• In the last 5 years, nearly 6.2 million
    vehicles have been produced in Kentucky

  • The automotive industry employs nearly 100,000
    workers at over 500 establishments

  • 1,316,137 Kentucky-made vehicle
    were produced in 2016

  • $5.4 billion in Kentucky-made vehicles and
    parts were exported in 2016

  • Kentucky is the #1 vehicle-producing state
    per capita, and #3 overall

Building Kentucky’s Future Workforce

KY FAME to expand its apprentice-style training program statewide

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 14, 2015) – Imagine how great it would be if somehow you could discover a high-paying, interesting career while earning a degree – with no college debt when it’s all over.

Imagine no more. Gov. Steve Beshear today announced the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) is expanding into a statewide organization.

KY FAME is a partnership of manufacturers that have teamed up to address the shortage of technically skilled workers needed in advanced manufacturing. KY FAME offers an innovative, apprentice-style education and training program designed to create one of the most highly skilled workforces in the world.

Program participants attend classes two days per week at their local community college and work an additional 24 hours per week for a sponsoring employer. Upon completion of the program, students receive an associate degree in Applied Sciences, and, with the practical skills gained during their paid work experience, most begin full-time employment with the sponsor. Others may decide to further their technical education to obtain an engineering degree.

“KY FAME provides tremendous benefits to both students and companies,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is a great opportunity for our state’s youth to gain the hands-on experience needed to achieve quality careers and gives companies a stronger workforce to choose from – both of which are very important components in growing our state’s economy. I’m excited to see KY FAME expand, and I look forward to the federation creating a statewide workforce that’s second to none.”

Now, in addition to the Bluegrass (central Kentucky) chapter, KY FAME is creating three new chapters in Greater Louisville, northern Kentucky and Elizabethtown/Lincoln Trail regions. The federation’s goal is to expand to all corners of the Commonwealth.

To facilitate the statewide expansion of the program, Gov. Beshear is announcing the creation of the KY FAME statewide board of directors. The board will work with communities and other companies to develop KY FAME chapters and programming throughout Kentucky. Board members include:

  • Kim Menke, Toyota (Georgetown)
  • Terry McMichael, 3M (Cynthiana)
  • Tom Hudson, nth/works(Louisville)
  • Mike Hirsch, ZF Steering (Florence)
  • Kurt Krug, INOAC (Springfield/Bardstown)
  • Peter Feil, Stober Drives (Maysville)
  • TBD, Kellogg (Pikeville)
  • Donnie Slagle, Toyotetsu (Somerset)
  • Gregory Head, Kobe Aluminum (Bowling Green)
  • Mary Beth Hudson, Wacker Chemical (Calvert City)
  • Farrah Corbett, Premium Allied Tool (Owensboro)
  • Erik Dunnigan, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
  • Greg Higdon, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers
  • Dianne Leveridge, Kentucky Community & Technical College System

“It’s very exciting to see KY FAME grow in Kentucky,” said Kim Menke, manager of government affairs for Toyota. “Toyota helped launch KY FAME four years ago, and the program has produced tremendous results. I’m thrilled that more parts of the state will have the opportunity to support local companies and grow our manufacturing workforce across the Commonwealth.”

“KY FAME will have a significant impact on northern Kentucky,” said Mike Hirsch, vice president of operations at ZF Steering in Florence and president of the KY FAME Northern Kentucky Chapter. “I’m confident the program will provide real solutions to the workforce challenges facing our local manufacturers and provide a strong career path for our students.”

KY FAME isn’t just for the state’s largest employers. Danette Wilder, president and CEO of Lexington-based SealingLife Technology, has been using KY FAME for her small, minority-owned business for the past four years.

“KY FAME is a win for small businesses,” said Wilder. “Many small businesses have limited budgets, and KY FAME gives me a hands-on labor force at a competitive cost. The program has really helped my company thrive in central Kentucky.”

Tom Hudson, president of nth/works in Louisville, and president of the Greater Louisville chapter said, “Kentucky cannot fully participate in the manufacturing renaissance unless and until we solve the manufacturing skills gap. By aligning together and clearly defining our needs we can solve this problem by working with secondary and post-secondary schools and government to create a system that attracts, develops and retains skilled manufacturing talent.”

“Workforce development is one of the top issues facing Kentucky manufacturers,” said Greg Higdon, president and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM). “The KY FAME model presents an opportunity with unlimited potential for manufacturers to control their workforce needs. KAM is proud to be a part of the development and expansion of KY FAME.”

Created in 2010, the Bluegrass chapter of KY FAME has 16 companies, including Toyota, Link Belt, Commonwealth Tool and 3M. More than 40 students have completed the program and more than 60 students are currently enrolled.

“This program gives us the experience to go anywhere and work wherever we want to,” said Dalton Ballard, a KY FAME student working at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky in Georgetown. “I’ll have the choice of getting a high-paying job or continuing my education. That is what’s so great about KY FAME.”

To learn more about KY FAME, visit www.KYFAME.com.

Hendrickson USA LLC to Expand Operations in Somerset; Create 80 New Jobs

Company’s third Kentucky project this year

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 11, 2014) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced Hendrickson USA LLC will increase capacity at its facility in Pulaski County.

Hendrickson, a manufacturer of heavy duty commercial trailer and truck suspension systems, is expected to create up to 80 new jobs and invest $2.8 million into the project.

“This is a welcomed investment,” said Gov. Beshear. “The fact that Hendrickson decided grow here yet again is a further testament to Kentucky’s highly skilled workforce and strong business climate. Hendrickson has been a tremendous corporate partner to the Commonwealth and I’m excited for this latest expansion.”

The company plans to install new equipment in its facility in the Pin Oak Industrial Park. The new equipment will increase capacity for manufacturing semi-trailer suspension systems and related components.

“Our team members in Kentucky have proven their dedication, loyalty and determination in contributing to the success of the company in this area,” said Perry Bahr, Hendrickson’s vice president and general manager. “Those efforts continue to help expand the Hendrickson business while maintaining our reputation in the commercial transportation industry as a global manufacturer and supplier of durable, dependable and quality suspension systems. This project would not have been possible without the support of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We look forward to an ongoing partnership with local and state officials to help Hendrickson, as well as the community, to continue to grow and prosper.”

Hendrickson, a Boler company, is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of medium and heavy-duty suspension systems, axle systems, springs, and bumper and trim components. In addition to the Somerset location, which opened in 2007, the company has an existing operation in Lebanon and opened a new 100,000-square-foot facility in Elizabethtown earlier this year. Hendrickson also announced an expansion of the Lebanon operation in September. In total, the company employs a combined 500 Kentuckians.

Sen. Chris Girdler
Rep. Tommy Turner


To encourage the investment and job growth in Pulaski County, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

For more information on Hendrickson USA LLC, visit www.hendrickson-intl.com.

Lt. Gov. Luallen Celebrates Expansion of T.RAD North America in Hopkinsville

Japanese-owned heat transfer manufacturer to increase production, add 200 jobs

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 2, 2014) – Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen today joined company officials and local leaders to break ground on T.RAD North America Inc.’s expansion in Christian County.

T.RAD, a Japanese-owned heat transfer manufacturer, is expected to create 200 jobs and invest $25 million.
Gov. Steve Beshear applauded the expansion. “T.RAD North America is a valuable asset to western Kentucky and our thriving automotive industry,” said Gov. Beshear. “We’re proud to be part of the growth and success we’re seeing today. The Commonwealth takes great pride in partnering with local businesses to help keep them competitive and prosperous right here in the Bluegrass.”

“This is an excellent opportunity for both T.RAD and Kentucky,” said Lt. Gov. Luallen. “Matching a great company with our excellent workforce provides a significant boost to our local economy. We’re proud of our relationship with T.RAD, and we know the company and its employees will continue to succeed here.”

T.RAD plans to construct additional manufacturing space to its 180,000-square-foot operation in Commerce Park. The expansion will increase production efficiency and reduce costs.

“Since 1988, when T.RAD decided to locate in Hopkinsville, we have experienced great cooperation from Kentucky and the local community in growing our company, beginning with 30 employees to our current 500,” said Tatsuya Kikuyama, president of T.RAD North America. “We are excited about our future and believe the Hopkinsville community will continue to provide us with an excellent workforce and good relationships with both the state and local governments.”

T.RAD North America designs and manufactures heat transfer and cooling systems for the automotive, motorcycle, construction and agricultural industries, as well as for the military. The company currently employs nearly 500 people in Hopkinsville.

This is the latest of several T.RAD investments in western Kentucky. In 2012, the company announced plans to invest $10.8 million to purchase new equipment to increase production capacity and meet the demand for lighter weight aluminum products.

Kentucky continues to be a hotbed for Japanese investment. More than 160 Japanese facilities are in Kentucky, employing more than 40,000 people. In the past two years, 52 Japanese companies have announced plans to invest more than $1.3 billion statewide.

To further strengthen those ties, Gov. Beshear traveled to Japan last month to meet with business leaders across multiple industries.

Kentucky is home to more than 460 automotive-related industries that employ more than 82,000 people. The Commonwealth ranks third highest in auto industry-related employment as a percent of total state employment among the top motor vehicle producing states in the United States.

“T.RAD is a valuable part of Hopkinsville’s industrial family, and I couldn’t be more excited about T.RAD bringing new jobs to Christian County,” said Sen. Whitney Westerfield, of Hopkinsville. “The positive economic impact on this region and the Commonwealth as a whole is immeasurable. T.RAD’s expansion means 200 new jobs and that translates directly into support for at least 200 families. It also is direct testimony that Kentucky’s automotive manufacturing industry and Hopkinsville’s workforce are worthy of investment.”

“T.RAD has been a great corporate partner, so I’m certainly pleased to see it make this investment and create so many new jobs for our community,” said Rep. John Tilley, of Hopkinsville. “This will be a big help for a lot of our families, and it offers further proof that our region is an ideal place for businesses to grow.”

“Today’s expansion is encouraging news for our local economy and our able workforce by creating nearly 200 new jobs for the area,” said Rep. Myron Dossett, of Pembroke. “T.RAD’s expansion also is a positive reflection not only on the economic base in Hopkinsville and Christian County, but on Kentucky as whole because of its status as a leader in the automotive manufacturing industry.”

“Once again we applaud T.RAD for making such a significant investment to grow their local operation,” said Hopkinsville Mayor Dan Kemp. “T.RAD continues to be an important part of our community by providing quality jobs for our citizens. The company recently celebrated 25 years in Hopkinsville-Christian County, and we look forward to many more to come.”

“The expansion of the T.RAD facility in Commerce Park is the result of a tremendous partnership formed with our community in 1987,” said Christian County Judge-Executive Steve Tribble. “T.RAD North America is a world leader in the production of heat transfer products and we are proud of the company’s success. We congratulate T.RAD and all the employees at this facility for their hard work and the contributions they make to our regional economy.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in Christian County, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.3 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

KEDFA also approved T.RAD for tax benefits up to $200,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.

A detailed community profile for Hopkinsville (Christian County) can be viewed here.

Gov. Beshear Announces Kowa Kentucky Inc. to Establish Operations in Corbin

Kowa’s first operation in North America

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2014) – Further proving Kentucky is a great place for foreign investment, Gov. Steve Beshear today joined company officials and local leaders to announce Kowa Kentucky Inc. plans to open a facility in Knox County.

For Kowa, which specializes in metalworking and treatment, the southeastern Kentucky location will be the company’s first operation in North America. Kowa plans to create 30 jobs and invest $8.3 million into the project.
“Kentucky welcomes Kowa as its newest corporate citizen, one that will significantly enrich the southeastern Kentucky region, as well as the entire Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “The fact that Kowa has chosen Kentucky as the destination for its global operations speaks volumes about the pro-business climate and quality workforce we offer. I congratulate the company on this global expansion, and I look forward to building upon our partnership for years to come.”

Kowa plans to move into the Corbin Regional Speculative building in the Southeast Kentucky Business Park this fall. The new facility will focus on surface treatment for automotive suppliers, specifically a highly advanced process known as electroless nickel plating.

Kowa is a leading provider of hot dip galvanized coating, various surface treatments of metal and metalworking. Its parent company, Kowa Kogyosho Company Ltd., is based in Nagoya, Japan.

“We are excited about opening our first North American facility in Corbin and look forward to a long-lasting partnership with the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Toshio Muguruma, president of Kowa Kogyosho Co. Ltd.

“With our state-of-the art plating technologies, we hope to be able to expand our customer base in North America in coming years,” said Saetsu Sato, president of Kowa Kentucky, Inc.

Kentucky has been extremely successful in the attraction of foreign direct investment. The Commonwealth is home to nearly 450 foreign-owned companies. More than 160 of those businesses are Japanese-owned, and they employ 43,000 people statewide.

“This is great news for Corbin,” said Sen. Robert Stivers, of Manchester. “I applaud Bruce Carpenter, director of Corbin’s Economic Development Agency, for the hard work he has done, and all those who helped him at the state and local level bringing Kowa here. Kowa offers what all of Kentucky needs – skilled, well-paying positions providing good opportunities for the region.”

“Kentucky continues to set the bar for its growing automotive and automotive components manufacturing industry, including growing the number of research companies locating to the Commonwealth,” said Rep. Jim Stewart, of Flat Lick. “I’m pleased Kowa chose Knox County for its first facility in North America, and I’m happy to know that our people will be involved in discovering new ways to help automakers build a better vehicle.”

“Kowa Kentucky Inc. is definitely an economic boost for Corbin and the surrounding area,” said Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney. “We are truly excited and appreciative for Kowa locating and establishing its company here. We look forward to a long and great working relationship.”

“On behalf of the Corbin and Knox County, I would like to thank Kowa Kentucky Inc. for bringing its business here,” said Knox County Judge-Executive J.M. Hall. “We look forward to working with Kowa and helping to support its future in the Southeast Kentucky Regional Business Park with our capable workforce. This partnership will be a great opportunity for our county and the surrounding counties.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in Corbin, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives of up to $600,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

KEDFA also approved the company for tax benefits up to $50,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.

A detailed community profile for Knox County can be viewed here.

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