Beshear highlights projects building a better Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. – On Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted projects creating jobs, improving infrastructure and supporting education across the commonwealth during his weekly Team Kentucky update.
The recent announcements follow through on the Governor’s commitment to build a better Kentucky and create opportunities for families in every community.
“Our themes for today are jobs, infrastructure, health and education,” Gov. Beshear said. “We’re also going to focus on some really good news that came out about COVID-19 immunity after receiving a vaccine and how long it may last.”
The governor discussed grants for small businesses, funds for educational support services, discretionary road funding and the unveiling of the Team Kentucky Gallery. He also provided Kentuckians with an update on the state’s vaccination efforts.
Grants for Small Businesses and Economic Development
Gov. Beshear recognized two exciting economic development projects that will help Kentucky continue to sprint out of the pandemic.
The governor announced that nine tech-based businesses will receive a total of $900,000 in state funds through the commonwealth’s nationally recognized Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Funds Program, which supports high-paying jobs and tech development in Kentucky. The matching grants will complement $4.77 million in federal SBIR/STTR funding the businesses will collectively receive. For more information, see the full release.
Additionally, third-party logistics provider Conner Logistics Inc. plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from California to Kentucky with an initial investment of $1.3 million. The project will create 20 full-time, Kentucky-resident jobs in Pulaski County. For more information, see the full release.
GEER II Funding for Educational Support Services
Gov. Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman today awarded $15 million in grants to 150 local Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSCs) from the second round of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund 2 (GEER II). The GEER II grants will fund educational support services needed due to COVID-19’s impact on schools, youth and families, with a focus on early childhood education and child care, as well as family crisis and mental health counseling. Local FRYSCs applied for a maximum allocation of $100,000. To learn more, see the full release.
$11.8 Million in Transportation Funding to Local Governments for Street, Road Projects
Today, Gov. Beshear announced more than $11.8 million in discretionary transportation funding to help dozens of local governments make street and road repairs and improvements for the betterment of their communities. The funding from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will support 177 projects that include resurfacing, patching and sealing, storm drain work, slip repair and in one case, a connector road for economic development. To learn more, see the full release.
“One way we build a better Kentucky is by making our streets and roads better,” said Gov. Beshear. “This funding enables 46 cities and counties to upgrade pavements and improve local transportation infrastructure, which will directly benefit Kentuckians in these communities.”
Vaccinations and Shot at a Million Update
Gov. Beshear also updated Kentuckians on COVID-19 vaccinations and immunity. The Governor said research suggests the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may offer immunity from COVID-19 for multiple years. He also said that this week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reaffirmed that vaccinated people in the U.S. do not need to wear face coverings in most situations.
On Thursday, Eric Friedlander, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, joined Gov. Beshear to provide an update on the state’s vaccination efforts. To date, 2.19 million Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“The COVID-19 vaccines are scientific miracles,” Secretary Friedlander said. “If we get vaccinated, we drive down case rates and we drive down hospitalization rates. This is the most effective thing you can do. Get vaccinated.”
Secretary Friedlander also updated Kentuckians on the Shot at a Million sweepstakes, the state’s incentive program to encourage Kentuckians to get vaccinated against COVID-19. He said the first drawing will occur today, and the first winners will be announced Friday. Kentuckians can still get vaccinated and enter for the final two drawings scheduled for July 29 and Aug. 26 with opportunities each time to win $1 million or for youth to win one of five full scholarships to fund higher education. Learn more and sign up at shotatamillion.ky.gov.
Team Kentucky Gallery
Gov. Beshear and First Lady Britainy Beshear on Thursday unveiled the Team Kentucky Gallery. The Beshears noted that the Capitol, “the people’s house,” is the best place to showcase the artistic talents of Kentuckians and to provide a voice for them as represented through art.
The selected artworks will remain on display for a six-month rotation in the Capitol and, eventually, on a Team Kentucky Digital Art Gallery with each artist’s contact information. After the rotation, artworks will be returned to the artists. The first rotation runs from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2021.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Finally, the Governor thanked Team Kentucky All-Stars who are making a difference in their communities and representing the commonwealth on an international stage.
He thanked high school students Jacqueline Teague and Amelie Beck, of Louisville, who are co-founders of VaxConnectKY.
Through VaxConnectKY, they’ve assisted nearly 1,000 senior citizens in Kentucky with signing up for COVID-19 vaccination appointments. In addition, they helped plan a vaccine clinic for their school and are using their platform to encourage other students their age to sign up for a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. VaxConnectKY was recently recognized by Scientific American and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, when Teague won the Diana Award named after Princess Diana.
“You’re showing us that the next generation of Kentuckians isn’t waiting for their turn to lead, they’re leading right now,” said Gov. Beshear.
The governor also congratulated nearly 30 Kentuckians or Kentucky alumni who will compete in this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in fencing, field hockey, rifle events, softball, swimming, track and field, basketball, golf and Paralympic hand cycling.
Lt. Gov. Coleman said those athletes include Kentucky women making history. For example, former University of Kentucky (UK) track-star Sydney McLaughlin had a world-record performance when she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first woman in history to run the 400-meter hurdles in under 52 seconds. Keni Harrison, also a former UK star, dominated the women’s 100-meter hurdles race as she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. These two Team Kentucky women have both run the fastest races ever in their hurdle disciplines.