Kentucky manufacturers will benefit from a new partnership between universities, professionals, and state and federal partners.
The Advantage Kentucky Alliance was announced Friday at WKU's Center for Research and Development.
The aim is to move Kentucky from traditional manufacturing to advanced manufacturing. WKU President Gary Ransdell said it's important for universities to be involved in the economies they help create and sustain.
"Universities first and foremost have to be about economic development. The time has long since passed when our primary mission was to just educate students,"said Dr. Ransdell. "As I've said for many years, educating students is a means to a much more important end and that more important end is driving Kentucky's economy and improving the quality of like for people within the reach of our universities."
The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and local chambers of commerce will help connect manufacturers to alliance members who can address their needs, such as finding new revenue streams, developing new products and services, and learning new processes to become more efficient.
Kentucky’s attorney general is supporting federal legislation to curb recruiting abuses by for-profit colleges.
Jack Conway and 13 attorneys general are supporting the Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act sponsored by Sen. Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).
The bill restricts colleges and universities from using federal financial aid for recruitment, advertising, and marketing purposes.
"I support higher education and students who seek a degree to create a better life for their families, but many times I see those dreams turn to nightmares when students fall prey to a fast sales pitch from a for-profit college with a questionable reputation," Conway said. "The students end up with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and no degree."
With only two days left in this year's Kentucky General Assembly session, time is running out for supporters of legislation meant to keep two western Kentucky aluminum smelters—which employ about 3,000 people—from closing.
Under state law, the smelters are required to purchase electricity from the nearest company—Big Rivers Electric, in this case. The smelters say lower aluminum prices have them struggling to pay the bills; they're asking for more options for where they get electricity.
Their legislative supporters want to let the smelters purchase electricity on the open market.
Opponents argue that giving the smelters lower rates or open market options would increase prices for the average customer.
Gov. Steve Beshear will lead an international business trade mission to Canada this summer. The trip will be the first-ever trade mission of the Kentucky Export Initiative, and will be aimed at boosting commerce between the Bluegrass State and America’s northern neighbor.
Canada already serves as Kentucky’s number one export destination, with the commonwealth exporting $7.3 billion in products and services there in 2012. That’s more than four times the total goods and services exported to Kentucky’s number two trading partner, Mexico.
The Kentucky trade mission will take place June 4-7 in Toronto.