Category Archives: Education

Education for Kentucky’s Aerospace Workforce

Kentucky’s aerospace industry is taking flight! At $7.7 billion, aerospace parts and products were Kentucky’s largest export category in 2014 and Kentucky exported more aerospace and aviation products that every other state, except California and Washington.

Lexington and the Bluegrass Region are particularly appealing to the aerospace industry because of the area’s extensive network of colleges, universities, and other educational institutions with aerospace and aviation programs working to develop the region’s workforce.

NASA Kentucky is located in downtown Lexington on the University of Kentucky campus and operates the Space Grant Consortium and EPSCoR program. The Space Grant is a higher education program funding students and supporting research and workforce development in STEM areas, as well as expanding access to other educational resources through networking. The NASA Exprimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) award programs support research and partnership with NASA and offer improved access to workshops, conferences, and seminars through grants.

The Aviation Museum of Kentucky (AMK)located in Lexington’s Bluegrass Airport, houses 20,000 square feet of restored historic airplanes and modern aircraft. Visitors learn about how aviation came to Kentucky and about the science of flight. The Museum strives to introduce young people to aviation and encourage aviation as a career. With the Learning through Aviation program, the AMK helps teachers bring aviation into the classroom and shows how STEM subjects build a foundation for successful aerospace and aviation careers. During the summer, the AMK’s Summer Camp introduces 10 to 15 year olds to aviation, teaching them the history of aviation, the principles of flight, aircraft and engine design, about aviation careers, and gives them hands on experience with a flight simulator and actual flights with instructors. Besides the primary Lexington location, camps are also held in Hazard, Bowling Green, Louisville, and Pikeville, and nearly one third of the campers attend for free through the Museum’s scholarship program.

Nearby, Eastern Kentucky University’s Aviation program offers the nation’s first FAA-approved 1,000-hour power aviation degree program. Students graduate with a concentration in Professional Flight, Aerospace Management, or Aerospace Technology, with supporting courses in mathematics, physics, and business management. Graduates are prepared for an array of aerospace and aviation careers, including piloting, aviation/aerospace management, military, and aerospace technology.

The National Air & Space Institute/Air & Space Academy is a four-year program operating in high schools throughout Kentucky, including several in the Bluegrass Region, that teach high school students aerospace concepts and skills through a STEM curriculum designed to prepare them for college and the aerospace industry. Students engage in online  course study, flight training, and competitions that apply knowledge and skill to create functioning aviation products, such as high performance wings or nanosatellites. Students can receive college credit for participation in the program, giving them a boost into their future careers.

How important is Kentucky’s specialized training and growing aerospace workforce? The Kentucky Legislature has directed the Cabinet for Economic Development, the Transportation Cabinet, and the Commission on Military Affairs to conduct a study on the aerospace and aviation industry in Kentucky. The report will look at where aviation/aerospace parts manufacturing facilities are located, their workforce needs, tactics to grow the industry and create more jobs, an understanding of the industry’s economic impact, and will provide an overall better understanding of how the aerospace/aviation industry affects Kentucky’s economy. Stay tuned!

Jobs in Lexington — Mapped!

Job creation, expansion, and retention are at the core of economic development. Numbers and an accompanying narrative are usually used to explain the economic state of Lexington and the Bluegrass Region, but an exciting new format has just been released.

Robert Manduca, a PhD student at Harvard University, used data from the U.S. Census Bureau Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics database to create an interactive map of jobs, modeled after Dustin Cable’s Racial Dot Map.

Every job in the United States is plotted on this map–or at least all of the jobs enrolled in state unemployment insurance programs and some federal jobs. In total, 96% of civilian wage and salary jobs are included.

Each dot represents one job and is color-coded by industry.

  • Red — Manufacturing and Trade
  • Blue — Professional Services
  • Green — Healthcare, Education, and Government
  • Yellow — Retail, Hospitality, and Other Services

JobsMap3_2

The job clusters of the Golden Triangle between Lexington, Louisville, and Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati are fairly sizable and easy to see, even zoomed out far enough to view the entire continental country. This high concentration of jobs is good news for our region and demonstrates our competitiveness.

Take a look at the Bluegrass Region and the surrounding area:

JobsMap4

A few details that reflect the region’s major employers pop out:

  • Frankfort is mostly green, which is expected from the state capitol.
  • The red area north of Lexington (around Georgetown) is Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Scott County, the second largest employer in the region with 7,900 employees.
  • The red grouping to the east of the city is Lockheed Martin, another major employer with around 1,100 employees.
  • The red grouping near Berea is Tokico (USA) Inc. (Hitachi) in Madison County with 1,350 employees.
  • The red area near Versailles consists of Osram Sylvania Glass Plant, Quad/Graphics, Pilkington North America, Inc., and Yokohama Industries America Inc. in Woodford County. Together these companies employ almost 2,400 people.
  • The red south of Lexington is the Enterprise Industrial Park in Jessamine County.

Lexington has a mix of all four colors and industries, illustrating the city’s healthy economic diversity.

JobsMap1

Healthcare, education, and government jobs (green dots) and manufacturing and trade jobs (red dots) are clearly prominent in Lexington.

Education is one of Lexington’s strengths. Just over 40% of Lexingtonians have a bachelor’s degree or higher and 17.2% have a graduate or professional degree, far above the national and state averages. Not surprisingly, the University of Kentucky is the region’s largest employer with 12,430 employees and is primarily represented by a solid block of green in the near-center of the city. Fayette County Public Schools is also a major employer with 5,427 employees spread throughout the city boosting the number of green dots.

Healthcare facilities also sustain a sizeable portion of the workforce in Lexington. Theses jobs appear throughout the city, with large concentrations in the south-center, center, and south-east. In addition to providing an abundance of quality patient care, these centers conduct cutting-edge research and help attract biotech and high-tech companies. Below are a few of the highest healthcare employers:

  • KentuckyOne Health: 3,000 employees
  • Baptist Health: 1,924 employees
  • Veterans Medical Center: 1,565 employees
  • Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital: 1,000 employees

Manufacturing is another major part of Lexington’s economy. The majority of manufacturing and trade jobs are concentrated in the north area of Lexington and include some of the city’s major employers: Lexmark (2,145 employees), Amazon.com (1,200 employees), Trane (1,000 employees), Link-Belt Construction Equipment Co. (750 employees), Webasto Roof Systems (720 employees), Big Ass Solutions (550 employees), and Schneider Electric (500 employees), among others.

The Fayette Mall and Hamburg Pavilion shopping centers are also easily distinguishable.

Maps like this are an excellent tool when planning transportation, housing, emergency routes, city services provision, zoning, and events. By showing the spatial patterns, clusters, and concentrations of industries and jobs, maps offer another way to understand the community’s economy and compare to other cities.

For data nerds, the NAICS codes used are:

  • Red, Manufacturing and Trade – 11 (Agriculture and Forestry), 21 (Mining), 22 (Utilities), 23 (Construction), 31-33 (Manufacturing), 42 (Wholesale Trade), 48-49 (Transportation and Warehousing)
  • Blue, Professional Services – 51 (Information), 52 (Finance and Insurance), 53 (Real Estate), 54 (Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services), 55 (Management of Companies and Enterprises)
  • Green, Healthcare, Education, and Government – 61 (Educational Services), 62 (Health Care), 81 (Other Services – largely Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations)
  • Yellow, Retail, Hospitality, and Other Services – 44-45 (Retail Trade), 56 (Administrative and Support Services), 71 (Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation – largely Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation), 72 (Accommodation and Food Services)

Note: Data represents 2010. 

12 Reasons That Lexington is the Perfect College Town

“The most successful economic development policy is to attract and retain smart people and then get out of their way.” – Edward Glaeser, Harvard economist

Home to fifteen institutions of higher education and boasting one the nation’s most educated workforce’s, Lexington has a proud academic tradition (Transylvania University is the 16th oldest college in the nation). As the University of Kentucky’s enrollment tops 30,000 students for the first time (thanks to a record number of out-of-state students) – we’re excited to report that the Lexington metro has been recognized by the American Institute for Economic Research as one of the top college destinations in America.

University of Kentucky Campus
University of Kentucky Campus. Source: University of Kentucky

In a ranking of small metros (MSAs with 250,000 to 1 million residents), Lexington beat out other well-known destinations like Honolulu and Tallahassee and scored top marks in categories like cost of housing and arts and leisure. Here’s the full list:

12 Reasons that Lexington is the Perfect College Town

Opportunities (we got ‘em)

  1. $6,580 – academic research and development expenditure per student in the MSA
  1. 35.2% – percent of people 25 years and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in the MSA
  1. $27,365 – median earnings for metro workers (higher than Ann Arbor, MI and Provo, UT)

 Student Life (it’s good)

  1. 113 – number of students per 1,000 metro residents
  1. $717 – fair market rent of a 2-bedroom apartment
  1. 4.4% – percentage of workers that bike, walk, or take public transportation

Culture (it’s diverse)

  1. 43 – number of arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments per 100,000 people
  1. 3.3% – percentage of students that are foreign born
  1. 6.5% – percentage of workers that work in innovative fields like engineering, architecture, design, and the like

Economic Health (consistently robust)

10. 6.7% – average metro unemployment rate in 2013

11. 1.01 – annual change in share of population with college degrees

12. – 22.3% – net change in businesses per 100,000 residents from 2008-2011 (that’s actually a decrease, which follows national trends. Nashville, for example, experienced a 29.5% decrease in entrepreneurial activity during the same period).

Boom Town is straight-up crushing it, but don’t take our word for it – you can get it straight from Henry Clay himself:

CLX Economic Development Team

 Commerce Lexington Update

  • SRC of Lexington, a remanufacturer of engines, drive engine components and hydraulics for industrial equipment, announced plans to create up to 50 new jobs and invest nearly $1.9 million into expansion.
  • Kiplinger named Lexington the 7th most affordable big city in America.
  • Kentucky ranks 8th in the U.S. for best business climate, according to Site Selection magazine’s yearly Top US Business Climate rankings.
  • Global Entrepreneurship Week is November 17th through the 23rd.  Click here to learn more and to view the schedule of events.