Friday, November 26, 2010

Economic and Education Leaders Create Workforce-Aligned Academies

Leaders from regional school districts and the Owensboro Community and Technical College will join economic development officials, regional employers and community leaders to kick off the Community Campus program, an innovative high school reform model that will create five workforce-aligned academies utilizing the community as the campus.

The five workforce academies are in Health and Life Sciences; Construction, Trades and Energy; Science, Technology and Engineering; Business and Entrepreneurship; and the Arts.

The announcement will take place on Monday, November 29 at 10 a.m. in the Advanced Technology Center at the Owensboro Community and Technical College.  A meeting of parents and students interested in participating in one of the five academies will take place on Monday, November 29 at 6:30 p.m. in Blandford Lecture Hall at OCTC.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Owensboro Unemployment at Lowest Level in Two Years

The Owensboro MSA monthly unemployment rate in September dropped to 8.6 percent, the lowest level since December 2008.  At its peak during the recession, regional unemployment hit 11 percent, but remained lower than the state and national levels throughout most of the recession.  

"We are starting to see the effects of much of the positive economic activity from earlier in the year," said EDC President/CEO Nick Brake.  "We are in the midst of a building boom with multiple private and public projects that are putting people to work in construction.  Much of this construction will translate to jobs in the coming year in the financial industry and health care."

According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate for September was 9.1 percent.  The rate for Kentucky was 9.8 percent.

Despite the Bumpy Economy it is a Year to be Thankful in Owensboro

US Bank Construction in Mid America Airpark
While the national recession has reared its ugly head in Owensboro through 2010, on the balance this thanksgiving is a time to be thankful that our region is prospering with an unprecedented wave of building projects spurring economic activity, job creation, and enthusiasm that will hopefully translate into more good news in 2011.

The nearly $1 billion worth of construction projects currently underway include the following:

KBP Expansion

  • the construction of the new US Bank Mortgage Processing Center in the Mid-America Airpark that will add 500 jobs in 2011;
  • the new OMHS, which will add at least 300 health care workers in the coming years;
  • an addition to Kentucky BioProcessing, part of the $17 million contract with the Department of Defense;
  • the $37 million completion of the US 60 bypass, which provide a four lane connection between I-64 and I-65;
  • a new National Guard Armory at the Owensboro-Daviess County Airport;
  • New Hospital Construction 
  • the $40 million riverfront development project, which coupled with the $79 million locally funded downtown revitalization package will totally transform the riverfront and downtown Owensboro in the coming years. 
Riverfront Development Project
All total these projects are creating 10,000 construction jobs this year and in 2011.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bill Monroe, bluegrass music and Owensboro to be featured on Times Square billboard

OWENSBORO, Ky. — The late father of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, will be playing soon in New York's Times Square to promote the Kentucky celebration of the centennial of his birth.
The convention and visitors bureau for Owensboro and Daviess County, Ky., is putting a 15-second ad on a digital full-motion billboard on New York's 42nd Street.

Visitors bureau executive director Karen Miller told the Messenger-Inquirer of Owensboro that the spot will feature Monroe, bluegrass music and Owensboro and will run 18 times a day for 48 days at a cost of $15,000.

It will run from Nov. 15 to Jan. 1, times that will cover the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration.

Online: Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau's new website,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Owensboro’s KBP is building a biotech mousetrap

In his "Beyond 5 Percent" Blog, OMHS President Dr. Jeff Barber offered some excellent insight about the work of Kentucky BioProcessing in creating a plant pharmaceutical cluster in Owensboro:

To paraphrase the famous quotation, Owensboro’s KBP is building a better biotech mousetrap, and it looks like the world may soon beat a path right to its door. In fact, large corporations, international governments, and even the U.S. Department of Defense are already knocking. I am confident KBP will succeed, and when that happens, we could be witnessing the birth of a new industry in our region, one that could completely reinvent the local economy. Here’s what my friend and colleague Hugh Haydon, KBP chair, says about this endeavor.

“I’m convinced that this venture is about more than KBP or OMHS. It’s about Owensboro demonstrating the vision and ability to establish a foothold in a very significant industrial sector, the way other areas built an automobile industry or Silicon Valley.”

Bold thoughts, indeed, but take a look at what KBP is doing, and you’ll see why the future seems so optimistic.

The next generation of drugs and vaccines, forecasts say, will increasingly utilize proteins derived from various biological production systems. In fact, a version of the tobacco plant so long associated with our region is the basis for just such a system. This plant is already playing a key role as researchers discover new ways to produce critical proteins through the use of genetic enhancements.

But here’s the challenge: should a breakthrough discovery be made or a vaccine be invented, how would you harvest proteins on a scale large enough for mass production? Lab results are wonderful, but replicating them on a commercial scale presents a completely different challenge, one that is usually time-consuming and extremely expensive.

Click here too read the rest of Dr. Barber's Blog.