A $1.3 billion aluminum rolling mill will bring 550 new jobs to the South Shore area of Greenup Co., Ky. and the surrounding area. On Wednesday, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and executives from Braidy Industries Inc. made an appearance in Wurtland, Ky., where they announced the company will build a $1.3 billion aluminum mill and create 550 advanced manufacturing jobs with an average wage of $70,000 in Greenup County to produce sheet and plate for the automotive and aerospace industries.
Bevin said the announcement marks a turning point in bringing economic vitality to Eastern Kentucky, and comes just two days after the 53rd anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 declaration of the “War on Poverty” in Appalachia.
“Braidy Industries’ decision to locate in Eastern Kentucky has the potential to be as significant as any economic deal ever made in the history of Kentucky,” Bevin said. “This $1.3 billion investment will create enormous opportunity for people in the region, and would not have been possible without our recently passed right-to-work legislation. I look forward to the success of Braidy Industries as they leverage the incredible work ethic found in Eastern Kentucky. The ripple effect of this investment will be significant and will produce positive change in the region for generations to come.”
Braidy Industries will construct a 2.5 million-square-foot aluminum mill on more than 300 acres near South Shore in Greenup County. The company expects construction to begin in early 2018, with completion in 2020. Construction will create about 1,000 jobs.
Initially, the facility will produce about 370,000 tons of aluminum per year for the automotive and aerospace industries, with opportunities to expand over time.
The average wage of workers in the new facility will be about $70,000 per year. The company will also provide low-cost healthy meals, a day care, a fitness center and other amenities to create an employee-friendly workplace.
Craig Bouchard, Braidy Industries chairman and CEO, said the new plant will both revitalize the region and raise the bar for aluminum production globally.
“Our team recognizes an opportunity to make incredible impacts both in the global aluminum industry and in bringing well-paying jobs to Eastern Kentucky in the heart of Appalachia,” Bouchard said. “The state’s willingness to partner closely with private industry makes this a prime location to found and grow our world-class and cutting-edge rolling mill.”
Bouchard founded Braidy Industries earlier this year. He chose Greenup County for its strengths as a location for metal production as well as to spearhead an economic revival in Eastern Kentucky. Bouchard’s team includes experts in the aluminum industry, metallurgical research, international business and a range of other disciplines.
Dr. Michael E. Porter, professor at Harvard Business School and a global expert on competitiveness and economic development, serves as a Braidy Industries board member. Porter assisted the company in assessing Kentucky’s competitive advantage versus other potential locations.
“Eastern Kentucky has significant competitive advantages, including its proximity to the leading automotive and aerospace customers, low energy costs and a skilled and available workforce for heavy manufacturing,” Porter said. “The decision to locate in Greenup County will provide an opportunity for Braidy Industries and the community to work together to transform the region’s business environment as well as attract related companies.”
Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Sec. Terry Gill said the project holds the promise of transforming the region.
For more information on Braidy Industries, visit www.braidyindustries.com.
A detailed community profile for Greenup and Boyd counties can be viewed at http://bit.ly/BoydGreenup.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.
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