Home » Perspective: Regional Boom Is Just Getting Started

Perspective: Regional Boom Is Just Getting Started

Greater Louisville’s quality of place is paying off in a workforce that ignites investment

By Mark Green

Greater Louisville is proof that if you keep taking the right steps, you indeed end up where you want to be. Quality of life, quality of place and low cost of living are making the region a magnet for quality workforce—and for billions of dollars in investment and thousands of top-paying jobs.

Those jobs are in some of the world’s key emerging industries. And others are in the region’s established business clusters that are strong, high-demand economic sectors with a bright future: advanced manufacturing; logistics and e-commerce; healthcare and aging innovation; business support services; and food and beverage.

Greater Louisville and Kentucky are building a global brand and major U.S. and East Asian corporations are staking their futures on the power of the state’s economic engine. In an ever-better-connected world where skilled workers can live anywhere, they are choosing to sink roots in areas offering a diverse taste of genuine Americana.

That’s Greater Louisville.

Ford Motor Co. and one of South Korea’s booming industrial conglomerates, SK Group, are creating a $5.8 billion, 5 million-s.f. electric-vehicle battery production facility on I-65 in Hardin County that in two years will employ 5,000 region residents who will have six-figure jobs for decades. Several thousand others will join them at new operations now also under construction in Kentucky that will supply the components, services and materials needed to manufacture 80 gigawatts a year of EV horsepower.

Minutes up I-65 at UPS Worldport at the Muhammad Ali International Airport, the seventh- largest U.S. airline ships freight to every point on the continent and globe, oftentimes overnight. At 5.2 million s.f., Worldport is the largest fully automated package handling facility on Earth, serving the high-tech, retail and healthcare sectors. Life science is the latest specialty logistics subsector that UPS has developed new processes for and there are dozens more at Worldport, where thousands of employees bring a complex small city to life every night.

Life science is a natural fit for the region’s healthcare and technology expertise. Three major health-provider systems are headquartered in Louisville, including the academic medical center of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Engineers at UofL, a major research institution, are go-to resources when industry is seeking solutions at the intersection of nanotechnology and additive manufacturing.

Innovation and success in the latest business, tech, research and customer services all are built ultimately on place. Greater Louisville is America’s crossroads, physically and culturally.

Literally born from logistics at the Falls of the Ohio—where an emerging American shipping industry had to portage passengers and products—Louisville is within a day’s delivery of two-thirds of the U.S. market.

It is where Midwest meets South, where coastal high cost meets affordability. It is where urban demand for innovation meets rural can-do. Greater Louisville and its leaders are focused now on investing the region’s rising income and wealth into the next steps to health and the American dream.