In April 2017, Braidy Industries announced a $1.3 billion aluminum rolling mill to be located in Ashland, Kentucky. Braidy’s 2.5 million-square-foot mill is expected to employ 550 permanent workers and 1,000 temporary workers during construction.
Braidy seeks to become the nation’s leading producer of affordable, high quality body sheet aluminum, plate and ultra-high strength alloys for the aerospace industry.
Why did Braidy Industries select Appalachia to build its new facility? Here are the top five reasons for their investment in eastern Kentucky.
Available, Highly Skilled Workforce
A comprehensive regional workforce analysis of the Kentucky region shows that coal miners, many of whom have lost their jobs due to recent mine closings, have the metal-working skills that companies like Braidy Industries requires. The study concluded that there were eight times the national average of skilled metal workers in the region, making eastern Kentucky a great workforce resource for the aerospace industry.
Braidy Chairman and CEO Craig Bouchard stated publicly that passage of right-to-work legislation was a key deciding factor in locating the company in the commonwealth. Kentucky joins 27 other states with its new right-to-work law, passed during the first week of the 2017 General Assembly and immediately signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin.
Businesses in right-to-work states have higher profits and create more jobs compared to states without this type of legislation, and it will make the region more attractive for additional business investment.
Low Electric Rate
Bouchard credited Kentucky Power and AEP in helping the company choose the Kentucky site for its mill.
“We have negotiated an efficient package with Kentucky Power and AEP because they wanted us in eastern Kentucky,” Bouchard said. “I believe we have the lowest energy cost of any rolling mill producing aluminum in the United States. The competitive advantage of that is spectacular.”
AeroReady Certification and Appalachian Sky Initiative
Along with our economic development partners, AEP is aggressively working to create a hub for the aerospace industry through our “Appalachian Sky” initiative and AeroReady Certification. Additionally, independent consultants from Common Sense Economic Development and Tuscon Atlantic Consulting have certified 17 counties in the Tri-State Appalachia region of Kentucky (Kentucky Power), Ohio (AEP Ohio) and West Virginia (Appalachian Power Company) are AeroReady, which provides businesses with the confidence that the region has the assets needed for aerospace to thrive in the area.
Strong Partnerships Between Private Business and Government
A strong relationship between business and government helps everyone succeed in Kentucky. A collaborative environment where private businesses can work with the government to achieve sustainable development is a keystone of building your business in this region.
“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.”
Braidy Industries represents one of many important partnerships Kentucky Power has formed to bring jobs and investment to our communities, and it’s an exciting beginning to our long-term strategy to establish central Appalachia as a preferred region for the aerospace industry. Our recruiting efforts continue at Paris Air Show this week.
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