Focus on What Kentucky Has Growing

State business sector making leaps forward, but beware of the rabbit holes

By Mark Green

Mark Green is the editorial director of The Lane Report.

What a distracting time for us all, including the business sector.

A dangerous pandemic has changed daily life in the workplace as well as at home, and it has slowed important parts of the economy while other areas operate almost normally.

Social protest continues, pushing for change also.

A national election takes place in less than a month with our country mired in a divisive, hyperpartisan political period of its history.

There is an onslaught of urgent information coming at Kentucky’s influencers and decision makers daily, demanding attention, demanding action. And parts of the news media, which is paid to attract your attention, report on our collective issues of the day by focusing on the conflict of opinion and perception. Additionally, some marketing messages around political and public policy campaigns and advocacy efforts present transparent misstatements of fact.

A fear or anger response is an underlying goal in some of this competition for your attention. Don’t take the bait, though. Public policy is truly important, but we don’t have time for conflict. If a message is asking you to think badly of fellow citizens rather than aiming toward a potential solution or improvement, consider whether it is worth your time and attention.

The Lane Report prefers to give you news that focuses on the improvements and potential solutions. It turns out to be a reliable way to get the attention of the business, professional and economic development community in our state, who are forever facing toward the future and how to enhance it.

Like the rest of the nation and world, Kentucky is making important improvements now that are worthy of knowing about. This year’s economic, financial and medical safety stresses are generating innovations and speeding a shift to new and more efficient processes. Many changes initiated for safety reasons will be permanent for financial reasons.

There are important steps forward happening in our state, as you can read in this issue.

Louisville has multiple initiatives happening that are preparing its region’s workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. Partnerships with Microsoft and IBM are creating new curricula for what will be a steady pipeline of area residents skilled in gathering and assessing big data analytics that give business and medicine insight into how to perform better, skilled in directing and managing artificial intelligence in products and processes, in designing, building, operating and improving connected Internet of Things devices.

Job demand exists and this tech sector will grow as fast as workers can be skilled to fill it.

The state’s agribusiness sector has been a proving ground for innovation for many years, in part due to the challenges our varied geography present. Eastern Kentucky is about to open a transformative facility with the potential to change the U.S. food change for the better while bringing much-needed jobs to Appalachia. State officials, entrepreneurs and academics have connected with the ag-tech sector in the Netherlands, which is exporting nearly $100 billion in products to the rest of the world. Watch AppHarvest and its high-tech 60-acre greenhouse; if it is successful, many more will follow.

And the delayed Kentucky Wired project to put a network of gigabit-speed internet fiber nodes in every county of the commonwealth does, indeed, foresee completing its goal in the next few months. The focus then shifts to supporting final-mile connections that are the coming backbone of commerce.

Think about that. 

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