State’s efforts paying off with more jobs

Published 6:01 pm Monday, December 18, 2017

Kentucky appears to be on the right track when it comes to creating an environment ripe for economic development, with recent announcements accounting for $1.7 billion investment on two eastern Kentucky projects.

Now is time to make sure Central Kentucky is well positioned to benefit from future projects.

EnerBlu Inc., a leading manufacturer or lithium batteries, announced Friday it will invest $372 million and create 875 full-time jobs at a new production facility in Pikeville. The company also will move its headquarters from Riverside, California, bringing another $40 million investment and 110 administrative, research-and-development and executive jobs to Lexington, according to the Associated Press.

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Company officials touted an available workforce, low power costs and Kentucky’s ideal geographical location within a day’s drive of 65 percent of the nation’s population as reasons they chose the Bluegrass State, according to the AP reports.

The Pikeville plant will manufacture rechargeable lithium titanate batteries that power transit buses, commercial trucks, military vehicles and other equipment. Construction is scheduled to start in mid-2018, with completion slated for 2020. The new headquarters is expected to open next year.

Relatively speaking, this victory comes on the heels of Braidy Industries’ April announcement for plans to build a $1.3 billion aluminum plant in Greenup County that is projected to create 550 full time jobs.

Both these projects very easily could have ended up in another state.

The success in landing these companies and expansion plans for a variety of companies across the state is a testament to the work Gov. Matt Bevin and other state agencies are doing to create an environment that draws interest and then backing it up with incentive packages that help seal the deal.

Winchester and Clark County has the potential for one of these game-changing victories. We have a good foundation at the industrial park that has seen solid growth, both in terms of new businesses and the expansion of the existing ones.

It is exciting to see the rest of the country starting to take notice of Kentucky for all the right reasons.