FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 15, 2017) – Less than five months into 2017, Kentucky is about to break its all-time, full-year capital-investment record of $5.1 billion in corporate projects. New jobs this year could surpass the nearly 16,200 announced in 2016, the most in a decade. To ensure Kentucky’s businesses can source the employees they need, leaders across state government are revolutionizing the commonwealth’s workforce development systems.
To focus on workforce-development initiatives, Sec. Terry R. Gill and the Kentucky Economic Development Partnership Board today named manufacturing executive Vivek Sarin as executive officer with the Cabinet for Economic Development.
In his new role, Sarin will help develop workforce strategies to ensure existing and new companies can locate the talent necessary to meet their objectives. Additionally, Sarin will lead numerous strategic initiatives related to improving the state’s business climate.
Founder and president of Juvo Company, a professional services firm, Sarin also brings an extensive manufacturing background. His leadership experience gives him first-hand involvement and insight into the challenges and opportunities of operating a business in today’s global environment.
“Vivek is a thoughtful leader who understands not just how to make a manufacturing operation successful for many years, but also the incredible pressures manufacturers now face in a global marketplace,” Sec. Gill said. “We are fortunate to recruit Vivek to join our team as we establish Kentucky to be America’s leader in engineering and manufacturing excellence. His broad business experience and his respected entrepreneurial accomplishments will help us address our workforce needs and create a business culture where emerging industries will thrive.”
For more than 20 years, Sarin led Shelby Industries LLC, a manufacturer of towing and trailering equipment based in Shelbyville. The company produced and sold Kentucky-made products to customers across the globe and employed more than 100 Kentuckians in its peak. Shelby Industries closed recently due to increasing challenges from foreign competition.
The Partnership Board, which oversees the state’s economic development efforts to ensure they remain cutting edge and business focused, at its meeting in late April granted Sec. Gill authority to hire for the position.
“The Partnership Board has been intent on attracting the best and brightest to lead Kentucky’s economic development team and to take immediate advantage of the state’s new pro-business environment and our recent successes,” said Luther Deaton, vice chairman of the board. “Vivek will be a tremendous addition to the team, and his broad expertise will be invaluable in helping meet the Kentucky business community’s growing need for a robust, well-trained workforce.”
Cabinet leaders anticipate Kentucky this month will surpass the $5.1 billion corporate-investment record set in 2015. With nearly 8,700 new jobs already announced this year through mid-May, the state is on pace to see more new positions created than it has since 2006. Based on feedback from Kentucky’s business community, and with the state’s unemployment rate already low, leaders across state government, in the private sector and in the military are working together to implement new and fortify existing workforce development structures.
“Kentucky will grow into an even more desirable location for manufacturing, service and technology industries as we further improve our business climate and widen the supply lines of highly trained residents into our workforce,” Sarin said. “As a small business owner, I know the hurdles that companies face, especially in recruiting and retaining top-line talent while remaining competitive. I look forward to working alongside Secretary Gill and the cabinet to serve our commonwealth and grow the economy of our remarkable state.”
Sarin’s economic development experience also includes five years as a board member of BEAM, the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement founded by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.
He begins serving in the new role today.