Economist Says Advanced Manufacturing Should Include Infrastructure Focus

Jun 26, 2014


The mayors of Kentucky's two largest cities continue to promote an advanced manufacturing economic agenda.  A university economist yesterday cited the state's diverse business makeup as one of its strongest attributes.

Government, educational, and business leaders gathered in Louisville for a Global Cities Initiative Forum.  While an emphasis on advancing technology in the workplace continues, University of Kentucky economist Chris Bollinger says workplace diversity is good.  "One of the things that's really nice about Kentucky in general is that Kentucky has a wide variety of industries," said Bollinger.

Bollinger says traditional keys to economic progress found in water, sewer, roads, and telecommunications should not be discounted.   "You are not gonna win a mayoral election by saying I'm gonna make sure that we can get you water and sewer, because it's almost sort of a given.  But, if you actually look in the United States, we're starting to have problems with those infrastructure aspects," explained Bollinger.

Bollinger admits gains in education should always be recognized as a way to move any type of economy forward.   Also, at the forum was Bluegrass Community and Technical College President Augusta Julian.  She says there remains more work to do to get more students into community and technical colleges.  "I don't think we're there yet in terms of helping students understand the possibilities in either manufacturing or other types of industries that need hands on training. But, I think we are making progress," says Julian.

Julian says advanced manufacturing can cover everything from maintenance to production to high tech robotics.  She says 67 students at BCTC completed the industrial maintenance technician.   Julian says her educational institution can provide many workers for the advanced manufacturing center at Toyota scheduled to open in two to three years.​