beam 300LOUISVILLE, Ky. (11/30/13) – The 22 counties that form the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement region, with Louisville and Lexington as its anchors, have the capacity to grow significant jobs in advanced manufacturing, but the region needs a much more skilled engineering and technical workforce, according to a new study.

The study — "Seizing the Manufacturing Moment: An Economic Growth Plan for the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky" — concludes that, with America experiencing a resurgence in manufacturing, the Louisville-Lexington region is uniquely poised to take advantage of the economic trend. However, the region must focus more intently on innovation, research and development and improve the workforce so people have the right skills for these 21st Century jobs.

The report was released today by Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and in partnership with the Brookings Institution of Washington D.C. It's the culmination of a two-year effort by the mayors through the BEAM project, an idea the two created in January 2011, during a University of Kentucky/University of Louisville basketball game at the KFC Yum! Center.

Gray and Fischer, at the time both new mayors and both businessmen with strengths in the manufacturing sector, enlisted the assistance of Brookings to develop a business plan. They also created the BEAM board with academic and corporate leaders from the region.

"We are fierce competitors on the court, but we are now fierce partners in economic development," said Gray. "The study proves that Central Kentucky has manufacturing in its DNA, and it provides a roadmap for building on that advantage, and turning Central Kentucky into a global manufacturing hub."

"This report validates that, if we make targeted and strategic investments, our region can be known globally as the place for manufacturing," Fischer said.

Some of the key findings from the Brookings report include:

  • Almost 2 million people live in the BEAM region and it accounts for $92 billion in gross domestic product — or 53 percent of the state total;
  • The region contains more than 1,600 firms producing a variety of goods (including 97 percent of the world's bourbon);
  • Over the last three decades, manufacturing employment and growth have not kept pace with the nation — but the region still has 100,000 manufacturing jobs
  • Manufacturers are investing billions in Central Kentucky, and the number of jobs posted in manufacturing in Kentucky has risen 66% in the last two years.

The report also recommends six key strategies:

  • Solidify the partnership between Louisville and Lexington to grow more jobs and collaborate on growth strategies;
  • Become a world-class center for advanced manufacturing by developing a skilled workforce equipped to meet the demands of the 21st century industry;
  • Develop an integrated ecosystem of support for advanced manufacturing centered on innovation and technology;
  • Increase global demand for made-in-Kentucky products by helping BEAM manufacturers tap new and expanding export markets;
  • Beyond manufacturing, invest in targeted regional assets to diversify the economy into technology-based firms and knowledge industries;
  • Strengthen the region's competitive position by enhancing its metropolitan areas as attractive places to live, work and do business.

SurfKY News
Information provided by office of Mayor Jim Gray

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14

Most Read This Week

March 18, 2015 9416

UPDATE: Hanson Man Located in Henderson, Taken to…

by Trooper Stu Recke
March 25, 2015 4849

Fazoli's, Roses Coming to Madisonville

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
March 24, 2015 4845

One Dies, Another Injured in Mortons Gap Traffic…

by Deputy Heath Owens
March 25, 2015 4731

Grand Jury Finds No Criminal Wrongdoing in Bean…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 24, 2015 3988

UPDATE: One Injured in Hopkinsville Road Accident

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 25, 2015 3646

Madisonville Man's Living Room Leap Lands Him in…

by Madisonville Police Department / Hopkins County Detention Center

Most Read This Month

February 25, 2015 13796

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

by Trooper Stu Recke
March 09, 2015 12823

Multi-Agency Drug Bust Results in $1 Million Meth…

by KSP DESI

Stories Trending Today

March 26, 2015 1294

‘Chasing Rainbow’ Heart Walk Raises Funds for AHA

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 26, 2015 850

Two Injured after Jumping from Second Floor to…

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
March 26, 2015 836

Teams 'Dodge for the Cure' during Relay for Life…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 26, 2015 812

Hopkins District Court Fines Handed Down

by Hopkins Court Clerk
March 26, 2015 807

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - March 26,…

by Madisonville Police Department
March 26, 2015 744

Baptist Health Honors Staff with Years of Service…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 26, 2015 696

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
March 26, 2015 666

Kentucky, West Virginia Governors Offer Friendly…

by Office of the Governor
March 26, 2015 657

UPDATE - OPD Seeking Public's Help in Locating…

by Owensboro Police Department
March 26, 2015 483

Hopkins KFB Manager Named Manager of Year

by Kentucky Farm Bureau