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Greater Louisville Inc. The Metro Chamber of Commerce 2019 Chamber of the Year
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July 22, 2021 9:44am

From the Desk of the CEO 7.22.21

With the third quarter underway we are officially halfway through the year, and I want to give a snapshot of the current state of our economy. I hope you take a few minutes to review our quarterly economic summary which we put out exclusively for our Top Investors. The trends show we have a lot to feel optimistic about including a return to pre-pandemic unemployment levels and an uptick in economic growth across most major industries.

Our economic development team is continuing to attract and locate new businesses to the region with 39 projects and over 16,000 potential jobs in the pipeline. In April we celebrated the five-year anniversary of the Greater Louisville Regional Partnership which allows GLI to support our county partners with project location and ensure prospective companies have a full overview of all our region offers.

We know that in order to continue our economic recovery, we must keep innovating and building our region’s competitive advantage. To continue this spirit of innovation, we hosted our Innovation Tour: Southern Indiana earlier this week to showcase just one of the invaluable assets of our region. We had over 40 business leaders join us for a hands-on experience at some of Southern Indiana’s most innovative companies who are breaking molds for their industries and putting our region on the cutting edge.

 

James Clarke, Vice President of Information and Technology at Mister “P” Express, assists Chad Deters, Sales Manager at Advance Ready Mix Concrete, Inc., with a driving simulator

 

Like you and your business, the past six months have been a whirlwind for GLI.  It is amazing to think back to January when there was incomparable uncertainty for what the year ahead would bring. When would we be able to fully reopen the economy? Could we have in-person events this year? How do we continue supporting businesses in crisis? We worked to answer these questions by coordinating closely with all levels of government, advocating for clear guidance for businesses and providing you the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccines and restrictions each week.

Our new virtual world did not stop our advocacy team from working diligently during the 2021 state legislative session to advocate for additional relief in the form of legal liability protections and needed changes to the Paycheck Protection Program to minimize potential negative impacts on businesses.

While recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a top priority for GLI, we also seized the opportunity to be proactive and lay the foundation to come back stronger as a region through the NOW Louisville plan.

Our work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has blossomed with the addition of our DE&I department, the launch of our Power to Prosper Minority Business Accelerator, and the Greater Louisville Racial Equity Pledge, which was later accompanied by a full toolkit and inclusion index. The Business Council to End Racism also supported and spearheaded efforts and policy changes to eliminate racial inequities in our economy. That included working with health systems and community groups to ensure equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution, advocating for meaningful criminal justice reforms like lowering the felony theft threshold, and most recently, supporting the launch of the Digital Transformation Academy.

We used our position as the voice of the business community to launch #LouNeedsYou to support the revitalization of downtown and our urban neighborhoods in coordination with our local partners. We generated momentum in talent attraction and retention, as well as workforce development, as many of our investors continue to feel the effects of a major workforce shortage. We created Finding You in Lou to retain highly talented interns in our region, and we also launched the Career Acceleration Network to increase access to equitable career mobility and support a strong homegrown workforce.

It has certainly been a busy six months for GLI, but I am extremely optimistic about our economy’s current trajectory. Every month our tourism numbers are increasing, we are recruiting new businesses and talent to the region, and jobs are plentiful. Everywhere you look there is something to celebrate and motivate us to keep pushing forward. In fact, just last week CBRE named Louisville in the “Next 25” for emerging tech talent markets in North America, with a 31% growth in tech talent employment numbers in the past five years.

I look forward to working together during the remainder of 2021 to grow our regional economy and make our region the best it can be.