Governor Beshear, Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation announce biggest economic development project in Kentucky history
FRANKFORT, Ky. (September 27, 2021) – Governor Andy Beshear, Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation announced the largest economic development project in Commonwealth history on Monday, celebrating a transformative $ 5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs and place Kentucky at the forefront of the future of the auto industry.
Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation will build two electric battery factories at BlueOvalSK Battery Park in Hardin County, investing a record $ 5.8 billion. With the announcement, Kentucky breaks all annual economic development records on the books for annual investment totals and is poised to have its best year of job creation in history. Kentucky workers at BlueOvalSK Battery Park will supply Ford’s North American assembly plants with batteries that will power the next generation of Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles. Production of advanced lithium-ion batteries will begin in 2025.
The factories will be built on the 1,551-acre economic development site near Interstate 65 in Glendale and will generate 86 gigawatt hours, which Commonwealth officials say will make Kentucky the largest producer of automotive electric batteries in the country. .
Governor Beshear, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, CEO Jim Farley and Dong-Seob Jee, President of SK Innovation’s Battery Business, will join Kentucky executives to reveal more about the historic project at 4:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday at the Kentucky State Capitol. Executives from Ford and SK Innovation, as well as state and local leaders, will attend the announcement.
“We thank Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation for their investment in Team Kentucky,” Governor Beshear said. “This is the largest investment in the history of our state, and this project strengthens our role as a leader in the future of the automotive industry. It will transform our economy, creating a better Kentucky with more opportunities for our families for generations. Our economy is on fire – and now it’s electric. We will never again be considered a state of overflight. Our time is now. Our future is now.
“Ford is very excited to make this historic investment in the great state of Kentucky,” said Lisa Drake, Ford North America COO. “Kentucky has been an incredible Ford partner for over 100 years and is home to the Louisville Assembly Plant and the Kentucky Truck Plant. With this announcement, Kentucky will play a pivotal role as Ford fulfills its commitment to lead the electric vehicle revolution and create thousands of jobs in the Commonwealth, and we look forward to working with Kentuckians to create the future together. . “
The $ 5.8 billion investment is more than triple the previous largest investment announced in Kentucky. The 5,000 jobs advertised, which represents the number of full-time factory jobs and does not include construction, supplier or dealer jobs, is more than double the number of any previous advertisement in the Commonwealth.
At the Glendale Megasite, Kentucky and its partners will move from the traditional automobile to the electric vehicle of the future. Ford expects at least 40% of its global sales to be electric vehicles by 2030, and Kentucky-made batteries will help fuel that transition.
The landmark announcement builds on the century-long partnership between Kentucky and Ford.
Kentucky workers took a Model T from a Ford assembly line in Louisville in 1913. The Louisville Assembly Plant and Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville directly employ approximately 13,000 workers and thousands more. work for suppliers and dealers.
Kentucky workers assemble the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair at the Louisville Assembly Plant, which opened in 1955, and they assemble the Ford Super Duty trucks, the Ford Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator at the plant in Kentucky trucks, which opened in 1969.
From Ford’s direct employees to suppliers and dealers, Ford has helped create jobs for approximately 120,000 people in Kentucky, not counting the jobs announced today.
A 2020 Economic Impact report estimated Ford’s impact on gross domestic product in Kentucky to be around $ 11.7 billion. Ford has spent more than $ 6.3 billion in investments and upgrades in Kentucky since 1987.
Booming economy and unlimited potential
Even amid a global pandemic and subsequent national economic downturn, Governor Beshear has prioritized well-paying jobs across all corners of the Commonwealth, attracting nearly 400 projects creating more than 20,600 full-time jobs for Kentuckians , with the private sector announcing more than $ 11.4 billion in investments in Kentucky since December 2019.
This year alone, the governor announced more than $ 8.7 billion in total planned investments and 11,700 full-time jobs in new premises and private sector expansion projects in the years to come. Until July, Kentucky’s average incentive hourly wage was $ 23.47 before benefits, an increase of 6.2% from the previous year.
“This is our best year ever, and it won’t be until September,” Governor Beshear said.
Through a bipartisan deal with lawmakers earlier this year, the governor launched the Better Kentucky Plan, which aims to create 14,500 jobs and help Kentucky take the lead in the post-COVID economy. The plan allocates more than $ 750 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to build schools, expand broadband access, and provide safe drinking water and sewage systems across the country. Commonwealth. Thanks to this plan, the state has allocated $ 75 million to modernize vocational education centers.
In July, thanks to strong budget management from the Beshear administration, the state budget office announced that the Commonwealth had ended fiscal 2021 with a general fund surplus of more than $ 1.1 billion – the highest ever in the Commonwealth – and a 10.9% increase in the general fund. revenue to $ 12.8 billion.
In May, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting that mass vaccination was the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods relative to services. The report also found that Kentucky’s manufacturing industry has outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year. Kentucky remains the nation’s largest vehicle producer per capita, thanks in large part to Ford’s production.
Fitch Ratings in May improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the Commonwealth’s strong economic recovery. April sales tax receipts from the state set a monthly record of $ 486.5 million, as did vehicle use tax receipts of over $ 64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2020 placed Kentucky at the top of the South Central region, and third nationally, for eligible projects per capita. The Commonwealth also ranked seventh in total projects, the highest of any state with a population of less than 5 million. Site Selection also recently tied Kentucky for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup ranking, positioning the state among the nation’s leaders in the business climate.
Kentucky has an unmatched logistical advantage in recruiting jobs. Kentucky is less than a day’s drive from two-thirds of the American population.
Kentucky is the only state with three international air transport hubs along with those operated by UPS, DHL and Amazon Prime.
To read Ford’s announcement, visit media.ford.com.