Economic success, virus response prosperous for KY

(LEX 18) – As 2021 draws to a close, Governor Andy Beshear says he’s proud of Kentucky’s success this year.

“I’m thrilled. I’m not sure I have an adjective to describe how excited I really am,” Beshear said in a one-on-one interview with LEX 18 political reporter Karolina Buczek. “By the end of this month, I think we’ll be breaking all economic development records. We are already well above the annual record for total investment in the Commonwealth of Nations. We will certainly reach $ 11 billion when we [normally] on average four to six billion per year.

The governor believes Kentucky’s economic development records and effective virus response have prepared Kentucky for years of prosperity.

“Our time is here. Our future is now, ”Beshear said. “We are on the cusp of prosperity like Kentucky has never seen before, and if we continue to work hard and make smart decisions – in how we invest in all of our communities and our people – we can turn these last two years of progress into 20 years of prosperity.

Kentucky’s biggest investment came from Ford this year. The company is investing nearly $ 6 billion to build a new electric car battery plant in Hardin County.

It is the largest capital investment and largest job advertisement in Kentucky history. The company is expected to create approximately 5,000 full-time jobs.

The governor said that in total, various companies have pledged to create more than 15,800 full-time jobs in the coming years.

“It means more options, better pay, and the security of knowing the job you’re going to do will be there for the next 40 years,” Beshear said.

However, there is another work-related issue Kentucky needs to resolve. The state currently has more jobs than workers. But Beshear says having a lot of jobs isn’t a bad problem to have.

“If we went back to March 2020 and April 2020, and if we had said to ourselves then that our economy in a year and a half is going to grow so much, we have more jobs than people, we would have said ‘okay’. meet this challenge, ”said Beshear.

But Beshear recognizes that the labor shortage must be addressed with creative solutions.

“The overall answer is that we have to be innovative,” Beshear said. “We need to look for new ways to attract new workers and create community in the workplace. One of the things we have started is a pilot project in Jefferson County public schools called ‘Everyone Matters’ and the goal is to ensure that everyone gets a place in higher education … or a well-paying job when they graduate from high school. It’s to make sure that we don’t lose people who are ready to enter the labor market. ”

Overall, Beshear says Kentucky’s economic success would not be possible without appropriate action to combat COVID-19. In less than a year, the state vaccinated 61% of its population. Kentucky is also number one in its region and above the national average for booster shots. However, the governor says that is not enough.

“I won’t be satisfied until this thing is done and no one dies from it.”

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