As the global battle against COVID-19 continues, Kentucky's health care technology, service and products manufacturing industry not only fights the pandemic's spread, it also spurs high-wage, impactful opportunities for thousands of Kentuckians.
"The innovative health care companies that call the commonwealth home are key partners on Team Kentucky. These companies are supplying nations across the world with the tools needed to beat this global pandemic, all while providing high-paying, rewarding careers for Kentuckians," said Gov. Beshear. "Whether it's supplying devices, services, medicines and therapies, producing PPE or providing medical equipment, Kentucky's health care companies continue to improve global health as we build a better Kentucky."
One rapidly growing Louisville company, for example, delivers life-preserving ventilators and other much-needed medical equipment around the world. Avante Health Solutions, a health care equipment supplier specializing in affordable new and professionally refurbished products, underwent multiple expansions since 2015, including the addition of a new medical surgical division headquarters established last year. The company employs nearly 500 people nationally, with its Kentucky office comprising about a fifth of that workforce.
Considering Avante serves over 150 countries, the company's mission became even more critical amid the pandemic. Two recent examples include the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia, which received 12 ventilators from Avante - including one the company donated - and the Bahamas, which installed hospital beds from Avante specifically for patients suspected of having COVID-19 and displaying mild to moderate symptoms.
Avante is one of more than 200 health care related technology, service and manufacturing operations in Kentucky, an industry employing 37,000-plus Kentucky residents full time. Those operations include tech startups, six headquarters of top health care companies, pharmaceutical, medical equipment and medical device manufacturers and a number of health care products distributors.
Since 2014, health care companies have announced about 100 new or expansion projects expected to generate more than $645 million in investment and nearly 6,900 new jobs.
This year, approximately 100 manufacturing facilities in Kentucky used their expertise to make personal protective equipment - PPE - which is in high demand due to the pandemic. Some, like more than two dozen distilleries, were new to the health care industry.
These companies make barriers, masks, gowns, disinfectant, face shields, intubation boxes, ventilator components and, of course, hand sanitizer.
While the industry currently sits in the spotlight, Kentucky has long supported a diverse health care sector, one that's well-positioned for future growth. For companies looking to grow, Kentucky boasts an available skilled workforce, a key geographic location for distributing products in the U.S. and globally, and a range of office, manufacturing and Build-Ready sites available on www.SelectKentucky.com.
Kentucky also excels in medical equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals manufacturing, which contribute over $530 million annually to the state's economy. Kentucky's manufacturing excellence complements a host of other business-friendly traits, said Jeff Taylor, commissioner of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development's department for business development.
"Kentucky's manufacturing prowess, logistics leadership and strong R&D capabilities through its robust university systems are a few of the unique assets that make it an ideal spot for health care companies," Taylor said. "This industry presents a wealth of economic opportunity, and we are leveraging our commonwealth's advantages to support its continued growth."
The state's unparalleled logistics capabilities, as Taylor mentioned, pose enormous distribution advantages for businesses.
Kentucky's top-notch transportation infrastructure and its status as the only U.S. state with three major air cargo shipping hubs - operated by UPS, DHL and Amazon - enables businesses in the commonwealth to quickly and efficiently ship products across the country and around the globe. For companies dealing with products that save lives, that capability is essential.
To learn more about the growth opportunities in Kentucky, businesses should contact the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development by calling 800-626-2930, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting CED.ky.gov.