Brookings produces first report of its kind, focused on Louisville

April 06, 2021

Louisville is at a critical juncture as it heads into the third decade of the 21st century. A new report from Brookings, “How Louisville can become a strong and more equitable hub for AI and data economy jobs,” offers a comprehensive look at the steps Louisville is taking in embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics, and where improvement is needed.

These new elements of the future economy promise to change the economy and the world as significantly as the Internet and the automobile transformed the 20th century. At the same time, racial equity gaps threaten to hold the city and the region back from achieving its full potential. All of these concerns were made more urgent over the past year by the COVID-19 pandemic and the city’s calls for racial justice.

“We have much work to do to build an equitable 21st century economy,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “This report shows that we’re on the right path, and that with the right focus and right people at the table we can be a model. We must make sure that table is an inclusive one and that we are reaching underserved populations so that they too can be a part of the new economy.”

A report from the Brookings Institution—one of the first of its kind for any city—highlights some of the city’s strengths:

  • Louisville has stronger-than-average collaboration among key partners;
  • Louisville has a relatively strong data economy for our size; and
  • Our industry clusters—particularly Healthcare and Aging Innovation, Business Services, and Logistics and eCommerce—are leading our region’s AI transformation and have attracted significant venture capital investment since 2010.

The report also lays out some of the city’s challenges:

  • Louisville needs more AI-skilled workers;
  • Louisville needs to diversify our AI-ready companies beyond the largest firms; and
  • Louisville needs to close racial equity gaps, especially in tech jobs.

The Brookings report also validates the three-pronged strategy Louisville has been pursuing in the last 18 months through the Future of Work Initiative:

  • Broaden and diversify data and AI talent pipeline;
  • Support AI adoption and adaptation in the business community; and
  • Develop Louisville as a regional hub for AI, IoT, and data science.

In its first year, the Future of Work Initiative, alongside Humana, the University of Louisville, and other key partners, helped hundreds of people through new data training pathways; hosted dozens of company meetups to create better awareness of AI and related efforts and stronger connectivity with our education community; awarded $200,000 to local Black-led non-profits to stand up new data training pathways with an equity focus; worked with the local K-12 system to launch its first-ever data analytics pathway; and launched The Butterfly Project as a partnership between Central High School, Bellarmine University, and Simmons College of Kentucky.

To view the entire report, visit https://www.brookings.edu/research/how-louisville-can-become-a-stronger-and-more-equitable-hub-for-ai-and-data-economy-jobs/

The Brookings report will be discussed in depth at this week’s Future of Work Summit, a virtual event on April 7-8 from 11 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. each day. Free registration for the Summit is available here: https://www.futurelou.com/

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