BE NKY Growth Partnership Vice President of Marketing and Communications Cheryl Besl, Workforce Development Manager Kim Spreder, and Communications Specialist Sydney Murray attended the International Economic Development Council’s Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas, in September.

Below are some of their key takeaways:

-By 2030, it is estimated there will be 8.5 jobs per worker. Throughout the next decade, retaining talent and upskilling and reskilling workers will continue to be a top priority. Along with a business-friendly government and low overall operating costs, availability of skilled labor is a top three factor in corporate location decisions, according to DCI’s 2023 Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing report.

The Northern Kentucky region can build workforce capacity by offering apprenticeships and on-the-job training. The NKY FAME program, an advanced manufacturing technician program run though Gateway Community and Technical College, gives students the opportunity to get paid working experience at a local manufacturer while receiving their education at Gateway.

Another option for bringing more people into the workforce is to investigate untapped talent pools, such as workers with disabilities, or those previously incarcerated. Workforce organizations that will thrive support the development of workers, see the challenges, and innovate and understand what developments are needed to attract and keep talent.

-Quality of place is becoming more and more important, and travel experience is key to the business decision-making process for expansions, retentions, and relocations. The building blocks of attraction all start with a visit: Build a place where people want to visit, and you’ll build a place where people want to live; build a place where people want to live, and you’ll build a place where people want to work; build a place where people want to work, and you’ll build a place where business has to be; build a place where business has to be and you’ll build a place where people have to visit. Northern Kentucky needs to play to its unique strengths and lean into project matches for the community. We need to learn from projects we don’t win and get ready with our partners to win in the future.

-Perception of a region is important, and the top five influencers of perception include dialogue, business travel, news sources, websites, and meetings with EDOs. An EDO’s website serves as a region’s “digital front door” and is critical to its success. The most-used features on an EDO’s website include workforce statistics, incentive information, and demographic information. In the DCI report, 73 percent of respondents reported a strong likelihood they would visit an EDO’s website during their next site search.

Social media is also playing an important role. In the 2023 report, 19 percent of respondents cite social media as a leading source of information influencing their perception of an area’s business climate, up from 16 percent in 2020. The percentage of respondents who do not use social media for business purposes continues to decline, and LinkedIn is the most popular platform, used by 72 percent of respondents.

-In a pivoting workforce ecosystem, an EDO’s role includes leveraging target industries and utilizing data-driven decision making. BE NKY is leading the way on both fronts. In early 2022, we released a Target Industry Study by EY. This study identified four main industry clusters, and 13 subclusters, that are a guide for a balanced economic development agenda in the Northern Kentucky region. In late 2022, we launched the Northern Kentucky Atlas, a data visualization tool with close to 200 unique data variables for Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties. Topics include information and statistics about internet access, food insecurity, per capita income, travel time to work, and much more. Visit to check it out.

Attending conferences such as IEDC gives our team the opportunity to stay on top of major issues affecting the economic development world and learn new techniques to address these issues. BE NKY will continue working to promote our region and collaborate with our community partners to address challenges and celebrate successes in Northern Kentucky.