As a result of working with the White House and relevant federal agencies to ensure federal funding reaches rural communities across the Mountain West, UTST – in collaboration with local leaders, like Mayor Lenise Peterman of Helper, Utah and Southeastern Regional Development Agency (SERDA) – is convening a series of “listening sessions” across the Mountain West to provide an opportunity for local communities to engage directly with relevant agency officials. Coal Country at a Crossroads is the first of these listening sessions.


The two day meeting will provide an opportunity for local community leaders to directly engage with administration and agency officials and to share how federal funding is flowing into their communities. We’ll identify opportunities and challenges to federal funding effectively addressing community needs, which we will then communicate to administration and agency officials. There will also be an opportunity to learn about federal programs and other relevant forms of support.

Issue Areas

We will discuss federal funding and programs connected to clean energy, workforce development, economic development, small businesses, infrastructure, and new federal opportunities to promote manufacturing in the region.

Tuesday, march 19, 2024

12 - 2 pm

Monthly Meeting

Monthly Meeting of Carbon and Emery County Economic Development Committee will take place prior to the start of the event.

12:30 - 1:30 pm

Registration & Lunch

2 pm


Jade Powell, Director, SEUALG

Drew Cooper, UTST

Welcome and Review the Schedule for the 2 Days

2:30 pm

Opening Panel Conversation

Administration representatives and local leaders.

A roundtable discussion about how federal funding is moving in SE Utah. This is a high level conversation about opportunities, challenges and threats with federal funds coming into the region generally.

3:15 pm

Listening Session 1

In small and large facilitated group sessions, participants will share their experiences accessing federal funding and programs, what’s worked and what hasn’t. Together, we’ll identify common needs, priorities, and ways to improve how federal funding supports our communities.

4:30 pm

Travel to Helper, UT for Community Program and Reception

5:30 pm

Historic Helper Main Street Tour

Lenise Peterman, Mayor of Helper City

Helper UT was a coal producing community and is now undergoing a successful economic revitalization thanks to government support. Join us for a walking tour along historic Main Street highlighting the buildings along the way -- including a brief Rio Theater Tour, a Helper Museum Tour, and time to enjoy the galleries. The tours will alco include discussion of the city's need to revitalize the 60+ year old electrical system, the river restoration project, and recreational trail development.

6:30 - 8:30 pm

Evening Reception and Dinner

Join local businesses, community leaders, and administration representatives for an informal networking opportunity, including two short presentations.

8:30 pm

Return to Price

Wednesday, march 20, 2024

8:30 am

Media Event at the Operating Engineers Local 3 Jobs Fair with Administration and Agency Officials

Host Committee Member and Someone connected to the Public Event

We will welcome back people, introduce new participants, and review top-lines of the previous day. We will also review today's agenda and provide directions to the break out session of the day. We will end with a brief overview of the project we will be doing our public event at.

10 am

Welcome Back and Report Out from Day 1

Mayor Lenise Peterman

State Representative Christine Watkins

Mayor Mike Kourianos

10:30 am

Listening Session 2

Small working groups will provide an opportunity to meet with federal agency staff to identify opportunities, challenges, and ways to work together to ensure funding flows for community needs, good jobs, and local economic development.

10:30 am

Panel Conversation

Ben Beachy, Special Assistant to the President on Clean Energy and Industrial Policy (Executive Office of the President);

Dr. Jeremy Pearson, Director of San Rafael Energy Research Center;

Brock Johansen, CEO of Emery Telcom;

Jade Powell, Deputy Director of SERDA

11:15 am

Large Group Discussion

Starting in table conversations, but concluding in a large facilitated group conversation, participants will identify what the region needs in terms of infrastructure, investment, and development. (15 minute small group, round table discussions followed by 30 minute large group discussion)

12:30 pm


1:30 pm

Issue Area Breakout Groups Session Close Out

We’ll break out into four different groups where local leaders and administration and agency officials will do a deeper dive on how to work together to address specific issues. Breakout topics will include:

Clean Energy

Workforce Development

Economic Development/Manufacturing


12:30 pm


3:15 pm

Moving Forward with an Actionable Plan

In a large facilitated group session – based on conversations held over the last two days, including the small group breakout sessions – we’ll identify concrete next steps on how to work together to make sure federal funding and opportunities for economic development meet the needs of Southeastern Utah

4:30 pm

Next Steps, Thank You, Close of Event

Jade Powell, Director, SEUALG

Drew Cooper, UTST



Public Town Hall

Local folks, business owners, and elected reps sharing successes, challenges, and opportunities that can shape the future of energy in Utah.


Lifting Up Federal Funding Successes

Attendees sharing examples of how federal funding is strengthening rural Utah’s local economies and delivering benefits to communities.

Invite-Only Stakeholder Meeting

Representatives from federal, regional, and state agencies and local stakeholders will strategize on how to ensure federal dollars help create good jobs, promote local hiring, and meet community needs.

For more information

Paul Getsos | Director | UTST

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