Building a more prosperous future for Kentucky’s communities and the state as a whole is the focus of a new report from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
Four Pillars for Prosperity suggests a new emphasis on issues that influence the state’s economy and on the actions that will chart a path toward success. The report, released Tuesday during the Chamber’s annual Business Summit in Louisville, details the state’s current and recent economic performance; the workforce, technological and economic trends affecting Kentucky; and the perspective of business leaders on issues that most affect their ability to succeed.
The Chamber’s vision rests on four pillars:
- A healthy, skilled workforce to create a globally competitive talent development system
- A sustainable state government that is financially stable and creates a competitive environment for economic growth
- A 21st century infrastructure to capitalize on the state’s strategic advantages and to advance its energy agenda
- Aggressive job creation through the implementation of an economic development program that recognizes the potential of Kentucky’s distinct regions and industry sectors and encourages entrepreneurship and innovation
Among the specific progress points Kentucky must achieve to realize the vision: investing in quality early education programs, conducting a comprehensive management review of state government operations, supporting public-private partnerships to develop capital projects, and supporting strategic industry sectors.
To gauge the state’s performance, the Chamber plans to monitor key indicators, make them available via an online dashboard, and report regularly on the findings. Signs of progress will include:
- Increased employment growth at a rate higher than the national average
- Increased education attainment levels
- Improved state rankings for businesses and competitiveness
- Per capita income growth higher than the national average
- Improved health rankings
- Gross State Product per capita growth at a rate higher than the national average
- Increased state exports per capita relative to the national average
- More postsecondary degrees and certificates
- Lower state poverty rate
- Decreased state debt per capita
- Improved state pension funding position
- Improved condition of state’s physical infrastructure
- Increased availability of broadband
- Sustained low energy costs
“Our hope is that someday soon leaders in Kentucky will value economic competitiveness that same way they value competitiveness in basketball,” the report noted. “We want our leaders to plan for future years of sustainability with the same enthusiasm as when we anticipate a young colt, an aged bourbon or spring. We want to change the culture and the opportunities for every citizen in our state.”