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State officials are taking a jobs roadshow to Utah counties off the Wasatch Front as part of an effort to boost employment in rural areas.

In Gov. Gary Herbert's State of the State address in January, he set a goal of creating 25,000 jobs in mostly rural areas over the next four years. To that end, state officials are being joined by businesses and nonprofits for visits to various counties to talk about the resources available to help start or grow existing businesses.

Derek Miller, president and CEO of the World Trade Center Utah, cited a study that found recruiting corporations accounted for only 2 percent of job growth in rural areas. Ninety-eight percent of job growth came from new business started in those areas and the expansion of existing ones.

"So often the businesses off the Wasatch Front are not aware of the myriad of resources to help their businesses grow," Miller told The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board on Wednesday. "There are existing resources. They're government, they're private, they're nonprofit."

Miller and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox acknowleged that the goal for job creation is fluid — they're really looking to boost job growth by about 5,000 positions above what would be created without the initiative.

"My concern is mostly about these communities where 100 jobs is a huge deal," Cox said. "So sitting on the Wasatch Front and saying this is only about 5,000 jobs in some areas where we might not have gotten them anyway — we're talking about the possibility of closing schools and communities drying up. It's a really big deal for them."

The tour will visit 25 counties over the next several months.

"Within two hours, a business owner could come and know everything that exists within the state that's there to help their businesses grow," Miller said.

The tour went to Morgan County two weeks ago and the next stop, on Monday, is for Box Elder and Cache counties, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Utah State University in Logan. More information is available at