Greg Fischer

Mayor

Louisville, KY

Pro-Growth Progressive Idea: Developing a regional business plan to grow jobs in advanced manufacturing

Greg Fischer was elected Louisville’s Mayor in 2010 and has an extensive background in business. In 1980, he was a founder of SerVend International and co-invented the SerVend ice and beverage dispenser. Along with his brothers, he led the growth of SerVend into a worldwide corporation with more than 300 employees and $70 million in annual sales. In 1999, he founded Iceberg Ventures, a private investment firm, and later was a co-founder of bCatalyst, the first business accelerator in Louisville. Fischer has helped create more than 1,000 local jobs and has been an active investor and board member in numerous companies across multiple industries. Greg is also a co-founder of Louisville’s Center for Quality of Management.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

Too often teens growing up in poorer neighborhoods in Louisville lack the access to the skills and training they need to fill competitive job openings in the local tech industry. Additionally, businesses in this community need to increase their web presence and better connect to online tools to grow their business. 

Solution

This year, Mayor Greg Fischer expanded the Code Louisville program to target teens living in public housing and help them develop 21st century technology and business skills. Students from the new “Coding at the Beech” program have already transformed their skills into a new business venture, called Beech Technologies, which helps neighborhood and community business leaders establish and maintain a web presence to drive economic growth. Through this initiative, Mayor Fischer has helped prepare students for jobs in the tech industry and helped revitalize the communities where these students live. 


Problem

All too often, people make decisions about their education or careers with little or no labor market information. People decide on careers without knowing how much money they might earn or how many jobs are available. People decide on college majors without knowing the earnings implications or what jobs people with that major end up doing. And the few available tools are difficult to use, difficult to understand, and prone to leading history majors into being historians or philosophy majors into being philosophers--which is generally not what people with those majors end up doing.

Solution

Career Calculator is a web application that helps students, parents and job seekers plan for careers and chart the education needed for good jobs. The app puts all information needed to make informed education and career decisions in one place. Information is gathered from six different sources--the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US Census Bureau PUMS data, EMSI Analyst, Burning Glass, Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics, and O*NET Online. The platform is incredibly intuitive and easy-to-use, with simple searching, clean design, and only the most important information necessary for making good education and career decisions.


Problem

Every ninety days, there are about one hundred unfilled junior software development opportunities open in the greater Louisville area, and those numbers are growing fast. However, the region lacks the number of qualified applicants to fill these positions. The community needed a quick, entry-ramp approach that makes these good jobs possible for a broad and diverse range of people.

Solution

Code Louisville, developed by KentuckianaWorks (the region's workforce development board) offers a series of 12-week software development tracks to adults who want to pursue a career in the software development industry at no cost to the student. The program is designed to provide accountability, guidance, and support to people using online tools to learn. Students learn web development using the latest technology and practices. Aided by expert volunteer mentors and online software, students complete coding projects and build portfolios of their work. This community-supported program organized by a public entity is able to train people for a challenging career at a large scale for a fraction of the cost of an in-person school or boot camp. More than 90 companies have hired from Code Louisville with many of those serving in an advisory capacity to make sure the program is responsive to their ever-evolving needs. The program also has a community college partnership to help more people earn Computer and IT certification.