If you think most television ads are silly, perhaps you’re not in the 18-to-34 age group that advertisers covet so much. Of course, most Americans aren’t in that demographic, but that doesn’t stop advertisers—and even cities—from chasing it. For example, scroll through the Instagram feed for the Say Yes to Dallas campaign, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a photo of anyone over 60 who’s not named Mark Cuban.
But smart cities tend to zig while others zag. Although Louisville also targets Millennials with its Live in Lou campaign, it’s proud to be home to what Mayor Greg Fischer calls “one of the largest collections of aging and home health headquarters in the country.”
Acorns and oaks
How large is large? According to Greater Louisville Inc., the city’s aging-care companies employ 21,000 people and generate $50 billion in revenue. But that’s just part of the story. When you look at the city’s broader healthcare sector and its global impact, companies generate $90 billion in revenue and employ more than 375,000 people, according to the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council. In fact, LHCC’s board includes CEOs from a who’s-who of industry leaders, including Humana, Kindred Healthcare, Trilogy Health Services, and Signature Healthcare.
LHCC has only been around since 2017, but Louisville has been a player in the aging-care industry for decades. And some of the sector’s mighty oaks grew out of the acorn David Jones and Wendell Cherry planted in 1961 when they founded a nursing-home company that would later become Humana. In the nearly 60 years since, Humana has transformed itself from a nursing-home operator to a hospital company to a major health insurer that currently serves more than 16 million medical members. Along the way, the company and its alumni have helped create local heavy-hitters like the Galen College of Nursing and nimble startups like BehaVR.
(Galen shows just how interconnected Louisville’s aging and healthcare sector can be. It was established by Humana Health Institutes, Inc., in 1989 and acquired by Nashville-based HCA Healthcare earlier this year. HCA Healthcare, meanwhile, traces its roots in part to Humana’s decision to spin off its hospital business in the early 1990s.)
A culture of growth
With all that history, Louisville has a deep bench of aging-innovation talent, as well as venture capitalists who are probably more likely to invest in aging and healthcare than in robots that deliver toilet paper or Alexa-powered showerheads. As LHCC promises on its website, “Whether you need a subject-matter expert, smart money, a huge channel partner or particularly new technology, you can find it here. With aligned support from LHCC and its associated organizations, as well as from the public sector, educational institutions and incubators, your business can flourish here.”
That’s much the same message Mayor Fischer offers: “Tremendous partnerships between companies and stakeholder organizations locally make other companies in this sector want to locate in Louisville, so they can tap into the experienced workforce, collaborative industry networks, research, product development, aging services and more.”
In a (Louisville) Business First story back in 2018, Kindred Healthcare CEO Benjamin Breier said he’s confident in the city’s claim to be the nation’s aging-care capital. “In terms of an urban market where you have this massive conglomerate of employees, resources and ideas, I don’t think there is much that compares,” he said.
That same story talked about one Boston-based company, Senscio Systems Inc., that was considering doing business in the Bluegrass State. “When we looked at the map and looked at Louisville, we just saw a host of impressive, progressive and innovating organizations that could be our partners in the state,” Howard Brick, the company’s senior vice president of business development and commercial strategy, told the business weekly.
Given growth in the sector, it seems many other business leaders would agree.
This year the conference will be held at the Brown Hotel and will emphasize interdisciplinary approaches in the aging field and feature experts in aging, dementia and Alzheimer’s research, innovation, and public health.
“We are thrilled to present such a strong line-up of speakers,” said Anna Faul, PhD, executive director of the University of Louisville Trager Institute. “The presenters, along with our breakout and poster sessions, will provide an incredibly rich and engaging experience for anyone working in the aging field or who has interest in inspiring our understanding of aging,” she said.
Learn more about registration, keynote speakers, and continuing education online.
Local software company Moxie Girl won the top spot in this year’s bioLOGIC Innovation Award Pitch Day recently held in Louisville.
Moxie Girl is focused on developing an accessible, action-oriented connected-health platform that helps preteen and teen girls increase achievement and build resilience. The platform includes a goal-setting app, virtual mentoring from women at top universities, and strength-based coaching.
Charlie LeCroix, bioLOGIC Foundation board member and a member of the Pitch Day Finals judging committee, said in a press release, “We were particularly impressed with the ambitious mission of Moxie Girl and its connected health platform concept, which shows real promise and, based on the data presented, is filling an ever-widening gap in adolescent mental health.”
The University of Louisville has received funding to build a program that will prepare students for the technology-enabled “jobs of the future.” The $4 million grant will, which came through the Department of Labor’s “Apprenticeships: Closing the Skills Gap” initiative will be used to create a program UofL is calling Modern Apprenticeship Pathways to Success (MAPS).
According to a 2019 report from the Brookings Institution, automation will have the most effect in the heartland, and especially in Kentucky and Indiana. In the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area alone, the report says some 670,000 jobs are susceptible. While automation may replace some jobs, it will create others. According to a 2018 report from Deloitte, advanced technologies in the manufacturing industry will cause an estimated 2.4 million positions to go unfilled between 2018 and 2028.
Through MAPS, UofL will create apprenticeships that connect what students learn in class with their eventual careers, offering them field experience with disruptive, cutting-edge technologies.
Principal investigator Dr. Jeffrey Sun, of the UofL College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), said, “We want our students at UofL to be prepared when new technologies, such as robotics and AI, alter our work or the market shifts, perhaps from 3D printing, change our business model.”
We publish Scrapbook each week because we believe the best way to envision our future is with a good understanding of where we've been. We hope you enjoy our fascinating "look back!"
For nearly eight decades, Louisville's street railway system was the key to the city's growth. At its peak, Louisville’s streetcar system operated more than 500 cars, with the lines spanning across the city, connecting suburbs like Jeffersontown, Prospect and Okolona.
Ridership dropped during the Great Depression but picked up again during WWII when gas was being rationed. Of course, the automobile spelled the end of the streetcar system for good. In 1948, the Louisville Railway Company retired its last cars.
This picture is of the intersection of Everett and Longest looking towards Bardstown Rd. The old picture is from1920 (courtesy Caufield and Shook Collection, UofL Archives). The new picture is courtesy of Louisville Then and Now.
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