Goal 7: Create More Jobs

Goal Description: 

Double the number of high-wage jobs created by 2024, from the 15,000 predicted growth to 30,000, by focusing on professional, technical, skilled trade and managerial jobs within Louisville's five business clusters to improve Louisville's economic trajectory towards greater opportunity, prosperity and competitiveness for all citizens.

Louisville Skyline


Update / Why is this important?: 

Job creation is at the core of economic vitality and is the engine for revenue required to improve the quality of place. The creation of good jobs not only provides an extra boost for the economy, but it allows Louisville workers more security, opportunity, and an overall higher standard of living. In 2015, Louisville Forward completed a review and realignment of Goal 7 and its accompanying initiatives and developed a more targeted plan for creating jobs. This realignment was based on a comprehensive analysis of occupational sectors in Louisville and focused on economic areas where the city is strong and/or has high potential to grow in the future. One result of this process was the creation of a Cluster Strategic Plan that provides an outline for even more specific targeting of sectors to increase job creation within each business cluster.



Health Legend




Goal or initiative is completed.
Goal or initiative is not started but is expected to start on time.
Goal or initiative is in progress, on schedule, and expected to be completed on time.
Goal or initiative is not started and is overdue or goal or initiative is in progress, but behind schedule and has an issue that will affect completion date.
Goal or initiative is in progress, but behind schedule and has an issue that may affect completion date.

Initiative Health: What are we doing to accomplish this?


The following are the Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) for Goal 7.

Within Louisville's five business clusters – Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Food and Beverage, Lifelong Wellness and Aging Care, Logistics and eCommerce - we have analyzed the leading edge of our clusters and identified specific targets for job growth opportunities. Occupation growth projections and input from industry stakeholders helped to identify targeted jobs and sectors that promote Louisville's existing economic strengths and focus on innovation. Jobs and sectors that help to expand the city's advanced industries (industries that invest heavily in technology research and development and employ skilled STEM workers to develop, diffuse, and apply new productivity-enhancing technologies) also were identified.  Events that showcase particular industries, such as Louisville Innovation Summit and BEAM’s Manufacturing Innovation Conference, also help to encourage and promote those leading edge job opportunities.  The job growth opportunities identified within each business cluster have been embedded in the Cluster Strategic Plan and are now being targeted in attraction and expansion efforts.

Our cluster team, with input from industry leaders and other key stakeholders, has developed a specific cluster strategy document addressing how to grow jobs within each of the business clusters.  This Cluster Strategic Plan focuses efforts and directs the team's attraction, expansion and retention work.  The strategies specifically target job creation in growing occupations and industry subsectors within the business clusters, particularly in advanced industries.

Louisville Forward is continuously working to capitalize on Louisville's economic assets to attract businesses from outside of the region that fit into Louisville Forward's economic development strategies. Targets include companies with high water resource needs and companies located in high-cost markets, particularly those doing work in industries within the city's five business clusters, where we have a strong, established economic base. Louisville's high quality of life and competitive cost of doing business are key assets utilized in these efforts.

Since the expansion of existing businesses contributes in excess of 80% of new economic activity, we are proactively identifying local businesses to target in expansion efforts. Criteria have been developed, based on economic research and data, to identify companies that are most likely to expand in the near future. If a local company is looking to grow, we will assist them in mitigating any barriers to expansion and will work to promote expansion projects.

Because a significant amount of economic activity is attributable to small- and medium-sized enterprises, it is important for us to ensure the success of Louisville’s small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups. Our small business development team provides small businesses with resources for start-up and expansion, and assists with an array of services, meeting the client where they have a need in the lifecycle of their company.  Services include the METCO loan program, offering workforce recruitment and training, facilitating connections to increase procurement opportunities, and prioritizing efforts in geographic areas within the city that are successful in fostering innovative job growth and/or lag economically.  Initiatives launched this year include the Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Program and the development of an assessment tool to help identify small business needs.

Activities are coordinated with partners such as:

As part of the Mayor's Cradle to Career initiative, Louisville Forward is partnering with KentuckianaWorks to develop strategies for a 21st century workforce, connecting employer demand with increased education and training opportunities.  Activities focus around our business clusters and career paths involving high-wage, "middle skill" jobs.

Partner programs working to meet current workforce needs include:

To learn more about job openings in Louisville and the local job market generally click here.  

A talented Louisville workforce is necessary to ensure a thriving, high-wage 21st century local economy in the future. Louisville Forward has an intentional strategy around placemaking to attract new talent.  We are partnering with local employers on talent recruitment as part of this strategy.  These efforts aim to complement our existing workforce base by attracting talent from outside the region.

See why Louisvillians are proud to call this great city their home and why business executives, time and again, choose to locate or keep their company presence in Louisville by watching this video

In 2015, we launched a new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) initiative to encourage, support and bring new international capital investment and job growth to our local economy. Louisville is leading a multi-organization, region-wide study of current and historic activity in FDI in the BEAM region, which is being used to develop a region-wide plan presenting the best ways to attract and leverage FDI. The plan builds off of the department's existing partnership with the Brookings Institution, which previously focused on exports. Future FDI work will include the codification of the process for identifying, vetting, welcoming, and assisting FDI prospects.

Continuing the work initiated by the development of the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement (BEAM) Economic Growth Plan, Louisville Forward is working with businesses to increase export opportunities. We met our original goal in three years, and based on the early success, the renewed goal is to increase export successes in the BEAM region by 50% in three years through continued leadership of multi-organization, regional partnership focused on export development of the region's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  

In partnership with Louisville Forward, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation has provided $200,000 (total) in micro grants for export development to 40 small businesses; these funds have supported over $8,000,000 in international sales by these companies.  The city is pursuing renewal of JPMorgan Chase grant funds to continue and advance strategic economic assistance to SMEs. 

Export successes (defined as sales to new countries or expanded sales within existing export destinations among the population of companies tracked):

  • 2011: 137
  • 2012: 158
  • 2013: 414
  • 2014: 852