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Over $68 million in funding available for projects statewide

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 21, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced 46 site and building development projects in 45 counties have moved ahead to the due diligence stage for review in the second round of the Kentucky Product Development Initiative, with $68.8 million available to support the projects.

“The Kentucky Product Development Initiative is a crucial effort helping to ensure we have sites available for companies to grow and add new jobs to our already thriving economy,” said Gov. Beshear. “Identifying and developing new sites that are shovel-ready ensures that our local communities have everything they need to land major economic development projects. Congratulations to every community that is now one step closer to approval.”

The Cabinet for Economic Development initiative provides funding for local communities to further investments in site and building upgrades to support future, well-paying jobs and economic growth across Kentucky.

Round one of the program concluded earlier this month, with 53 projects statewide approved for $31.2 million in funding. Including local contributions, these projects are generating over $123 million in investments in Kentucky’s sites and buildings portfolio.

Currently, $68.8 million is available for projects entering the due diligence stage in round two. The projects have been reviewed by a third-party, independent site selection consultant, which evaluated, scored and submitted project recommendations to the Cabinet for Economic Development. Cabinet officials will consider each project and complete the final stage of due diligence for a recommendation of funding approval by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority in the coming months.

Projects selected for review by the Cabinet for Economic Development are located in 45 counties including: Adair, Bell, Boone, Breckinridge, Boyd, Butler, Caldwell, Campbell, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Edmonson, Floyd, Franklin, Fulton, Garrard, Graves, Green, Harrison, Hickman, Hopkins, Jessamine, Knox, LaRue, Laurel, Logan, Lyon, McCracken, Montgomery, Nelson, Oldham, Ohio, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Scott, Shelby, Simpson, Todd, Trigg, Wayne, Webster and Woodford.

Communities submitted applications for 69 site and building development projects for consideration in the second round of the program, and over 70% of all Kentucky counties were approved for funding under the pilot program and round one or have advanced for further due diligence under round two. Communities with projects not selected for funding are receiving valuable feedback from a third-party consultant on necessary site improvements and how they can be better positioned for future funding opportunities.

The initiative is a collaboration between the Cabinet for Economic Development 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.

“Kentucky’s local economic developers are tremendous champions for our commonwealth. We are excited to see that over the course of two years, they have assisted Kentucky communities in applying for these funds that well-exceed the $100 million appropriation from the General Assembly,” said Haley McCoy, president and CEO of KAED. “Site Selection Group (SSG), the third-party consulting firm that independently evaluates the applications, uses a rigorous scoring methodology to recommend investment in those projects that are best expected to generate an economic return. The lasting impacts of these strategic state investments cannot be measured in 24 months. Appropriations of this kind allow all communities the opportunity to create lasting growth. It is impressive to witness the partnership between the executive and legislative branches, non-profits and business entities who are providing a holistic approach to economic development. KAED is grateful to work with the legislature, Cabinet for Economic Development and SSG in this process. We are thankful for our utility partners (Atmos Energy, Big Rivers Electric, Duke Energy, Kentucky Power, LG&E and KU, TVA, Touchstone Energy Cooperatives/EKPC and Louisville Water) who, along with KAED, are covering the cost of independent consulting services to ensure each application receives an objective evaluation and feedback for continuous improvement.”

During the 2022 legislative session, Gov. Beshear and the Kentucky General Assembly approved $100 million in funding for the initiative.

Site and building development projects 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. The initiative furthers the efforts of the pilot PDI program, which provided nearly $7 million in state funding for 20 site development projects statewide. Companies have announced economic development projects at 10 of the locations funded during the pilot PDI program projecting $4 billion of capital investment and 3,500 new, full-time jobs.

Investment in site development throughout Kentucky furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.

Gov. Beshear recently reported that General Fund receipts for November 2023 totaled over $1 billion, marking the 15th straight month with revenues over $1 billion. The Governor also recently announced that his administration secured the largest General Fund budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund, as well as the most jobs filled in state history.

The General Fund budget surplus at the end of fiscal year 2023 was more than $1.55 billion. Nearly all of the $1.55 billion surplus will go into the commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the fund to a record balance of $3.7 billion – a 2,700% increase since Gov. Beshear took office in 2019.

This year, the Governor announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history.

Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced nearly 1,000 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling over $28.7 billion in announced investments, creating 51,265 jobs. This is the highest investment figure for any governor in state history.

The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 and 2023 topped $26 in consecutive years for the first time.

The Governor also secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth and announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK On celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. In April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at 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.

That position was strengthened even further in May 2023, when the Governor and leaders at Toyota announced a $591 million investment across multiple projects as the company’s largest manufacturing operation in Georgetown introduced its first battery electric vehicle. Growth within the EV sector continued into June as Gov. Beshear joined INFAC North America to break ground on the company’s $53 million investment to support EV-related production in Campbellsville.

Over a two-month period this year, Kentucky secured two credit rating increases from major agencies. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration obtained the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever upgrade from Fitch Ratings. On June 29, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth received its first-ever rating increase from S&P Global Ratings. Recently, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Kentucky’s credit outlook from stable to positive.

Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top-5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects. The publication also 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 announced a “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.

Learn more about the Kentucky Product Development Initiative at kpdi.ky.gov.

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.

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