The Leadership Louisville program this week totally exceeded my expectations! I work at Bellarmine University to ensure our grads have jobs – so understanding our regional economic drivers, in demand skill-sets/occupations, and the direction our economy is headed in 10-20 years are critical pieces to doing my job well.
The line-up of speakers was really an all-star cast among economic and community development gurus in town including Greater Louisville Project, One Southern Indiana, Louisville Forward, Greater Louisville Inc, and KentuckianaWorks. We also had the opportunity to visit a key employer (from large to small organizations) and learn each company’s rationale for “why Louisville?” and what do they see as the strengths and opportunities for growth in our community.
I think I was most inspired by our small group excursion to FirstBuild – a partnership between GE and the University of Louisville that drives innovation and provides a shared maker-space for everyone in the Louisville community (from social scientists, to artists, to engineers, and everyone in between). It’s a great example of the power of education and enterprise partnerships to benefit everyone from faculty to students to companies to consumers. I mean who doesn’t benefit from the creation of Opal Nugget Ice?
Having previously worked with 55,000 Degrees, I’ve partnered with many of the organizations on the agenda and I learned something new and insightful from each one. Stat to ponder: Nearly 2/3 of jobs in 2020 will require an associates degree or higher. GLP shared that the Say Yes! program is one pathway to help educate and prepare our future workforce with free college tuition for our local high school grads. Increasing college going and success of our homegrown talent is key, but it’s not going to solve all of our workforce challenges alone.
Throughout the entire day a recurring theme echoed by speakers, the data, CEOs, and classmates was a need for improved talent attraction. It seems like talent attraction is a real X-Factor when it comes to booming economies, entrepreneurship, education attainment, and competitive wages. And sadly, Louisville is not keeping up with the Nashville’s, Austin’s, and Charlotte’s of the country. I’m personally not from Louisville and if I hadn’t married a guy from E-town who went to UofL I probably wouldn’t have gone out of my way to look for opportunities in Louisville. But I’m here and I LOVE it! Our family loves Louisville and we’re here to stay. I’m so glad the Bingham Fellows are going to be addressing Talent Attraction in the upcoming year. There are so many people working hard everyday to reach our city’s goals for increased wages, education attainment, and all of the other deep drivers that matter. Louisville is truly an inspiring and aspiring community to be a part of!