Connecting Two States — Another Ohio River Bridge Project

Milton Madison Bridge ProjectWhile the Ohio River Bridges Project has been getting most of the local publicity, another important bridge project is ongoing just up the river between Milton, Kentucky and Madison, Indiana. In fact, the $131 million dollar Milton-Madison Bridge Project – a joint effort between the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) – will soon be completed. This project is a new bridge, using elements of an older span that was completed in 1929, less just months after the stock market crash that started Great Depression. Eight decades and millions of vehicle crossings later, the bridge had deteriorated to the point that it needed to be replaced.

In 2008, KYTC and INDOT launched the Milton-Madison Bridge Project to replace the aging structure. Ironically, during the Great Recession of 2009, federal stimulus funding became available for infrastructure projects, which INDOT and KYTC aggressively pursued, obtaining a $20 million grant toward the cost of replacing the bridge. Ground was broken in November of 2010. State and federal funding have been identified for the remaining cost of the project, which is being evenly split. The project has been estimated to have created or preserved 1,400 jobs.

Innovative construction methods include the building of a new truss bridge on temporary piers alongside the existing bridge, which has allowed the bridge to stay open during construction. As the old bridge is demolished, the new truss will be slid onto the existing piers, which are being strengthened for reuse. The new bridge will look similar to the older span’s steel truss design, but will include wider lanes and be able to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians.

The Milton-Madison Bridge was named one of the top 10 bridge projects in the country in 2011 by Roads and Bridges Magazinereceived a 2012 Best of What’s New Award from Popular Science Magazine, and received several state and national engineering awards for innovation.

Interestingly enough, when the original bridge opened in 1929, drivers were required to pay a 45 cent toll and pedestrians a nickel, for crossing the Ohio. The new bridge is scheduled to be open later this year.

For more information, visit www.MiltonMadisonBridge.com.

The Downtown Bridge Groundbreaking — Connecting a Region with the Future

Ohio River Bridges ProjectPlease come out to join Governor Steve Beshear, Mayor Greg Fischer, and many other local leaders at the groundbreaking for the Ohio River Project’s Downtown Bridge. This family-friendly event will take place 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 18 at Louisville’s Waterfront Park. The Bridges Project, which includes the redesign of the Spaghetti Junction interchange and another new bridge in eastern Jefferson County, has been in the works for a long time.

“It’s been 50 years since we built a bridge across the Ohio River at Louisville and it seems like we’ve been talking about building these two bridges ever since then,” said Governor Beshear. “After decades of support and patience, the community should be part of this historic moment.”

The event will take place in the Lincoln Memorial Lot at Waterfront Park. Children can be a part of the ceremony by breaking ground on a large sand pile near the construction site. There will be 500 commemorative sand shovels handed out to the kids, who can use them to dig for one of 500 keepsake tokens that will be buried at the site.

Years of talk are finally becoming a reality, so please don’t miss this historic event!

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Update: KWIB Announces New Location for Kentucky Work Ready Communities Best Practices Summit

Kentucky Work Ready CommunitiesDue to overwhelming interest, the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (KWIB) is moving its first Kentucky Work Ready Communities Best Practices Summit on May 16 from 300 Fair Oaks Lane in Frankfort to the Capital Plaza Hotel at 405 Wilkinson Blvd. in Frankfort. Since more space is available, more people can register for the event by the April 30 deadline.

The event is from 8 a.m. – noon.

For more information, visit the Kentucky Work Ready Communities program website at http://workready.ky.gov.

Kentucky Work Ready Communities Best Practices Summit in May will help counties prepare for economic growth

Kentucky work ready communitiesFRANKFORT, Ky. (March 27, 2013) – The Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (KWIB) is hosting its first Kentucky Work Ready Communities Best Practices Summit May 16 from 8 a.m. – noon at 300 Fair Oaks Lane in Frankfort. Space for the summit is limited, so advance registration is required.

The free summit is designed to help communities that want to improve their economic development potential by working toward Kentucky Work Ready Communities certification. The certification assures employers that a local workforce has the talent and skills necessary to staff existing jobs and to master the innovative technologies new jobs will require.

“The Kentucky Work Ready Communities program has become so popular that we wanted to give community leaders an opportunity to share their successes and network with each other, and provide an event for communities that are interested in the program to learn more about it,” said Crystal Gibson, chair of the Kentucky Work Ready Communities Review Panel and vice president of Public Affairs at Citigroup. “Community leaders who have gone through the application process will speak at the summit and be available at table discussions to give insight into the program and how it has benefitted their areas.”

In the year since Kentucky launched the program, 19 counties have been certified as Work Ready or Work Ready in Progress, and 34 are going through the application process or have shown an interest in the program.

“The Kentucky Work Ready Communities program has strenuous requirements that show that a local area has the skilled workforce and community support necessary to be competitive in a 21st century economy,” said Ed Holmes, chair of KWIB. “The requirements are based on input from business and industry, and economic development leaders in Kentucky and that increases the appeal of the program for businesses that are looking to build or expand.”

To be designated a Kentucky Work Ready Community, business, education, economic and elected leaders must collaborate and apply for the certification. Counties have to meet criteria in six areas including high school graduation rate, National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) holders, demonstrated community commitment, educational attainment, soft-skills development and digital literacy. Boyle, Daviess, Henderson, Warren and Woodford counties have been certified as Kentucky Work Ready Communities.

If a community is close to certification and is committed to reaching the criteria in three years, it is may be designated as a Work Ready Community in Progress.

Summit participants will have an opportunity to network during a continental breakfast sponsored by the Foundation for Kentucky Industry, Kentucky Association of Counties and Kentucky Association for Economic Development. Representatives from Daviess, Hopkins, Madison, Pulaski, Russell and Trigg counties will discuss the six requirement areas of the Kentucky Work Ready Communities program and their best practices. Members of the program’s review panel will field questions from participants about the process and criteria.

The summit is geared toward Kentucky Work Ready Communities committee members, elected officials, economic development organizations, Chambers of Commerce, human resource managers, business owners, school officials, business and industry associations, community college representatives, P-16 Councils, adult education directors and Kentucky Workforce Investment Boards.

For more information, visit the Kentucky Work Ready Communities program website at http://workready.ky.gov.

Standard Register Company Expands Footprint into Southern Indiana

In a press release issued yesterday, One Southern Indiana announced that a new digital print and distribution center will soon open in River Ridge Commerce Center, creating more than 300 new jobs. Read the press release in its entirety below:

Jeffersonville, Ind. (March 26, 2013) – One Southern Indiana (1si), the chamber of commerce and economic development organization serving Clark and Floyd Counties, today announced Standard Register, a national workflow, communications and analytics solutions provider, will locate a new national digital print and distribution center in River Ridge Commerce Center in Jeffersonville, Ind. creating up to 360 new jobs by 2016. 

“The business climate in Indiana and desirable central location combined to make this a very attractive investment for Standard Register,” said Joseph P. Morgan, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Standard Register. 

“Our business climate provides cost, workforce and location advantages that put Indiana on the map as a state that works for business,” said Governor Mike Pence. “We’re honored that Standard Register has chosen the Hoosier State to expand and more efficiently operate its business, creating many new career opportunities for southeast Indiana workers.” 

The Dayton, Ohio-headquartered company will invest nearly $10 million to lease and renovate a 335,000 square-foot facility in the River Ridge Commerce Center, a state-certified shovel ready site in Clark County. The center, which is expected to be operational this summer, will house digital printing and distribution operations. Some operations from existing Standard Register facilities will be transferred to the new center. 

“This is further evidence that having a state-certified Shovel Ready Site matters when it comes to business attraction,” said Crossdock Development, Inc. President Lee Wilburn. “Through the Indiana Shovel Ready Program, we developed a state-of-the art facility that will benefit Standard Register. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome this outstanding company to our facility.” 

“It’s extremely exciting to have Standard Register join the growing list of diverse and vibrant companies discovering the many advantages a location at River Ridge Commerce Center affords,” said Jerry Acy, Executive Director of River Ridge Commerce Center. “We celebrate their location decision and look forward to their future success as our latest corporate resident.” 

“We are overjoyed Standard Register chose River Ridge Commerce Center as its location for this exciting project,” said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore. “The opportunities these 360 positions provide for our citizens are remarkable. And turning a vacant facility into an enhanced asset for both the company and the community is a definite win-win. The City of Jeffersonville wholeheartedly welcomes this dynamic company to our business community.” 

Founded 100 years ago, Standard Register has grown to more than 2,200 employees at 30 locations nationwide. The new Jeffersonville center will be the company’s second Indiana location. The company also has a facility in Shelbyville, Ind. which employs approximately 85 full-time associates. 

“Economic development is a team sport,” said Wendy Dant Chesser. “The benefits southern Indiana gains with Standard Register’s decision to locate here is a perfect illustration of a committed group of partners working toward shared results. On behalf of all 1si members and investors, I want to welcome Standard Register as southern Indiana’s newest corporate citizen.” 

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered The Standard Register Company up to $2,300,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $175,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning that until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. At the request of 1si, River Ridge Development Authority will consider additional property tax abatement through the business park’s enterprise zone. 

Standard Register is 1si’s 91st economic development announcement since its creation in July 2006. Collectively, these projects have committed to the creation of 8,707 new jobs representing $300,627,118 annually in new payroll dollars into southern Indiana’s regional economy. Together, these companies are investing $558,246,579 in new capital in Clark and Floyd Counties. 

About Standard Register:
Standard Register (NYSE: SR), celebrating 100 years of innovation, helps its customers optimize enterprise workflow and adapt to the rapidly-changing communications landscape with a portfolio of printed and digital communications and marketing solutions. In an environment where communication is more interactive than ever, faster than ever, delivered through more channels than ever and with results more measurable than ever, Standard Register provides value with industry-specific insights and by developing, executing and analyzing compelling communications campaigns to engage with targeted audiences. More information is available at http://www.standardregister.com/

About One Southern Indiana:
One Southern Indiana (1si) was formed in July of 2006 as the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization serving Clark and Floyd Counties. 1si’s mission is to provide the connections, resources and services that help businesses innovate and thrive in the southern Indiana/Louisville metro area. 

Since its inception, the organization has evolved to include a three-prong approach to serve its members and investors. Business Resources, as the chamber side of the organization, encompasses membership, signature events and programs which support and encourage business growth; Economic Development works to grow the regional economy through the attraction of new commerce and assists with retention and expansion of existing businesses; Advocacy supports businesses at the government level by engaging in initiatives to preserve, protect and promote a business friendly environment free of obstacles to growth and development of commerce. www.1si.org

From Rail to Trail—Big Four Bridge Opens to Pedestrians and Bicyclers

Big Four Bridge openingIt’s a project that has been in the works for more than two decades for the Waterfront Development Corp., but now the vision has become a reality. The Big Four Bridge that formerly served as a railroad bridge, officially opened to pedestrians and bicyclers today, February 7, 2013. This monumental development serves as a tremendous effort to connect the region between Louisville and Jeffersonville, Indiana, and to promote health and wellness.

Waterfront Development Corp. Executive Director David Karem said that this is “clearly the most anticipated project of Waterfront Park.”

The bridge originally got its name in 1895 from the railroad cities that were serviced through this railroad bridge—Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland and St. Louis—but a train hasn’t chugged across this bridge since the late 1960s.

Work on the Louisville side totaled $12 million to convert the railroad bridge to a cross-river bridge. The Indiana ramp, which is still under construction, has an estimated cost of $10 million. New cables for light installation were added along with metal benches, control boxes, and finishing wire for lights extending the Kentucky-side ramp.

Although Karem said that this 2,525 foot long bridge may still undergo some “fine tuning,” it is ready for pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

The informal ceremony this morning was presided over by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore. A dedication service is planned for mid-2013 when the Jeffersonville approach to the bridge is complete.

Pedestrians and bicyclers will have direct access to the bridge 24 hours a day, except on special occasions. What a great opportunity to connect and explore our region on both sides of the river! Hope to see on the Big 4!

 

image courtesy of Mayor Greg Fischer 

Building a Better Workforce Pipeline

We don’t have a jobs crisis in the world, we have a skills crisis. In fact, a recent study by McKinsey & Company found that 45% of U.S. employers say that lack of skills is the “main reason” for their high numbers of entry-level vacancies.

We knew that in 2007, when our 26-county region began work on the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development initiative (Wired65). Our primary goal back then was to help develop a more effective workforce pipeline, one where the needs of employers were more in sync with what the education and training providers taught. Sounds easy, right? Easier said than done!

Early College and Career CenterMore recently, some folks in Hardin County decided to do something about this problem, and on January 24, in what Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson called a one-of-a-kind partnership, Hardin County Schools (HCS), Western Kentucky University (WKU), Central Kentucky Community Foundation (CKCF), and Elizabethtown Community & Technical College (ECTC) announced that, working together, they were going to build an Early College and Career Center for Hardin County Students.

To be constructed on 20 acres adjacent to ECTC and WKU’s Elizabethtown Campus, the center will be convenient for high school students in Hardin County Schools to take courses in several career pathways. The pathways include, but are not limited to, health science, engineering (the Project Lead the Way curriculum), manufacturing, automotive technology, media arts & communication, and culinary arts & hospitality services—the current needs of local business and industry.

“We have heard loud and clear from our business partners that they are longing for workers with the ‘soft skills’ and work ethic skills to be successful in our community,” said Nanette Johnston, Hardin County Schools Superintendent. “Our vision is to continue to work collaboratively with our community and business partners and our post-secondary partners to create classroom experiences that parallel the real world.”

The partnership’s “aggressive goal” is to have the new facility open and operating by August 2014. That’s going to be a tough deadline to meet, but with the way this energized group is collaborating and working together to overcome obstacles, we won’t be surprised at all if they meet it.

“This is a wonderful example of a community coming together,” said CKCF President & CEO Al Rider. “We’re meeting the mandate to provide career-ready workers to local business and industry, while building compelling new strategies and partnerships.”

And the “winners” will be the students in Hardin County and a region that will continue to grow and prosper, all thanks to cooperation, innovation, and forward thinking!

Region Aims to Become a Model to Attract, Retain and Employ Military Veterans

The Kentucky Indiana Exchange (KIX) recently hosted a Regional Veterans Summit on Dec. 12 to discuss ways to attract, retain and employ military veterans throughout the bi-state region. During the summit, participants learned about the findings from a six-month regional asset mapping initiative that identified a wide array of resources available to veterans and opportunities for improvement. They also heard about the online “Veterans Resource Center,” located at kix.com, which provides an easy-to-use tool to locate training, entrepreneurial and employment opportunities

Retired Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, former senior commander at Fort Knox, was the featured speaker. Panel discussions included employers, educators, workforce professionals, veterans and more. The recurring theme was that Veterans have a lot to offer, and that overcoming the obstacles to employing them was not just in their best interests, but in ours. Why? Because harnessing the training, work ethic and both tangible and intangible skills of our military Veterans will help our current employers become more productive, and make us more attractive to businesses and industries looking to relocate or expand to our region

The first phase of this effort, which culminated in the summit, was made possible with funding from the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board (LTWIB). The goal of the overall initiative is not only to provide deserving and qualified Veterans a powerful technical tool that will make the resources they need easier to access, but also to build a regional, united effort to help these well-qualified individuals start lifelong careers with the potential for growth.

Several of the Regional Veterans Summit participants volunteered to help build upon and sustain the work that was started in the initial phase. More help, however, is needed if we’re going to fulfill the dream of making our region a national model for attracting, employing and retaining Veteran talent! So if you’re an employer, educator, Veteran or individual interested in being a part of this effort, please visit the kix.com “Contact Us” page and let us know what you can do to help. We’d appreciate it, and so would our Veterans and their families.

And if you’re a Veteran visiting kix.com to use the “Veterans Resource Center,” please leave anyfeedback and comments you might have to help improve the site.  And thank you so much for your service!

Fostering “Intrapreneurship” – Leadership Louisville Part II

Over the years I’ve often heard people talk about how the corporate culture stymies creativity and new ideas, and how companies lose their most talented people in pursuit of more innovative opportunities. Well, in our region there are employers doing just the opposite.

The Kentucky Indiana Exchange (Kix) has long sought to showcase the great entrepreneurial spirit of our region, but what about the “intrapreneurial” spirit of our employers? Maybe it’s a concept that some of you are aware of, but it was unknown to me until a recent visit to Signature HealthCARE as a member of the 2013 class of Leadership Louisville.

Signature Healthcare When we arrived for our monthly gathering, we were given the opportunity to select one of several regional employers, and I chose Signature. I had heard so much about the company — the decision its leaders made to move the headquarters to the region; the work they were doing with the University of Louisville to foster innovation and business start-ups in the long-term care industry; and about their leader, CEO Joe Steier, a Louisville native who guided the company’s move to Kentucky.

We spent much of the morning with our host Joe Barimo, the VP of Corporate Learning. His passion for the company was quite apparent. We then visited with what seemed to be the entire senior leadership team, including Joe Steier. We had a terrific exchange, learning about the company, their move to Louisville and Signature’s three organizational pillars – Learning, Spirituality and Intrapreneurship. Learning and Spirituality were certainly two concepts with which I was familiar, but not “Intrapreneurship.”

It’s the idea of acting like an entrepreneur within a larger organization where employees are expected to be innovative, to take risk and pursue the development of innovative products or services within the company. This style of management allows the employees to feel as if they’re part of something bigger, as well as something they have a stake in. Traits like conviction, zeal and insight are encouraged. As a result, employees become more likely to try the kinds of approaches they might take if they were running their own business. The end result can be a breakthrough technology or a new and profitable product line.

To some, particularly in a region where individuals and imaginations are thriving, it might seem like a “no-brainer.” For me, it was another great Leadership Louisville experience.

I can hardly wait to see what’s next. Till then…

Beth Avey is the Executive Director of the Kentucky Indiana Exchange

GLI Announces New President

GLI President Richard CraigThe Kix team would like to congratulate Craig J. Richard, Greater Louisville Inc.’s new President & CEO.

Craig comes to GLI from the Greater Houston Partnership where he has been serving as its Chief Economic Development Officer since 2008. He will officially begin his position as GLI’s new President & CEO on January 7, 2013.

His strong leadership experience and track record of economic development success makes him the perfect candidate to lead GLI’s growth strategies. In a phone interview with the Courier Journal, Richard said, “In the chamber world, Louisville is one of those top notch organizations that people admire. I had to leap at the opportunity.”

His background includes experience in economic development and chamber leadership, and he has held past positions with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Greater Dallas and Arlington, Texas Chambers of Commerce.

Craig holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Houston and Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the Virginia Commonwealth University. He is also a Certified Economic Developer from the International Economic Development Council.

Kix looks forward to having Craig join our board of directors and help our region continue to grow and prosper.