If you're familiar with the book Rise of the Creative Class, you'll appreciate our afternoon speaker today at GLIDE Toronto. Kevin Stolarick is the numbers guy behind the book; the one who analyzed the data and extracted the trends.
Kevin got us thinking today about the difference between growth and prosperity. He shared this insight: from 1990-2000, Las Vegas was the fastest-growing metro area in the U.S. But in terms of per capita income growth, it was number 323. Growth alone, he noted, does not necessarily equate to prosperity.
So what should communities focus on if not growth? First, they have to know where they want to go, or they can't measure if they’re successful getting there. Greater Louisville has already invested its sweat equity in this important step: we've figured out what we want to be. Our regional vision is to be an idea capital for the world, a place where individuals and imaginations thrive. This is a good first step, but it's only a step. Now, we are doing the hard work of getting there, and looking for the best ways to measure our success.
Notice that a key part of Greater Louisville’s vision deals with individuals - people. Talent is more important than ever to community success. And Kevin reminded us that talent is not a "stocked" resource a community has, but a flow of opportunity. Educated workers are moving from community to community chasing the perfect balance of two things: careers and quality of life. Cities must have both in order to thrive.
Note that Kevin didn't say "jobs and quality of life" but "careers and quality of life." That’s because, according to Kevin, careers have become far more important to our workforce than jobs. 20 years ago people introduced themselves by where they worked. Now, they introduce themselves by what they do. They are engineers, not just GE employees.
Building a skilled workforce around career opportunities is more important than ever, as we've seen in Louisville with advanced manufacturing, logistics and health care. And equally important are the amenities our city has to offer these skilled careerists.
Today’s college students say they will not take a job – even their dream job – if it’s located in a city in which they don’t want to live. So you can see how important Louisville's arts and cultural attractions are to our workforce development. GLI is often asked why it is so engaged with issues like education and the arts; issues traditional chambers and economic development organizations haven't invested in. Our GLIDE trip to Toronto is showing why our focus in these areas is critically important to our regional prosperity. And why a prosperous future for all citizens is more important than just simply pursuing growth for Greater Louisville.
Annual Meeting: 2013 Full Event Video from Greater Louisville Inc. on Vimeo.
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