the U.S. and that 81 percent of global economic growth is projected to occur outside the U.S. over the next four years. America maintains a strong global economic presence now, but failing to strategically engage globally in the future could prove detrimental to our economy.

Salt Lake County and Mayor Ben McAdams are taking a proactive approach to strategic global engagement. Over the past two years, the county has engaged in robust analysis of the regional market in order to understand where global engagement would provide the most economic gains. In April 2016, the county released its Regional Export Plan that outlines five strategies for connecting small- and mid-sized businesses with global consumers — consumers who are not constrained by Utah's season shifts nor by U.S. economic downturns. Nationally, increases in export activity have resulted in 6,000 jobs per $1 billion in export value.

Currently, Salt Lake County's regional economic development team is engaged in drafting a plan that will entice foreign investment to our region. As foreign capital flows into the region, jobs will be created and the county's already low unemployment levels will drop. As the data suggest, jobs supplied by foreign-owned businesses pay an average of 28 percent more than jobs in domestically-owned businesses. In other words, as foreign investment enters our local market, workers will have access to higher pay, which will broaden prosperity across the region.

As a member of the county's Foreign Direct Investment steering committee, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., to take part in a Global Cities Initiative symposium. I have heard a number of other metro regions — many of them larger than ours — discuss their plans for navigating the global economy. While I came away impressed by the other metros, more than anything I was reminded that our leadership at Salt Lake County is competitive nationally and is focused on the right approach to improve the economic well-being of all county residents.

An example is a proposed Mountain View Corridor Economic Development Commission, which has the goal of promoting economic expansion on the west side of the county. The more than $1 billion invested in infrastructure makes the area attractive to advanced industries, including foreign investors, which offers opportunities for high-paying jobs. Reaching the goal, however, will depend on thoughtful planning and collaboration among the municipalities and their elected officials.

Having seen Salt Lake County's purposeful planning efforts first hand, I know it is data-driven, strategic and thoughtful. Importantly, it increases engagement with global markets and businesses. I believe that through this purposeful planning, a more prosperous and equitable future will be achieved.

Steven Price is founder and president of Price Real Estate and developer of more than 2 million square feet of distribution and manufacturing buildings.