Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Excellence in Innovation Award Recognizes ConnectKentucky as Nation's Leading Economic Development Effort

Press Release Date:  Friday, June 02, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body
502-564-2611

Kasey Joyner
270-781-4320
 


U.S. Economic Development Administration touts use of innovative strategies for maximum results

FRANKFORT, Ky. – ConnectKentucky and Kentucky’s Prescription for Innovation have been named the winner of the United States Economic Development Administration’s 2006 Excellence in Innovation Award.  Announced by Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Sandy K. Baruah, the award recognizes Kentucky's Prescription for Innovation as a national leader in innovative strategies for 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 commend ConnectKentucky for this accomplishment.”

Kentucky’s Prescription for Innovation is a comprehensive plan to accelerate technology growth, particularly in the areas of broadband deployment and technology literacy and usage.  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; and
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.

Over the course of implementation 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. Currently, 82 percent of Kentucky homes can access broadband, on track to reach 100 percent availability in 2007.  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.

“The winners of EDA’s Excellence Awards represent the best and brightest economic development methods and practices in use today.  Their commitment to sound, research-based, market driven economic development is helping America’s communities grow their economies and create jobs.  I am grateful for their participation in our national awards program,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary for Economic Development Sandy K. Baruah.

ConnectKentucky is chaired by John R. Hall, retired chairman and CEO of Ashland Inc., who noted the significance of the public-private collaboration at the core of the partnership. “As government and the private sector work together towards shared goals for a brighter future for Kentucky, great things are happening and unprecedented progress is being realized. The ConnectKentucky partnership embodies that promise and the staff of the organization work hard to ensure that every community in the Commonwealth is the beneficiary of that progress. It is an honor for ConnectKentucky to be recognized as a national leader in economic development by the U.S. EDA.”


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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.