FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 8, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear said up to $34 million in state funds are one step closer to being distributed to develop land and buildings in local communities to support new, good-paying jobs and economic growth across Kentucky.
There are 54 site and building development projects moving forward in the initial round of the Kentucky Product Development Initiative (KPDI). The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development (CED) is now reviewing each project for a recommendation of approval by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in the coming months. The projects will be announced once they are approved by KEDFA.
Gov. Beshear and the Kentucky General Assembly approved $100 million in funding for KPDI during its regular 2022 session. The $34 million represents the first round of funding to support economic growth across the state.
“This is a critical effort to ensure we have room for existing and new companies to grow their businesses and add new jobs to our already red-hot economy,” Gov. Beshear said. “Identifying and developing new sites that are shovel-ready makes sure our local communities are ready to land their next major economic development project.”
“This is great news for our commonwealth and an incredible opportunity for the communities receiving this first round of funding,” said Rep. Adam Bowling of Middlesboro, who sponsored the legislation that established KPDI. “The Kentucky Product Development Initiative is based on the simple premise that we have to be willing to invest in ourselves if we want to create jobs and corporate investment. This investment will go a long way toward increasing the quality and quantity of available sites and marks the next chapter in our progress to making this the best place to live and work. I applaud our partners in the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Kentucky Association for Economic Development for their work over the past 11 months in working toward this announcement.”
KPDI is a collaboration between CED and the Kentucky Association for Economic Development (KAED). It provides state support for potential upgrades to sites and buildings across the commonwealth to ensure Kentucky remains a prime location for growing companies across all industry sectors.
“We are excited about the success of this first round of statewide KPDI projects as it is giving communities across the commonwealth a resource for investing in their assets,” said Haley McCoy, president and CEO of KAED. “We had great participation last year, and KAED is looking forward to supporting communities as they prepare to apply in round two this year.”
Applications are first evaluated by an independent consultant based upon all facets a prospective company would consider, from workforce availability, access to all infrastructure and detailed information on costs associated with development. In turn, these projects will generate increased economic development opportunities and job creation for Kentucky residents. KPDI furthers the efforts of the pilot PDI program, which was established in 2019 and provided nearly $7 million in state funding for 20 site development projects statewide. Learn more about KPDI at kpdi.ky.gov.
Investment in site development throughout Kentucky furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced the creation of 43,200 full-time jobs and 828 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $24.6 billion in announced investments.
The Governor has now secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years.
That momentum continued strongly into 2022 with 248 new-location and expansion announcements totaling 16,000 full-time jobs behind nearly $10.5 billion in new investment.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.
Gov. Beshear also announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
Kentucky’s success has been noted by both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, which have upgraded the state’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy.
Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Gov. Beshear’s administration is projected to post the four highest years of budget surpluses in Kentucky history, and the state’s rainy-day fund has a record balance of $2.7 billion.
This week, Gov. Beshear announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.
This week, the Governor also announced that Kentucky set the lowest annual unemployment rate in state history for 2022 at 3.9%. This is the lowest rate seen since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting state unemployment rates in 1976.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.