Kentucky is building on its record economic momentum and taking steps to ensure its manufacturing supply chain is more connected than ever. On March 6, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the “Supply Kentucky” initiative, a renewed effort to boost job growth, reduce operational costs and provide more security for the supply chains of Kentucky manufacturers.
Supply Kentucky aligns the commonwealth and Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) to coordinate marketing efforts, provide resources related to workforce and connect Kentucky companies to suppliers throughout the country, as well as foster growth of minority- and female-owned businesses.
At the center of the Supply Kentucky initiative is the rollout of CONNEX Kentucky, a new online platform established through a partnership between the Cabinet for Economic Development and KAM that provides a searchable supply chain database for the state’s manufacturers. “It is crucial that we continue to provide companies in every corner of the state with the resources they need to stay connected with other Kentucky companies and build more economic momentum,” Gov. Beshear said during a kickoff news conference. “We’re launching a new initiative called Supply Kentucky with the goal of providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies, while also creating jobs and reducing costs. One of the first steps in this initiative is the launch of CONNEX Kentucky, a new online platform that provides a searchable supply chain database for manufacturers across the state. This new tool fills a critical void in that effort to ensure that Kentucky is the best place to do business.”
CONNEX Kentucky is part of the CONNEX Marketplace, a nationwide platform developed by i5 Services to connect the U.S. manufacturing supply chain. Manufacturers and suppliers are now using it across the country to connect with one another and find new business opportunities based on deep data such as equipment, certifications, SBA designations, processes, capabilities and other criteria.
CONNEX Kentucky registration is free to all Kentucky manufacturers and allows PRIMES and OEMs to view all U.S. supplier data in one location. Manufacturers can filter suppliers by location, certification, materials, equipment, processes and more. The platform also allows Kentucky suppliers to discover contract opportunities within new industries and connect and respond directly with OEM/PRIME buyers within the platform.
“Thanks to this important new partnership between the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Kentucky’s manufacturers and countless other companies have access to one of the best tools in the marketplace to help grow their revenue, strengthen their supply chains and enhance the job security of their employees,” said Frank Jemley, president and CEO of KAM. “We are grateful to Gov. Beshear, Secretary Jeff Noel and the great team at the Cabinet for Economic Development for this collaboration that will create new opportunities for the Kentuckians who make world-class products.”
“I want to convey our deepest thanks for this extraordinary partnership between the Governor’s office, the Cabinet for Economic Development and the 260,000 Kentuckians who compete and win every single day in the global economy,” added KAM Board Chair John- Mark Hack. “Kentucky companies will now have access to a new tool that’s proven to strengthen their supply chains and grow their revenue.” Companies using CONNEX Kentucky also have the option to upgrade to the full national access subscription, which is free forever to Kentucky companies that register by May 5, using promo code KYFF during registration.
During his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced the creation of 43,700 full-time jobs and 838 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $24.7 billion in announced investments. Kentucky is also coming off the best two-year period in state history for economic growth, and manufacturing played a major part.
Kentucky has an incredible manufacturing presence that spans every industry from automotive and metals to food and beverage. The state is home to more than 5,000 manufacturing facilities that employ over 250,000 people. In 2022 alone, new-location and expansion manufacturing projects accounted for $8.27 billion in new investments and 8,900 full-time jobs for Kentucky residents.
Location is a major factor in Kentucky’s appeal to manufacturers. The commonwealth is within a day’s drive from two-thirds of the U.S. population, making logistics and distribution easier than anywhere else. Kentucky is also home to two leading airports for cargo, and Amazon, DHL and UPS all operate international shipping hubs in the state.
But even more crucial to manufacturers is a workforce with the skills needed to succeed. The commonwealth ranks among the leading manufacturing states with over 12.5 percent of its workforce in the industry, compared to 8.1 percent nationally.
Kentucky’s leaders are focused on furthering the state’s pipeline of skilled workers to meet the needs of any industry and keeping its supplier base more connected than ever. The commonwealth has long had all the ingredients for its manufacturers to achieve long-term success, and with CONNEX Kentucky and the Supply Kentucky initiative, they’re now more connected than ever.