Ron Crouch, the director of research and statistics for the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, spoke at Murray State University's Curris Center Tuesday as part of the West Kentucky United for Economic Development Conference.
The purpose of the conference is to focus attention on economic development in West Kentucky and Murray State’s role in that. Continuing a dialogue among government officials, business and industry representatives, and others on economic development themes and initiatives will be the ongoing goal.
In the speech, Crouch touches on several topics, including the dwindling population of 24-to-35-year-olds in the Jackson Purchase.
“Your young adult population has been leaving,” Crouch said. “You've got a population who, if they stayed here, you'd have a stable work force. How do you create enough jobs to give those people the ability to stay here?”
Kentucky as a whole, Crouch says, is on par or better than 43 states when it comes to 8th grade test scores. But the percentage of adults with bachelor’s degrees or higher compared to the rest of the United States is low. In the Purchase, only Calloway County has a higher percentage than the rest of the U.S. and Canada, while only Calloway, McCracken and Hickman counties have a higher percentage of degrees than Mexico.