Recently, our region welcomed more than 170,000 visitors from around the country and the world for the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby. Every year during this time, we show the world the best of what Greater Louisville has to offer.
While Derby is a grand show and source of pride for our region and state, the reception newcomers receive in Louisville goes beyond initial hospitality and speaks to an opportunity we must take advantage of to be competitive with peer cities in the region, nation and world.
There is a global contest for top talent, and Louisville competes directly with cities, from Indianapolis to Istanbul, when it comes to job creation and offering a desirable place for both people and capital to invest. Many cities, particularly regional capitals with whom we most directly compete, are undertaking significant efforts to attract and integrate talented, diverse newcomers who will bolster their local workforce and help create jobs. We must do the same to keep our competitive edge.
In our global economy, we interact as much with cities like Shanghai and Bangalore as Nashville and Cincinnati. Five percent of our population and over 10 percent of our students at JCPS are foreign-born, with more than 100 different languages spoken in our schools.
Locally and nationwide, demographics are changing rapidly, and we as a city have to increase our global fluency to be relevant in tomorrow’s economy. Making Louisville a welcoming and inclusive city where we showcase and appreciate cultures, art and history while encouraging international interaction is imperative. We need to engage and encourage all our foreign born to make Louisville their home — to maximize their talents, start businesses and raise families.