FT. MITCHELL, KY (December 5, 2022) – BE NKY hosted its 2022 Annual Forum, centered around the theme of “Building a Data-Informed Path to Prosperity,” on Nov. 30 at Turfway Park.

Attendees at the forum gathered to discuss economic development and what they want the Northern Kentucky region to look like in the future.

BE NKY CEO Lee Crume said the community needs to make sure it is forming the right plans now so Northern Kentucky continues on its path to a healthier, prosperous, and more vibrant future.

“We want to start a community conversation of where we want to go and who we want to be as a community,” said Crume.

Data was the primary focus of the forum, which included the launch of the new Northern Kentucky Atlas, a community-accessible data dashboard for Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties.

It is hoped that this data will be used in community conversations to inform decision making and move Northern Kentucky toward increased prosperity.

Keynote Speaker Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of State and Local Policy Analysis at the Florida Institute of Government at Florida State University, spoke about his real-world experience in using data to enact important changes in communities.

Parrish was tasked with fixing the Florida Scorecard, an online tool that identifies and tracks metrics important to Florida’s economy. He made sure they had the right data, it was kept up to date, and was visually appealing for users.

Parrish said Florida data showed an extremely high correlation between low third grade reading scores and high poverty rates. In Florida, they were able to gain the support of community and business leaders to begin to combat this issue, including through mentorship programs created by private businesses where employees would read to young children.

BE NKY Research Director David McAleese also touched on Northern Kentucky third grade reading assessments during the launch of the Atlas. About one in five Northern Kentucky third graders are reading at a “novice” (lowest) level. Data can help communities bring attention to where their challenges lie so they can develop or refine approaches to address them.

“Examining the data will help shine a light on areas of concern and help us connect the dots around contributing factors, ultimately enabling us to set benchmarks to track progress over time,” said McAleese.

Education is just one of eight broad categories that can be explored through the Atlas. The other seven include demographics, economic metrics, housing, quality of life, workforce, health and infrastructure.

The dashboard can be found at atlas.northernkentuckyusa.com, and is an initiative undertaken by BE NKY along with its partner Metopio.

About BE NKY

BE NKY serves as the primary economic development company for Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties, providing marketing and business retention and expansion services for the region. For more information, visit www.NorthernKentuckyUSA.com.

BE NKY’s vision is opportunity and prosperity for all Northern Kentuckians.