Every company recognizes the importance of locating in a region that offers the necessary amenities to provide peace of mind for employees that they and their families will be safe and have opportunities to grow. The decision to locate in a new area is one that comes with a long-term commitment. While quality of life to some may not seem like the first thing to consider in the site selection process, those doing their due diligence fully understand the role it plays in a company’s sustained success. As a younger workforce values the importance of quality of life more than ever, companies are taking note.
That is one of the many reasons so many businesses are considering Kentucky. In the commonwealth, companies are guaranteed to find a location that meets their standards for strong quality of life, regardless of the criteria.
One of the first things company leaders notice is just how affordable it can be to locate in Kentucky. The commonwealth ranked in the top quarter nationally in an affordability assessment presented in U.S. News & World Report, based on cost of living and housing affordability. But that’s just a small piece of the story.
CNBC’s 2019 ranking of America’s Top States for Business ranked Kentucky first for the lowest cost of doing business in the nation and second based on infrastructure. Low utility rates, availability of incentives, shorter than average commutes, and the viability of the existing transportation system were all factors that greatly contributed to those rankings.
Quality education is of the utmost importance to employers and employees alike in raising a family, and Kentucky is home to some of the best opportunities in the region. Based on the most recently available data from U.S. News & World Report, the commonwealth has the top high school graduation rate in the country at 94 percent. In addition to a number of widely recognized universities, the state is home to the Gatton Academy of Mathematics & Science located on the campus of Western Kentucky University. The academy has been listed on the Jay Mathews Challenge Index as a Public Elite School for 10 consecutive years.
Equally important is the availability of top-of-the-line healthcare, an industry that has grown exponentially in Kentucky over the years. Louisville has established itself as a hub for innovation within the rapidly evolving industry, from the development of groundbreaking technologies to first-of-their-kind operations. The city’s leading role has been felt across the state, with greatly increased access to healthcare for residents and a number of startup ventures with hopes to make the next great breakthrough.
With its vast array of education and healthcare opportunities that create avenues for innovative workforce training initiatives, it’s no wonder economic development leaders anticipate the commonwealth could boast one of the strongest skilled workforces in the country in the years ahead.
Recreational & Cultural Opportunities
Kentucky communities aren’t just home to highly regarded institutions, they are part of the appeal themselves. Named the No. 1 Most Beautiful Small Town in America in 2012 by Rand McNally/USA Today, Bardstown in central Kentucky also has been coined the Bourbon Capital of the World. As if that wasn’t enough of a selling point, the same sources have named Murray in southwest Kentucky the Friendliest Small Town in America for five consecutive years.
Keeneland Race Course brings together Lexington’s love of horse racing with one of the most beautiful venues in the industry, and will be home to the 2020 Breeders’ Cup, the first time the track has hosted the premier event since 2015. Each year, Louisville becomes the center of the sporting universe on the first Saturday of May, when 20 of the fastest three-year-old thoroughbreds in the world take part in the Run for the Roses. The 146th edition of the Kentucky Derby is set for May 2 and promises to once again deliver the most exciting two minutes in sports.
No overview of Kentucky is complete without a little bourbon, and there is plenty to be found along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail stretching from Owensboro to Lexington. The route encompasses 18 distilleries across the commonwealth and provides a unique view of the landscape of the Bluegrass State, where 95 percent of the world’s bourbon is produced.
Kentucky also has eight state parks and five national parks, including America’s longest cave system at Mammoth Cave, and every outdoorsman’s dream with the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation area at the southwest edge of the state. Add that Kentucky has six creative districts spread throughout the commonwealth in Bardstown, Berea, Covington, Danville, Maysville, and Paducah, and there is something for everyone, regardless of interest.
When a company’s decision-makers consider quality of life, they may think of any number of factors. But one thing is certain: if they want it all, they should Think Kentucky.