The TIP Report: Wired65 Regional Competitiveness Strategy aims to help regional leaders identify the top challenges and opportunities for the area and lay out a game plan to address them. The TIP Report, compiled by TIP Strategies, reflects conversations with business and community leaders throughout the 26-county region, as well as extensive data analysis and a review of trends affecting economic and workforce development. It is based upon the TIP model of Talent, Innovation and Place, which communities across the country have embraced to achieve successful and sustainable economies.
The TIP Report is comprised of eight chapters, organized into four sections:
The 26-county region in Kentucky and Indiana that comprises Wired65 is one of great potential for growth and development, if regional leaders, educators, and employers can overcome the obstacles they currently face. The many challenges they face today include the changing workforce, types of jobs, and technology, along with the need for a better business climate to attract and retain talented workers, and the increase in technology with greater access to existing technology. This document addresses these obstacles along with providing strategic solutions to consider in overcoming those challenges. The Executive Summary goes into more detail of the topics this document addresses.
This section analyzes the region’s current state so that the future of the region is clear, and the changes that need to be made to improve the region can be identified. The factors that play into the economy are employment and industry, and business climate. This section looks at each employment sector and industry that best fits the region to find areas with a competitive advantage. It also looks at the business climate and how the region compares nationally. These analyses identify the current gaps and areas for improvement in the region.
In order to create economic opportunities across the region, there must be comprehensive, quality planning efforts to overcome the economic challenges this region faces. There are several trends that play into the economic state of the Wired65 region: shifts in global investment patterns, shortage of talent, increasing collaboration, growth in worldwide demand and growing importance of place. This chapter identifies these “fallout trends” and the regional implications that go with them.
This region already has many valuable assets that have potential to bring a competitive advantage. From the anticipated changes in Ft. Knox to the shifts in focus in business and the environment, the region has much of what it needs to be successful if applied in the right manner. The workforce opportunities, unique community and social values are at the core of this region, and can attract and retain a diverse group of talent to allow this region to thrive.
For the Wired65 region to be truly successful and competitive, there must be a congruence between the composition of demographics and the needs of the area. This section analyzes the demographic trends in the region and the factors that play into those trends such as growth or decline in population, and how the trends in this region align with national trends. Equally important to the vitality of the region are the labor market trends and the expectations for jobs in the future. This section also examines the labor market to identify alignment or gaps between available jobs and the labor pool.
Improving the skill level of the region’s workforce is a top priority. Increasingly rigid state and federal mandates, combined with decreasing budgets, inhibit the creation of a “seamless” system that starts with preschool and extends beyond college. The educational system today is far too complex for any single source to contain all the answers. Like most areas of the country, the Wired65 Region has no shortage of prescriptions for fixing the system. The purpose of this section is to examine some of those ideas in the context of the WIRED framework.
Fostering an entrepreneurial climate is a stated goal of the Wired65 leadership. This section looks at the range of activities that fall under the entrepreneurship umbrella and the regional assets to support them, including the state’s science and technology assets. The region’s entrepreneurship assets are highly concentrated in the Louisville metropolitan area. Our discussion of entrepreneurship focuses on two questions: Can an entrepreneurship model be defined that benefits the entire the region? And, how are entrepreneurship-related assets distributed throughout the region?
This section is organized around themes that will have a dramatic impact on the region moving forward with a focus on workforce and education: fix the pipeline, prepare for 21st century jobs, create a talent magnet, invest in priority sectors and focus on quality of place. A number of these strategies are already in place and should be extended throughout the Wired65 region, and others offer a new approach or perspective. Strategies related to all three aspects of talent management can be found: development (growing your own); retention (making the region “sticky” for current residents); and recruitment (becoming a magnet for skilled workers). The ideas presented here are intended to serve as a starting point for discussion within the region. The ultimate plan of action will be up to the region itself.
Wired65 engaged Next Generation Consulting to study the region with respect to the attraction and retention of young professionals. The Wired65 region has great quality of life attributes that it can build on in its quest to attract, retain and engage the next generation. These assets include affordable cost of living, a growing metro hub, and a college and university system that can import and keep talent in the region. The challenges include the perception of young professionals that one must leave the region to have a prosperous career and the need for public infrastructure to further connect the region. These pages provide inspiration for teaming with young professionals, their families, and the energy and pride they bring to the region.
In each of these chapters, the Regional Competitiveness Strategy examines the resources that can be leveraged for regional economic development, particularly in the areas of Talent, Innovation and Quality of Place.
Also, as part of the Wired65 planning process, Next Generation Consulting conducted an online survey and compiled “handprints” of the region’s metropolitan areas. In their report, Attracting and Retaining Talent to the Wired65 Bi-State Region, NGC presents key findings from this work, coupled with their unique understanding of what it takes to attract, retain, and engage the next generation. The report was included as Appendix I of the Regional Competitiveness Strategy.
The Strategic Framework presented in the Regional Competitiveness Strategy describes the following recommendations:
You can download the full Regional Competitiveness Strategy here.