Utah, The Languages State
My wife speaks some eight.
I only speak five plus.
I speak to more folks.
A "Languages State"?
There are several advantages for a state and a work force that is multi-lingual. Utah sits atop the list of multi-lingual states, and some of its neighboring states aren't far below.
Some Utah Photos
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Utah has LDS and Buddhist temples and a high percentage of its people attend regular weekly religious services. Located in the Rocky Mountains it is home to many of America's national parks. The Boy Scouts' programs are popular and well-supported in Utah. As the site of one of the Winter Olympics, Utah features practice sites and winter recreation. Currently largely Republican, their Senator Hatch is third in the line of presidential succession. Utahns believe that traditional families are an important part of God's plan for mankind. The State Capitol Building is located in Salt Lake City as is the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which occupies all of one of the city's large skyscrapers. Education is important to Utahns whose people have the youngest average age of any state in America.
You know, if you live where you don't hear people speaking Spanish today, or at least occasionally this week, you are either retired and living without a radio or TV in the Maine woods, or a Native American living similarly in an ethnic community in Alaska.
In the State of Utah, population 3,047,340, the state also has the youngest population of any state, and while very large areas of the state are uninhabited, the Salt Lake City metropolitan area has over 1,300,000 people. Utah's population is growing at a 1.6% rate, in part because its people enjoy one of America's highest birth rates.
Three other Utah statistics are important to our discussion. (1) Utah has 80,000 undocumented people, (2) 63% of its people are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) which has its world headquarters in Salt Lake City, and (3) for many years, ever since shortly after the LDS church's founding on April 6, 1830, and today, young men and women, as well as senior adults, serve as the church's 72,632 current missionaries, all drawn from the church's 15,634,200 members (as of the end of 2015.)
As many of those missionaries are taught and use foreign languages and American Sign Language in their U. S. and foreign missions, their experiences with the cultures, economies, and languages of those nations is invaluable to America, Utah, their home states, and their native countries.
For years now Utah has had an unemployment rate lower than the national average. Today it is 3.4%, having just dropped another .1% while the national rate was increasing. Part of the reason for that is Utah's educational results. Utah's high school graduation rates are high, and the percentage of high school graduates going on to colleges and universities, as well as into skilled trades is high. That is another factor making Utah attractive to businesses considering relocating to Utah.
With businesses looking increasingly at global markets, having worldwide language skills locally available is certainly a factor they will consider, just as the Pentagon did in building and staffing a major defense intelligence facility just south of Salt Lake City.
Certainly Utah has other attractions for businesses and tourists as home to a large number of America's national parks, outstanding outdoor activities, and cultural events from sports to museums, symphony concerts, opera, and ballet, as well as similar events at Utah's major universities and colleges.
Perhaps one event epitomizes Utah's unique role as America's "Languages State." That was seen when Utah was host to the Winter Olympics. Visitors and athletes from around the world were greeted and hosted by officials and volunteers who spoke their languages with fluency and had a first hand knowledge of their countries. That was a key to making those Winter Olympics see some of the best competitions ever held.
Labeled "The Beehive State" it appears that Utahns are busy, multilingual workers, happiest when they are at home.
© 2016 Demas W. Jasper
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