In the 21st century global economy, Louisville is no longer competing only with regional cities like Nashville and Indianapolis to attract high-quality jobs. We are competing with cities around the world.
A highly skilled workforce is a key draw for high-wage employers -- which, in turn, lures even more college graduates to the community. That's why building our reputation as a city of lifelong learners is one of Mayor Greg Fischer’s main goals for Louisville.
“Education improves the life of an individual, the future opportunities of that individual's family, and the economy of the entire community," said Fischer.
Louisville has clearly articulated goals and plans for raising educational attainment, including:
- 55,000 Degrees -- a ground-breaking collaboration of top education, business and civic leaders who are working together to ensure that Louisville builds a college-going (and college-completing) culture. The goal is 55,000 more degrees (both two-year and four-year) by 2020. Recognizing the need to close racial gaps in educational achievement, the city is also working with African-American leaders to launch 15,000 Degrees, pledging that at least 15,000 of the new degrees will be held by African-Americans. Similarly, Louisvillians with Hispanic/Latino backgrounds have created “Behold! 1500 Latinos”.
- Out-of-School Time Coordinating Council: In June, 2012, Louisville Metro Government, the local public schools and Metro United Way began working together with the Wallace Foundation to create better enriching activities for children during non-school hours. Most of the programs are housed at city community centers. This is just one of the ways that Louisville supports Jefferson County Public Schools, the nation’s 28th largest school district. Although the school district is governed by an independently-elected, seven-member school board, the mayor works to support the district's goal of being the best urban school district in America.
- Close the Deal - Another collaborative effort that helps students in schools with low college-going rates apply for admission, scholarships and financial aid.
- LEEP - The Louisville Education and Employment Partnership program has helped students at risk of dropping out successfully transition to college, a career, or the military.
- Kindergarten Countdown and Cultural Pass are two programs that enable children to attend cultural events and museums for free during the summer to make sure that every child has enriching opportunities.
- The Mayor's SummerWorks Program is overseen by KentuckianaWorks and provided jobs in 2014 for 2,000 area youth. Mayor Fischer knows the value of providing real-world work experience (and pocket money!) to area youth who might otherwise spend the summer idle.
- The Louisville Free Public Library is also a tremendous part of the city's lifelong learning efforts. The new Southwest Regional Library opened in Sept. 2014 and major funding has been secured for the new South Central Regional Library in Okolona.
- Metropolitan College - An innovative program that began in 1998 to provide tuition-free education to students at U of L or JCTC who work on UPS's critical night shift. This program has enabled thousands of students to attend college while meeting the workforce needs of Louisville's largest employer.