Call to Order and Roll Call
The1st meeting of the Subcommittee on Rural Issues of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, at 10:00 AM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Mike Denham, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Stan Humphries, Co-Chair; Representative Mike Denham, Co-Chair; Senators C.B. Embry Jr., Chris Girdler, David P. Givens, Paul Hornback, Dorsey Ridley, and Whitney Westerfield; Representatives Will Coursey, Myron Dossett, Jim Glenn, David Hale, Richard Heath, Kim King, Tom McKee, Suzanne Miles, Terry Mills, Bart Rowland, Steven Rudy, Dean Schamore, Jeff Taylor, Tommy Thompson, and Tommy Turner.
Guests: Mandy Lambert, Commissioner, Department for Business Development, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, John Bevington, Deputy Commissioner, Department for Business Development, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Caroline Baesler, General Counsel, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Robin Cooper, Chief Member Services Officer, Kentucky League of Cities, and Tad Long, Community Development Manager, Kentucky League of Cities.
Economic Development in Rural Kentucky
Mandy Lambert, Commissioner, Department for Business Development, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and John Bevington, Deputy Commissioner, Department for Business Development, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development discussed economic development efforts in rural Kentucky. Ms. Lambert explained that 158 location and expansion projects and 13,203 new jobs were announced in 2016. Members learned that top jobs in rural Kentucky include jobs in the food and beverage industry, business and financial services, and automotive industries. Ms. Lambert stated that $339.5 million had been invested in the food and beverage industry and $310.6 million had been invested in the automotive industry. Ms. Lambert explained the impact of foreign direct investment on rural Kentucky. As of October, 35 percent of Kentucky’s announced investment, 25 percent of Kentucky’s announced new locations and expansions and 23 percent of Kentucky’s announced new jobs has come from foreign direct investment. Thirty-four nations have facilities in Kentucky.
Mr. Bevington updated the members on the Select Kentucky Build Ready Program. Select Kentucky is a valuable tool for prospective clients and existing industry and is used by 65 different countries on six continents. About $100 million is available through the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative. Over $500 million in pre-applications have been received, and 114 pre-applications have been received. It is anticipated the committee will make final decisions in November. The Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) was developed to address the need for advanced manufacturing careers with Kentucky manufacturers. KY FAME is a dual-track, apprentice-style training in which students attend classes up to 10 hours a week and work 24 hours a week. There are more than 341,100 small business establishments in Kentucky that employ approximately 700,000 Kentuckians. Mr. Bevington stated that 96.5 percent of businesses in Kentucky are small businesses.
In response to Senator Givens, Mr. Bevington explained the Cabinet for Economic Development serves as an advisor in the Work Ready Skills Initiative. Mr. Bevington explained that it is anticipated that 80 percent of the $100 million in funding will be approved in the 1st round of applications. The remaining funding will be held for a second round of funding applications. Ms. Caroline Baesler stated that good, quality projects must be approved and the intent is not to just spend the funding.
In response to Representative Denham, Ms. Lambert stated the difficulty in finding a drug free workforce is not only a Kentucky problem but a national problem. Industry wants to get involved in addressing the issue.
Overview of Economic Development Efforts in Rural Kentucky
Robin Cooper, Chief Member Services Officer, Kentucky League of Cities and Tad Long, Community Development Manager, Kentucky League of Cities (KLC), provided an overview of economic development efforts in rural Kentucky. Mr. Cooper stated KLC represents 370 cities throughout Kentucky. Of that, 291 have a population of 5,000 or less. KLC offers its members a variety of services, including legislative and advocacy services, community consulting services, grant writing assistance, financial assistance for capital projects, legal services, and training programs.
Mr. Long explained how KLC works with small cities to have similar benefits of that of larger cities. KLC partners with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to educate mayors and other city officials on ways to build stronger communities. KLC assists cities to expand small business, grow local economy and increase industry, service and tourism opportunities. KLC will focus on a legislative agenda that reflects issues that mayors feel is important to the betterment of their cities. Critical issues include infrastructure, broadband services and financial partnerships.
In response to Representative Denham, Mr. Long stated KLC partners with Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo). Mr. Cooper added KLC assists with bonds.
In response to Senator Givens, Mr. Cooper and Mr. Long explained that it is part of KLC’ mission to reach out to communities and to travel to rural areas to offer services to members. Some small cities find its attributes to be tourism due to a lack of manufacturing opportunities. KLC works to create a better livability for residents.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.