FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced continued investment in the state’s workforce training initiatives as over $15.2 million in state support was approved for companies and consortiums statewide to train more than 15,500 workers.
The approval includes a $10 million grant to support the training and development of 5,000 employees at BlueOval SK Battery Park in Glendale, which is scheduled to begin operation in 2025.
“Our workforce development initiatives are some of the most important and proactive steps we can take for the future of Kentucky’s economy,” said Gov. Beshear. “This funding will help train workers at BlueOval SK Battery Park in Glendale and roughly 20 other operations statewide, helping prepare thousands of Kentuckians to make an impact in their communities, while also better supporting their families through skilled, good-paying jobs. We’re committed to building a pipeline for the workforce of the future and this is the latest example of that commitment.”
The $10 million grant for workforce training at BlueOval SK aligns with the negotiated incentive package based on Ford and SK On’s 2021 announcement of a $5.8 billion investment and the creation of 5,000 full-time jobs. The approval was part of Wednesday’s Bluegrass State Skills Corp. (BSSC) meeting and was approved through the Commitment Grant-in-Aid program.
The funding will support employee training that includes industrial maintenance, lean, safety, process improvement, systems thinking, communication, worker characteristics, vision systems and culture roles. With the emergence of EV battery production in the United States, proper training for all BlueOval SK employees to understand the battery technology and manufacturing process is vital.
“BlueOval SK is committed to bringing 5,000 new jobs to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and creating a well-trained workforce,” BlueOval SK CEO Dr. Robert Rhee said. “We’re grateful for support from local stakeholders and eager to strengthen our partnership.”
BlueOval SK remains committed to both plants at BlueOval SK Battery Park, and construction is on schedule and unchanged. The first plant is scheduled to begin production in 2025. Last week, Ford and SK On officials announced they are evaluating the timing of operations at the second plant and remain fully committed to the project and its investment in Kentucky.
In April, Gov. Beshear joined officials from Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC), BlueOval SK and Ford Motor Co. to officially break ground on the ECTC BlueOval SK Training Center in Glendale. New employee and workforce development will take place at the new training center, located near the 1,500-acre BlueOval SK Battery Park site. The training center is the only co-branded learning facility within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System and represents a $25 million investment by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It is scheduled to be completed in 2024.
More information about employment at BlueOval SK Battery Park can be found here.
Additional BSSC approvalsAlso approved during Wednesday’s BSSC meeting was the Metropolitan College Tax Credit for over $3.8 million to benefit nearly 1,700 students.
Metro College is a joint education-workforce-economic development initiative between UPS, the University of Louisville, Jefferson Community & Technical College and the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro and Commonwealth of Kentucky governments. The partnership provides students with access to tuition-free, post-secondary education and high-quality employment opportunities.
Additionally, through the BSSC’s Grant-in-Aid (GIA) and Skills Training Investment Credit (STIC) programs, over $1.4 million in state support was approved yesterday to support training for 8,868 employees across 19 projects.
Included among those approvals was support for 2,313 trainees at Hitachi Astemo Americas Inc. in Harrodsburg, 941 trainees at Toyotetsu America Inc. in Somerset and 400 trainees at Lantech.com LLC in Louisville. Projects also included 3,824 trainees at The Training Consortium of South Central Kentucky Inc. in Bowling Green, 298 trainees at FEAM AERO in Erlanger and 440 trainees across three Mubea subsidiaries in Florence.
The BSSC’s GIA and STIC programs assist employers throughout the commonwealth. GIA provides cash reimbursements for occupational and skills upgrade training at Kentucky businesses, while STIC offers state income tax credits for companies to offset the costs for approved training programs. Applications for both programs are accepted and considered for approval by the BSSC Board of Directors.
BSSC incentives are available to a range of operations, including manufacturing, agribusiness, nonretail service or technology, headquarters operations, state-licensed hospital operations, coal severing and processing, alternative fuel, gasification, renewable energy production and carbon dioxide transmission pipelines.
For more information on BSSC or to apply for workforce training assistance, visit the BSSC webpage.
Kentucky’s investment in workforce training furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.
On Oct. 10, Gov. Beshear reported that General Fund receipts for September 2023 totaled over $1 billion, marking the 13th straight month with revenues over $1 billion. The Governor also recently announced that his administration secured the largest General Fund budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund, as well as the most jobs filled in state history.
The General Fund budget surplus at the end of fiscal year 2023 was more than $1.55 billion. Nearly all of the $1.55 billion surplus will go into the commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the fund to a record balance of $3.7 billion – a 2,700% increase since Gov. Beshear took office in 2019.
This year, the Governor announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced 904 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling over $27.8 billion in announced investments, creating 48,700 jobs. This is the highest investment figure for any governor in state history.
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.
The Governor also secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth and announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK On celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. In April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at 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.
That position was strengthened even further in May 2023, when the Governor and leaders at Toyota announced a $591 million investment across multiple projects as the company’s largest manufacturing operation in Georgetown introduced its first battery electric vehicle. Growth within the EV sector continued into June as Gov. Beshear joined INFAC North America to break ground on the company’s $53 million investment to support EV-related production in Campbellsville.
Over a two-month period this year, Kentucky secured two credit rating increases from major agencies. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration obtained the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever upgrade from Fitch Ratings. On June 29, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth received its first-ever rating increase from S&P Global Ratings. Recently, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Kentucky’s credit outlook from stable to positive.
Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top-5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects. The publication also 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 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.