Mayor Fischer announces new effort to teach data skills to Louisvillians impacted by COVID-19 outbreak

Ben Reno-Weber


Demand for skilled tech workers continues to accelerate

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 13, 2020) – Mayor Greg Fischer today announced a new effort to expand the number of qualified tech workers in Louisville while helping those impacted by the COVID-19 economic disruptions.

The program, launched by the Future of Work Initiative powered by Microsoft, encourages residents to access free, self-paced online data skills training. The launch of the catalogue of free resources is part of a broader effort to help Louisville assert itself as a hub for the emerging data economy.

“Through this initiative and other efforts, Louisville is taking steps to prepare our city, our businesses and our residents, particularly those who have not traditionally been a part of the tech economy, for the next data revolution,” the Mayor said.

Earlier this year, Louisville hosted a summit focused on Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work, and the need to expand Louisville’s tech talent pipeline to meet the workforce demand was a major topic of discussion.

“That need has only accelerated with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has thrown millions of Americans out of work,” the Mayor said. “We need to help more people in our city develop the tech skills we know are in growing demand.”

The new effort is kicking off with a “30-day Data Upskilling Challenge” to boost the number of people in Louisville with data-economy skills. The Future of Work Initiative will host a daily raffle of a laptop computer every weekday for four weeks beginning April 20. To be eligible, email a copy of badges or certificates you’ve earned to, and send a link to your LinkedIn Profile with the badge or skill listed. Each badge or certificate equals one entry, and the raffle resets each week.

The programs will allow people to build valuable skills and obtain specific, industry-recognized credentials, with the goal of expanding the pipeline of workers qualified to fill jobs in data-focused career tracks, including data analytics, digital marketing, software engineering, and user experience design.

People can select from programs ranging from two-hour teaser workshops to multi-day programs that prepare people to test for industry certifications. You can sign-up for the Future of Work Initiative at

The Future of Work Initiative is a partnership between Microsoft and Louisville Metro Government around artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and data science that involves upskilling the workforce, helping companies implement emerging technologies, accelerating equity into digital fields, and using technology to solve social issues.

“Smart investors invest when the market is down, and this is the right moment for Louisville to invest in itself. These are skills that are in demand now, and that demand will only grow as more companies in Louisville position themselves to be successful in the emerging data economy,” said Ben Reno-Weber, Director of the Future of Work Initiative. “As a community, we can set ourselves up to bounce back faster and better if we take this time to give opportunity to the full spectrum of our community, particularly those who have been traditionally sidelined.”

In addition to Microsoft, the Future of Work partners include the University of Louisville, General Assembly, Humana, and the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council.

“This new initiative is a continuation of the work started last year with the announcement of LouTechWorks and the Future of Work Initiative,” the Mayor said. “We are taking these steps to prepare our city and residents, particularly those who have not traditionally been a part of the tech economy, for the rapidly approaching data revolution.”

Lift Up Lou begins highlighting work from Louisville Arts Network

Earlier this month, Mayor Fischer and Lift Up Lou launched the Louisville Arts Network in partnership with 10 local arts partners and Louisville Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams to spur creativity during this turbulent time. The Louisville Arts Network is providing small commissions to Louisville artists and asking them to create new works of art that reflect this moment in the life of our city.

Thus far, 80 artists have submitted proposals, and the Louisville Arts Network has begun offering grants. One of the first artists selected is Louisville teacher and printmaker Liz Foley, who runs her own studio, Foley Prints. Her work will be highlighted beginning at 3 p.m. on Tuesday by Lift Up Lou via its social media channels.

“I’m thrilled to be one of the opening acts debuting the Louisville Arts Network,” Foley said. “We’re going to have a lot of fun learning how to create a piece of art everyone can enjoy simply by finding things you might take for granted in your own backyard. I hope I’m joined by a lot of people on social media and am looking forward to walking everyone through the process. Don’t forget to share your creations with us by using #LiftUpLou.”

For more information, go to

“I want to thank all of our arts community partners who’ve helped us establish the Louisville Arts Network, and that includes Kentucky Performing Arts, Teddy Abrams and donors Christina Lee Brown and Owsley Brown III,” the Mayor said. “And we’d love for more artists to apply and create new work.”

Daily COVID-19 data

As of Monday, there have been 569 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, an increase of 33 since Saturday. There have been 5 additional deaths, bringing the Louisville total to 45.

Gender/Age data for today’s deaths

  • Female/84
  • Male/81
  • Female/81
  • Male/72
  • Female/70

Currently, 19 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:

  • 5 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation.
  • 6 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
  • 8 are “screened off” with symptoms and have been tested (or due to be tested) but have not received test results.

Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:

  • 10 positive tests.
  • 5 have fully recovered and returned to duty.

Metro Corrections inmate data for April 13:

  • 35 inmates have been tested.
  • 0 positive tests.
  • 0 tests are pending.
  • 4 inmates are in isolation due to possible COVID-19 exposure.

Handmade masks are helping to protect first responders and local homeless people

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Mayor Fischer has asked the community to support frontline healthcare workers and first responders by producing and donating personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, and gloves.

Today, he cited three Louisvillians – Kurt Pitzer with Hour of Need, Tracie Meyer with the Louisville Health Advisory Board, and Jane Hermes with Merlexi Craft – who made masks that they donated to Louisville Metro Government.

“Our Incident Management Team has been distributing these masks to our first responders and frontline public servants, and we’ve also distributed some to our homeless shelters,” the Mayor said. “This is just another great example of the compassionate spirit of our city in action.”

Although Louisville hospitals are not yet overwhelmed with virus patients, they continue to be concerned about their supplies of PPE. That includes:

  • Coveralls
  • Face shields
  • Respirators
  • Safety goggles
  • Surgical masks
  • Surgical gloves
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Hand sanitizer (65% alcohol minimum)

If your company can donate or manufacture any of these items, or know someone who can, and you want to know more, please contact Louisville Metro Government at and someone will respond.

You can also contact the state PPE hotline at 1-833-448-3773 or go online at

JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio joins the Mayor for online town hall Tuesday

Mayor Fischer will host an online town hall on Tuesday morning with Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio, who will provide an update on the first week of non-traditional instruction for thousands of teachers, students, and parents who are staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“I want to say thanks to Dr. Pollio, his team, and all of our teachers who are working to adapt this new medium so our students can continue to learn. On behalf of our city, thank you,” the Mayor said.

Go to at 10 a.m. on Tuesday to participate.