Blind climber inspires local businesses in journey to add jobs

- SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – The only blind person to scale the world's highest point is in Utah to inspire local business leaders.

Erik Weihenmayer is comparing his three month journey to climbing out of the great recession.

"I’ve learned a lot from doing big things as a blind person and trying to figure out how I’m going to get through each of those barriers," said Weihenmayer.

Big things like scaling to the top of the tallest peak on every continent, including the tallest in the world, Mount Everest.

"Not just overcome adversity, but really harness the energy behind it and use it to propel yourself to new places," said Weihenmayer.

Lessons that apply to all aspects of life, that's why he's sharing his story with members and investors of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah.

A group that is on the front lines of another journey, climbing out of recession.

"It’s certainly back on the way up. In fact, Utah came into recovery, out of recession much more quickly than other states," said EDC Utah President and CEO, Jeff Edwards.

According to EDC Utah's 2012/2013 annual report, the state had a net gain of more than 11,000 jobs.

Nine companies relocated to Utah, the state created 9,405 new jobs and retained 1,931 jobs that were in jeopardy of leaving, with a capital investment of $1.4 billion.

"These jobs are in manufacturing, IT, life sciences, energy, financial services, it's a really good mix, which actually gives us a lot of strength as a state," said Edwards.

Governor Gary Herbert says the growth puts the state in line to meet his 100,000 jobs in 1000 days goal.

That initiative kicked off in January, 2011, since then we have added about 66,300 jobs.

The Governor says Utah has one of the fastest growing economies in the country right now, but that doesn't mean the work is done.

"We're not to where we need to be. Our unemployment rate is still too high, for those out of work, we know that's not a good circumstance. We won't rest until everyone who wants a job, has a job," said Herbert.

In the economy and in life, the message here is it's all about the climb, no matter how difficult and impossible it may seem.

"There's all sorts of obstacles that get in the way as you try to do something big, so it takes a lot of discipline," said Weihenmayer.

Both the Governor and EDC Utah are forecasting a similar, three percent market growth for next year.

Hoping to cut down on Utah’s 4.7% unemployment rate, which is nearly three points lower than the national average.

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