Gov. Beshear Launches Supply Chain Initiative To Help Manufacturers Grow Jobs, Reduce Costs

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 6, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.

Supply Kentucky started a partnership with the Cabinet for Economic Development and the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) to launch CONNEX Kentucky – a new online platform that provides a searchable supply chain database for Kentucky manufacturers. Supply Kentucky will also coordinate marketing efforts, provide resources related to the workforce and connect Kentucky companies to suppliers throughout the country, as well as foster the growth of minority- and female-owned businesses.

“As we grow our state’s already incredible manufacturing presence, it is crucial we continue to provide companies in every corner of the state with the resources they need to support new good-paying jobs,” Gov. Beshear said. “This new statewide platform fills a critical void in that effort and ensures Kentucky will continue to meet the needs of growing companies. Thank you to the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers for their partnership in making the commonwealth the best place to do business.”

On the site, Kentucky manufacturers can register for free to connect with 140,000 manufacturers locally and nationally. The portal is open today for our companies to register and will allow Kentucky companies to search for other Kentucky companies to satisfy their supply chain needs. Having more local suppliers will increase reliability and decrease transportation costs.

CONNEX Kentucky intelligently connects manufacturers of all sizes, including PRIMES and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) based on deep data such as equipment, certifications, U.S. Small Business Administration designation designations, processes, capabilities and other criteria.

“Thanks to this important new partnership between the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Kentucky’s manufacturers and countless other companies will, starting today, have access to one of the best tools in the marketplace to help grow their revenue, strengthen their supply chains and enhance the job security of their employees,” said Frank Jemley, president and CEO of KAM. “We are grateful to Gov. Beshear, Secretary Jeff Noel and the great team at the Cabinet for Economic Development for this collaboration that will create new opportunities for the Kentuckians who make world-class products.”

“I want to convey our deepest thanks for what really is an extraordinary partnership between the Governor’s Office, the Cabinet for Economic Development and the 260,000 Kentuckians who compete and win every single day in the global economy,” said John-Mark Hack, KAM board chair. “We are glad to partner with the state government in making this new platform available. We believe that manufacturers and suppliers alike will greatly benefit from helping these companies continue to grow, continue to expand their workforces and continue to increase their profitability.”

“Our presence and growth in Kentucky are attributable to the positive business climate. Our state leaders have clearly recognized that manufacturing provides great careers and is critical to the overall economy,” said Johnny Jacobs, Nucor Steel Brandenburg vice president and general manager. “State leaders have demonstrated a commitment to making sure we have the necessary workforce talent, intentional planning and support of infrastructure and a regulatory environment centered on a partnership finding solutions.”

The platform provides PRIMES and OEMs with the ability to:

  • Quickly find the perfect qualified U.S. supplier;
  • Access manufacturing-only data (no service providers);
  • Post RFPs/RFQs/RFIs and send them to matching suppliers;
  • View all U.S. supplier data in one location
  • Filter suppliers by location, certifications, SBA designations, materials, equipment, processes and more;
  • Access blacklisted-supplier alerts;
  • Use supply chain risk visualization; and
  • Communicate with potential suppliers directly in the platform.

Kentucky suppliers can:

  • Find ideal contracts with less effort;
  • Receive RFPs/RFQs/RFIs directly from buyers (no broker listings);
  • Find alternate sourcing for parts and materials;
  • Discover new contract opportunities within new industries;
  • Showcase all capabilities, certifications, SBA designations, equipment and more in one location for buyers to see; and
  • Connect and respond directly with OEM/PRIME buyers within the platform.

The CONNEX Marketplace was developed by i5 Services to connect the U.S. manufacturing supply chain. Manufacturers and suppliers are now using it across the country to connect with one another and find new business opportunities.

Manufacturers interested in capitalizing on this new supply chain tool can sign up and get more information at

Kentucky is home to more than 5,000 manufacturing facilities that employ approximately 250,000 people. The commonwealth ranks among the leading manufacturing states with 12.5% of its workforce in the industry, compared to 8.1% nationally. In 2022 alone, new-location and expansion manufacturing projects accounted for $8.27 billion in new investments and 8,900 full-time jobs for Kentucky residents.

CONNEX Kentucky furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.

Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced the creation of 43,700 full-time jobs and 838 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $24.7 billion in announced investments.

With the books closed on 2022, the Governor has now secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth.

In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years.

That momentum continued strongly into 2022 with 248 new-location and expansion announcements totaling 16,000 full-time jobs behind nearly $10.5 billion in new investment.

The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.

Gov. Beshear also announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.

Kentucky’s success has been noted by both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, which have upgraded the state’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy. In addition, Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.

Gov. Beshear’s administration is projected to post the four highest years of budget surpluses in Kentucky history, and the state’s rainy-day fund has a record balance of $2.7 billion.

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.

Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at and the Governor’s official social media accounts FacebookTwitter and YouTube.