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Gov. Beshear, cities, organizations recognized by magazine for business development

Included on Southern Business & Development top 10 lists

Southern Business & Development has recognized Gov. Steve Beshear and several Kentucky cities and organizations in its top 10 lists.

logoBeshear was listed as one of the Ten People Who Made a Difference for the state’s success with federal health reform and because Beshear understands economic development, reports the magazine. “Each year during the recovery, Kentucky has improved its economic development performance in capturing significant projects, and in 25 years we have never seen an administration, through the work of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, distribute projects to so many different parts of a state.”

Also recognized by the magazine:

Ten powerful major market economies in the South that don’t get enough national attention

  • Louisville — “Not only is Humana the largest employer in the area, but the city recently invested $88 million in a new rehabilitation center and health sciences research and commercialization park. But Louisville’s economy is far from one-dimensional. It is home to a number of nationally-recognized brands, primarily in the restaurant and retail industries. Companies are attracted there for the area’s low cost of living and excellent infrastructure. In addition, Louisville is the seventh largest inland port in the U.S. No wonder the economy in Louisville is growing at a much faster rate than most of the country.”

Ten outstanding markets driving large MSA economies

  • Elizabethtown — “Even as thousands of jobs were disappearing around the country during the recession, the economy of Elizabethtown remained strong. In 2010, the Elizabethtown metro area was the fastest growing in the country, with an economy that grew 14 percent. With two-thirds of the country’s population within a one-day truck drive, the announcement of the shovel-ready Glendale Megasite opens the door for Elizabethtown to have even greater impact. This 1,551-acre site has direct access to I-65, as well as railroad via CSX, and proximity to one of the world’s premier distribution and logistics centers – the UPS World Port in Louisville. A pro-business climate, coupled with low cost of living and a large local workforce, should keep Elizabethtown growing.”

Ten more places in the South to hire vets

  • Richmond — “For the sixth consecutive year, EKU has been named a Military-Friendly School by Victory Media, ranking in the top 15 percent. The school also has been recognized by Military Times EDGE magazine twice in the last four years as “Best for Vets,” the No. 1 college or university in the country for its initiatives to help veterans further their education. U.S. News gave first place to EKU among the online graduate education programs for vets, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs named EKU a VetSuccess University. EKU’s Operation Veteran Success includes no admission fees for undergraduate veterans, in-state tuition for all veterans nationwide, maximum credit hours for military experience, and a Veteran Studies minor, believed to be the nation’s first.”

Ten great Southern downtowns — big and small — that are worth a visit

  • Mt. Sterling — “Founded in 1792, Mt. Sterling is a small, friendly city steeped in the history of Kentucky. Located on the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and the edge of the Bluegrass Region, many sites and buildings in the town can be found on the historic registers. Mt. Sterling’s downtown is full of beautifully restored buildings, churches, and homes (some dating back over 200 years), and unique shopping and dining. A downtown walking tour begins at the History Museum located next to the Courthouse, and includes a dozen sites within a three-block area.
  • Owensboro — “A few years ago, Owensboro, Ky., decided to reinvent itself. In the midst of the great recession, this Ohio River town invested over $120 million in its waterfront, and the private sector soon matched it. The same designers who created the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas created signature fountains in Owensboro. A contemporary 92,000-square-foot convention center and two new riverfront hotels are also located there. Anchored between the convention center and its RiverPark Center (which hosts Broadway shows and a full-time symphony) is Smother’s Park, which boasts the country’s largest ADA-accessible outdoor playground. Within walking distance of the hotel are shops and local restaurants aplenty, as well as the International Bluegrass Music Museum (Bluegrass music was invented just down the road by Bill Monroe).”

Ten rail, air or interstate frontage sites in the South perfect for any large manufacturer

  • Paradise Regional Business Park, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky — “The Paradise Regional Business Park offers a fully served 620-acre industrial park with flat, easy-to-develop sites to satisfy most any requirement. Sites ranging from 5 to 470 acres can be configured. Due to the ideal layout of the park, rectangular sites can be configured to accommodate large distribution or manufacturing requirements. Centrally located in the western Kentucky region, the park easily draws experienced employees from the immediate and surrounding counties. Its location adjacent to Exit 48 on the Western Kentucky Parkway provides easy access in and out, along with great visibility for companies desiring maximum highway exposure. Interstate access surrounds this site with the new I-69 nine miles to the west and I-24 and I-64 within a quick reach of the park.”

Ten economic development programs in the South worth a look

  • KY FAME — “The Kentucky Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) was created because Toyota realized the need to start replacing large numbers of retirees from its Georgetown, Ky., plant. So, together with Bluegrass Community and Technical College, they created a pipeline of skilled young people to fill the void. The program has been so successful that it has grown into what is now called the Advanced Manufacturing Technician program (AMT), including several additional manufacturers in the region. Students take most of their classes in a 12,000-square-foot classroom facility built by Toyota, called the Advanced Manufacturing Center. It emulates a modern manufacturing facility, and gives students practical opportunities to learn the skills they need to be successful. Students who enter the AMT program are sponsored by a member company. They attend classes two full days a week, and work for pay the other three days at their sponsoring company. School days are full eight-hour shifts, emulating the work day, and students complete the program in five semesters. When they graduate, students have earned an associate’s degree in Applied Science, 70 to 80 college credit hours and two year’s work experience. In addition to classes that build technical skills, AMT students take general education classes like math, humanities and public speaking. Fees for the program are paid while students are employed, so they end up owing no college debt when they leave.”