Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
U.S. EDA Names ConnectKentucky Finalist for Economic Development Excellence Award

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, May 23, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body
502-564-2611

Kasey Joyner
270-781-4320
 


ConnectKentucky recognized by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) as one of three national finalists for EDA’s Excellence in Innovation Award

FRANKFORT, Ky. – For its role in leading Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Prescription for Innovation, ConnectKentucky has been recognized as a finalist for the 2006 EDA Excellence in Economic Development Award.  ConnectKentucky is one of three finalists in the Excellence in Innovation category for which organizations nationwide are evaluated to determine how effectively they incorporate innovative strategies for maximum results in economic development. 

“ConnectKentucky’s implementation of the Prescription for Innovation has established the Commonwealth as a national model for technology-based economic development,” said Governor Fletcher. “Over the last two years, technology in Kentucky has grown like never before, and communities statewide are realizing the benefits. I appreciate EDA’s recognition of this important work, and I commend ConnectKentucky for this accomplishment.”

Sandy K. Baruah, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, will announce the winners of EDA's 2006 Awards on May 30, 2006. The 2006 Awards will be presented in ceremonies held in the winners' respective communities. Other finalists for the nation’s most prestigious economic development award represent the states of Georgia and Rhode Island.

Kentucky's Prescription for Innovation is a comprehensive plan to accelerate technology growth, particularly in the areas of broadband deployment and adoption.  The initiative maintains four key tenants for impacting statewide economic development:

  • Full broadband deployment by the end of 2007;
  • Dramatically improved use of computers and the Internet by all Kentuckians;
  • A meaningful online presence for all Kentucky communities, to improve citizen services and promote economic development through e-government, virtual education, online healthcare;
  • Local technology leadership teams in every community to develop and implement technology growth strategies for local government, business and industry, education, healthcare, agriculture, libraries, tourism, and community-based organizations.

Since the inception of the Prescription for Innovation, statewide broadband availability and usage have increased by 33 percent and 45 percent respectively. An estimated 300,000 previously unserved households can now access broadband as private sector investment in telecommunications infrastructure has reached an unprecedented level in Kentucky. Home computer ownership has grown by 17 percent and more than 100 counties are actively engaged in the eCommunity Leadership process to establish a nine sector technology growth plan for accelerating technology locally.  Moreover, the rate of Kentucky’s high-tech job growth is outpacing the national average.

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About ConnectKentucky: ConnectKentucky is leading the way into a new economy for Kentuckians. As Kentucky’s technology-based economic development partnership, ConnectKentucky is a public-private alliance of leaders from private industry, government and education. By leveraging the latest in technology and networking, ConnectKentucky is ensuring Kentucky remains the place of choice to work, live and raise a family. For more information visit www.connectkentucky.org.