FRANKFORT, Ky. — On Thursday, during his Team Kentucky Update, Gov. Andy Beshear said that “Kentucky’s economy is on fire” after the state surpassed $2.2 billion in total planned private-sector investment with more than 5,000 full-time jobs announced already this year.
“Kentucky’s economy is surging, and there’s no end in sight,” said Gov. Beshear. “As we move into the second half of 2021, we are positioning the commonwealth for long-term growth. We are more and more certain that we are walking into better and better times.”
The Governor reminded Kentuckians there is less than one week left to get vaccinated and sign up for the state’s second Shot at a Million drawings. He discussed the Better Kentucky Plan, funding for city governments, the COVID-19 delta variant and an independent review of Kentucky State University’s finances. During the update, he honored this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.
Kentucky’s Economic Momentum Surges
Kentucky’s economy is booming with Gov. Beshear highlighting more than 1,100 new jobs in the commonwealth this week alone.
- GE Appliances: Gov. Beshear joined executives from GE Appliances, a Haier company, to celebrate the completion of the company’s $60 million expansion at its global headquarters in Louisville to add 4-door refrigerator production, a project creating more than 245 full-time jobs. To learn more, see the full release.
- Dollar General: The Governor also joined Dollar General as it opened a 630,000-square-foot distribution center in Walton, representing a $65 million investment. At full capacity, the dry-goods distribution center will directly employ 250 people and generate 50 private-fleet jobs as its operations support more than 800 Dollar General stores across multiple states. To learn more, see the full release.
- Fidelity Investments: The Governor and Fidelity Investments leaders celebrated the company’s plans to hire nearly 600 people in Covington, adding to hundreds of hires at the financial services company’s Kenton County campus since the beginning of 2020. To learn more, see the full release.
Better Kentucky Plan
On Thursday, the Governor updated Kentuckians on his Better Kentucky Plan, an initiative that will boost the state’s economy using more than $750 million to build schools, deliver clean drinking water and improve access to broadband.
- Better Schools: On Wednesday, the Governor announced that the Kentucky School Facilities Construction Commission is now accepting applications for $75 million in grants for vocational school upgrades. To learn more, see the full release.
- Cleaner Water Program: This week, Gov. Beshear awarded the first grant from the $250 million Cleaner Water Program, which will upgrade water and sewer systems across the commonwealth. The Shelbyville Municipal Water and Sewer Commission will use $1.8 million in funding to construct a new 36-inch gravity sewer main to the new Shelbyville Wastewater Treatment Plant. To learn more, see the full release.
- Better Internet: In June, the state launched a Request for Information to solicit input from broadband networks owned, operated or affiliated with local governments, nonprofits and cooperatives, as well as private providers. The RFI called upon broadband providers to submit ideas, suggestions and comments as the state develops the process for distributing $300 million in funding to expand internet access to unserved communities across the commonwealth. More than two dozen interested parties responded to the RFI. The information provided will assist in the development of the formal Request for Proposals, which will be released later this summer.
Funds for City Governments
Thursday, Gov. Beshear announced more than $157 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act will be distributed to more than 360 non-entitlement cities in Kentucky to offset expenses related to COVID-19. For more information, see the full release.
The Governor said the delta variant is the most aggressive, contagious variant seen to date in the battle against COVID-19. On Tuesday, 1,054 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Kentucky – the highest since March 11. On Wednesday, an additional 963 COVID-19 cases were reported.
Due to the delta variant’s spread, on Monday, Gov. Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, issued new recommendations for Kentuckians who are: unvaccinated; high-risk; and/or work in jobs that require significant contact with the public. To learn more, see the full release.
“Please come together as a community. We need local leaders to message and demonstrate through their actions that vaccines are important and they’re what we do to keep ourselves safe,” said Dr. Stack.
The Governor also encouraged all Kentuckians 12 and older to get a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and then sign up for a chance to win $1 million or a full college scholarship at ShotAtAMillion.ky.gov. One $1 million winner and five full-scholarship winners have already been selected. On both July 30 and Aug. 27, another $1 million winner and five more full-scholarship winners will be chosen randomly.
So far, 697,763 vaccinated Kentuckians have signed up for the $1 million drawing and 39,313 vaccinated youth have signed up for the full scholarship drawing.
“These vaccines are life-saving and for a few lucky Kentuckians, they’re going to be completely life-changing, too,” said Gov. Beshear.
Gov. Beshear Calls for Independent Review of Kentucky State University Finances
On Tuesday, Gov. Beshear requested a full, independent and transparent accounting of Kentucky State University’s finances and signed an executive order to ensure the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education is empowered and has the necessary tools to provide guidance and oversight during the review. To learn more, see the full release.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
This week, the Governor honored the Powell County Search and Rescue Team as Team Kentucky All-Stars for their continued service to Kentuckians visiting Red River Gorge and surrounding areas.
“Each day you show up to ensure residents and visitors of Powell County and the Gorge have access to the quickest and safest rescues when necessary,” said Gov. Beshear. “You and the entire team of volunteers show the true meaning of selflessness, bravery and compassion. Thank you for all you continue to do.”
As he recognized these All-Stars, Gov. Beshear issued an acclamation in memory of one person who inspires their work: Don Fig, who spent nearly five decades serving Kentuckians – initially in law enforcement and later leading rescues in Red River Gorge. In 1962, Fig initiated the Red River Gorge Search and Rescue Team. During his career, he participated in approximately 1,660 rescues, which the Governor called “a heroic number unlikely to be matched.”
Sadly, Fig passed away in 2020, but his legacy lives on through the dedicated team of search and rescue members who still carry out his mission.