By Deana Epperly Karem
Growing Louisville into the healthcare mecca we know it as today has taken decades of diligent work by local leaders, entrepreneurs and the industry veterans.
Building partnerships among talented leaders in health-related industries, prioritizing growth and expansion, and fostering innovation within the industry have contributed to Louisville’s emergence as the leading center for aging care in the world. Greater Louisville’s aging care companies employ 21,000 people and generate $50 billion in revenue.
Strong Healthcare History
As Greater Louisville’s business community looks to build on its economic strengths in the coming years and to position the city to be more regionally competitive, we know one thing — continuing to build on Louisville’s strong healthcare history should be a top priority. We are leading this charge through business and talent attraction, CEO leadership, partnerships with education programs, and minimizing local barriers to work.
Attracting health-related companies to the region is one way to strengthen the rich environment for innovation. While the city’s well-established healthcare hub already serves as an advantage to drawing new, successful companies to the area, GLI takes that effort even further using local networks.
The Louisville Healthcare CEO Council (LHCC) was formed in 2017 to leverage the strengths and assets of our community’s health-related industries. The Health Enterprises Network (HEN) also helps to shape the industry and get leaders working together to solve important problems that extend beyond the scope of any one single member company.
Serving as a voice for the industry, these two entities represent the importance Greater Louisville has put on nurturing health-related companies. Partners in this effort include CEOs from Kindred Healthcare, Humana, Trilogy Health Services, Passport Health Plan, Norton Healthcare, Hosparus Health, Anthem and more. These companies represent more than 275,000 employees and $80 billion in revenue altogether.
Our GLI Enterprise Corp is an important part of GLI’s efforts to support the start-up community as they coach new, innovative companies in the start-up high-tech and healthcare sectors.
Together, these collaborations spur innovation and encourage the city and regional business partners to increase Louisville’s investment in its healthcare economy.
Louisville’s continued investment in healthcare facilities serves as another draw to the area. The Novak Center for Children’s Health is the first major new facility in a decade, located downtown on the University of Louisville’s Health Science Center medical campus.
Louisville-based BrightSpring Health Services, the largest diversified health services provider in the United States, has also opened a new $34 million, 140,000-square foot headquarters building in the Shelbyhurst area.
Attracting new healthcare companies to the region is one piece of the puzzle, but that effort alone is not enough—we must also work to attract new talent to the region and strengthen our existing workforce to support incoming companies. This effort must begin with providing improved regional workforce resources.
We know nurses are one of the most sought-after professionals in the country today. Our LiveinLou campaign works with private employers to find nurses and launch a marketing effort to attract them to our great city.
The Health Career Collaborative offers professional development for college students entering the industry and it assists with placement and additional training resources. And the new health career pathway in our county’s public high schools gets students trained sooner, allowing them to earn college credit and other certifications.
A network of universities focused on training future healthcare professionals—including University of Louisville, Spalding University, Bellarmine University and Indiana University Southwest—are in and around downtown Louisville drawing new talent to the area and making the environment ideal for professional advancement.
Finally, in order to strengthen our workforce, GLI has launched a Barriers to Work Think Tank focused on ways to minimize the obstacles of entry level personnel. This initiative is privately-led and focused on finding solutions so that we can keep some of our best talent by furthering their education or retaining a job in the health industry.
Today, Louisville’s healthcare industry employs more than 57,000 workers in the area, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. That number is only projected to grow: Recent estimates by the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics show the healthcare industry will create more than 50,000 new jobs in Louisville by the year 2022.
The path forward for growing and expanding Louisville’s healthcare cluster is a natural progression of the work the city’s business community has been doing for years.
For our future growth to be meaningful, we are making bold moves to empower our workforce, attract new talent, and bring innovative healthcare companies into our community.
Healthcare innovation is Louisville’s future, and we are on our way to building that future, today.
– Deana Epperly Karem is vice president at Greater Louisville Inc.