by Gabe Bullard
A new report says Louisville faces several challenges in attracting 21st Century Jobs.
The Greater Louisville Project’s Competitive City Report will be released today. It ranks Louisville among peer cities such as Nashville, Indianapolis and Raleigh. In areas such as education attainment, median income and safety, Louisville ranks near the middle. Project director Carolyn Gatz says those areas and others need to be improved to make the city more competitive at attracting new business and jobs.
“Some things like shoring up the older housing stock and revitalizing neighborhoods that have been hollowed out, environmental challenges, we all know we have those, particularly air quality,” she says.
Gatz says all of those factors contribute to the city’s livability, which is becoming an increasingly important factor in attracting high-tech industries.
“What are the qualities of a city where people will come and live here who really could’ve lived anywhere—they could’ve put their business anywhere?” she says. “They are the highly-skilled knowledge workers every city is competing for.”
Another important factor is education. About 30 percent of working-age Louisvillians have bachelor’s or higher degrees, and Gatz says that needs to improve.
“The economic development people say you have to be able to tell an employer, yes, we have an educated workforce, before they’ll even consider coming to your community,” she says.
Education leaders recently came together to work on improving Louisville’s college graduation rate. The leader among peer cities for working-age degree holders is Raleigh, with 49 percent.