Site provides county-by-county look at how Kentucky competes globally

A new website, Mapping the Nation, provides an exciting tool that allows users to view detailed demographic, economic and education indicators showing the impact of the global economy on local economies – including a county-by-county look at Kentucky.

“The site provides useful information for the business community, including a toolkit to help locales plan for the future,” said Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson. “Preparing Kentucky to successfully compete in the global marketplace is one of the top priorities of the Kentucky Chamber. This web tool will give Kentuckians some insight into how their communities are competing globally.”

Mapping the Nation indicates the following statistics about Kentucky:

  • The state has experienced a 69% increase in the foreign-born population. Nationally, the majority of those born after 2008 are minorities.
  • 13% of the state GDP is tied to exports of goods. Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom are our top export markets.
  • 21% of jobs are tied to international trade. That’s one out of every five jobs in the state.

As far as how we are doing in preparing our students to live in a global economy, the data shows Kentucky schools cannot yet meet community needs and workforce demands. For example:

  • Twenty-one of the top 25 industrialized countries begin language instruction in elementary school. Only 17% of Kentucky’s K-12 students study a foreign language. Additionally, higher education foreign language enrollment increased 73% between 2002 and 2009.
  • The vast majority of Kentucky students do not participate in study abroad programs, less than 1% in high school and 1% in postsecondary education.

“While the data shows Kentucky has made some movement in becoming globally competent, if we fail to increase the focus on this through our education system and in economic development efforts, we will quickly fall behind,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “Our citizens will not be competitive in the job market and our economy will suffer.”

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