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March 26, 2014 | Louisville Ky.
Chip Blakenship, Ph.D., is the CEO and president of GE Appliances and Lighting in Louisville. Blankenship provides an overview of the role his company plays within the Louisville economy. He touches on the highlights of doing business in Kentucky and, more specifically, in Louisville. He then discusses how GE uses indicators such as housing and employment, and how people "feel" about their own net worth, to gauge where it spends its money. Blankenship notes that GE made a large investment in the Louisville area between 2011 and 2013—by adding $8 million in new products, rebuilding new factories and hiring 3,000 workers—all in a period of 18 months. He then emphasizes the need to regain middle-skills workers; workers with this skill set he says are lacking in Louisville and nationwide. He addresses how engaging middle and high school students, as well as community college students, can help turn around this trend.