Governor announces more economic development progress, executive order to address nursing shortage
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 9, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear provided his Team Kentucky update and said 2021 is Kentucky’s all-time highest year for new jobs and investment, with more than 17,000 new jobs created and more than $11 billion in investment announced.
“$11 billion in yearly investment shatters any previous record,” said Gov. Beshear. “Put simply, this has been the best year for economic development in the history of Kentucky. We are no longer a flyover state. We are the destination.”
The Governor also said this morning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a request from Pfizer to allow individuals as young as 16 to get a Pfizer booster shot. He said the next step is to wait for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to approve. Like adults, 16- and 17-year-olds would need to wait six months after getting their second vaccine dose before getting a booster.
“This is great news, especially after the update yesterday morning on the effectiveness of the booster. Pfizer released preliminary data that suggests a booster provides a strong defense against the delta variant, which is still enemy No. 1 here in Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “The data also shows a booster appears to provide real protection against the omicron variant.”
Kentucky’s COVID-19 indicators have continued to increase making vaccinations and boosters even more important: the week ending Dec. 5, the average test positivity rate was 9.02% and 15,875 new cases were reported.
The Governor said, just yesterday more than 10,000 Kentuckians got their booster shot. In addition, 61% of all Kentuckians have gotten at least their first vaccine dose.
As of today, 664,339 Kentuckians have had a vaccination booster, approximately 15% of the population.
Gov. Beshear Signs Executive Order to Address Kentucky Nursing Shortage
Gov. Beshear said, even before the pandemic hit nursing shortages were a problem, and now, the situation is dire.
“This threatens not only the health of patients, but the entire health care delivery system,” said Gov. Beshear. “We’ve got to do things a little bit differently to make sure we get the results we need at the time that we need them the most.”
Kentucky is currently operating at 12%-20% short of needed nursing staff, and the state is projected to need more than 16,000 additional nurses by 2024.
In response, today, Gov. Beshear signed an executive order declaring that Kentucky’s nursing shortage in the midst of a deadly global pandemic is an emergency.
Through this order, Kentucky nursing schools will be able to enroll more students. The order will require the Kentucky Board of Nursing to approve requests for enrollment increases for schools that show sufficient resources to handle more students.
The order also requires schools to report vacant student seats to the Board of Nursing every month. The Board will post those vacancies on its website. This will allow schools without vacancies to refer applicants to schools with programs that have open seats.
Under this order, nursing schools in the next month will send a list of faculty needed to reach full enrollment to the Board of Nursing, the Governor’s Office and the Council on Postsecondary Education.
Also under this order: Existing schools that want to open new campuses can do so much more quickly, as long as they have sufficient resources. Under this order, a new campus will be considered an enrollment increase to an existing program, which offers significant savings of time and money. Schools that want to open new campuses alone or as a joint venture can take advantage of this important provision.
The order also allows nurses licensed in other states to come to Kentucky to practice in this emergency. Further, it creates the Team Kentucky Nursing Advisory Committee, which will be composed of individuals with experience in education, health care and nursing, to propose additional solutions for addressing Kentucky’s nursing shortage.
“I want to thank the Governor for listening to the voices of nurses,” said Kelly Jenkins, executive director of the Kentucky Board of Nursing. “We’ve been working diligently to place these emergency orders into effect since the pandemic started and to try to recruit more nurses from other states. We thank the Governor for working with us.”
UofL Health to Expedite Repayment of $35 Million State Loan Citing Positive Financial Performance
A $35 million partially forgivable loan issued to University of Louisville Health by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2020 now has an accelerated repayment schedule in response to positive financial performance, Gov. Beshear announced today. To learn more, see the full release.
“Our 12,000 health care heroes are the key to UofL Health’s success, but we share this credit with the entire commonwealth,” said Tom Miller, UofL Health chief executive officer. “Kentucky understood the critical need to preserve health care services, jobs and expand access in underserved areas. Kentucky invested in UofL Health and Kentucky is reaping the return.”
Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Awarded $5.3 Million from American Rescue Plan Act
As part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act’s Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation State Grant program, the commonwealth has been awarded $5.3 million to further position its expanding tourism industry to be an economic driver for Kentucky.
To foster economic recovery in every corner of the commonwealth, the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet will directly award this crucial funding support to destination marketing organizations and the commonwealth’s nine tourism regions.
“My thanks Secretary Mike Berry and everyone at the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet for all the work that goes into securing and distributing these funds,” said Gov. Beshear. “And congratulations to the businesses and workers across the commonwealth who will benefit as our tourism industry continues to grow.”
Consumer Cellular Inc. to Locate in Louisville, Create Nearly 500 Full-Time Jobs
Today, Gov. Beshear highlighted a major technology business announcement as Consumer Cellular Inc., a provider of cellphones, no-contract cellular plans and accessories, will locate its first Kentucky operation in Louisville, creating 486 full-time jobs with a more than $15.5 million investment. To learn more, see the full release.
“On behalf of the company I’m excited to announce our expansion to the Bluegrass State. I want to thank Gov. Beshear and Mayor Greg Fischer and their expert teams who helped make this possible,” said Dan Weyland, Consumer Cellular chief financial officer. “We look forward to doing business here.”
Martin County Solar Project to Locate on Former Eastern Kentucky Coal Mine
Kentucky is focused on a future that includes renewable energy, as today Gov. Beshear announced Martin County Solar Project, currently under development by Savion, is moving forward with plans to locate on a former coal mine in unincorporated Martin County, a project that includes up to a $231 million investment and creation of 11 full-time Kentucky jobs. To learn more, see the full release.
Perfetti Van Melle USA Plans Nearly $10 Million Expansion, Creation of at Least 16 New Jobs in Northern Kentucky
Today, Gov. Beshear announced Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc., part of Perfetti Van Melle Group B.V., one of the world’s largest candy manufacturers, will expand its presence in unincorporated Boone County with an investment of more than $9.8 million that will create a minimum of 16 new full-time production jobs. To learn more, see the full release.
Four Roses Distillery Opens Newly Constructed Visitor Center
On Tuesday, Gov. Beshear joined Four Roses officials to celebrate the opening of a new and expanded visitor center that is ready to welcome travelers and bourbon fans from across the country and the globe to the award-winning Lawrenceburg, Kentucky distillery. The visitor center project is part of Four Roses’ ongoing investment to accommodate for growing demand in the bourbon industry, that has already included an expanded distillery in Lawrenceburg, as well as new bottling lines and warehouses at Four Roses’ facility in Cox’s Creek, Kentucky. For more information, see the company’s full release.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Today, Gov. Beshear honored Michael Dossett, Director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM), as a Team Kentucky All-Star.
On Dec. 3, Gov. Beshear announced Director Dossett’s upcoming retirement after a career of over 44 years in public service to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Louisville Metro Government.
“Director Dossett is an MVP on Team Kentucky. His leadership has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Gov. Beshear.
“Government service is a calling, and I am so fortunate to have been able to serve in a long career. Thank you, Governor. I am certainly appreciative of the opportunity to serve on Team Kentucky,” Director Dossett said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been the challenge of my professional career. Thanks to the remarkable, dedicated KYEM professionals, we activated the State Emergency Operations Center for 462 days in a row. They work in blue skies and gray, just like all of our emergency services responders.”