Governor recognizes Hardin County leaders who helped secure historic investment; Lt. Gov. Coleman to focus on role in expanding job opportunities as economy heats up
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 21, 2021) – On Thursday during his weekly Team Kentucky update, Gov. Andy Beshear welcomed four Hardin County leaders who were instrumental in helping secure a historic $5.8 billion investment from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation. He also recognized them as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.
“It took a lot of work to get here. It took a lot of work on the state-level, and I’ve got to tell you, a lot of critical work on relationship-building on the local level,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is the commonwealth’s largest ever investment – $5.8 billion. It is so big, it’s hard to process. We’ve gotten new calls from potential suppliers to this facility as recent as this morning. These 5,000 jobs and $5.8 billion are just the start.”
“I’m pleased to be a part of this. Over the last 20 years, we have worked diligently to make the Glendale site attractive to a project like this,” said Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry. “We’ve done all of the work to bring water and sewer and the utilities to that site, all of the environmental studies that needed to be done. We’re very excited in Hardin County about this project.”
“We’re excited as can be in Elizabethtown, and we appreciate the leadership in the Governor’s Office and Secretary Larry Hayes and his leadership from his staff,” said Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory. “From the top to the bottom, everybody has worked well together with the opportunity we have in Hardin County and Elizabethtown with the Ford and SK Innovation plant coming down there. They have bet on the people of Hardin County, the people of Elizabethtown, and we’re going to do everything we can to not let them down.”
Ed Poppe, Elizabethtown city administrator, and Rick Games, Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation president and chief operating officer, also joined Gov. Beshear at today’s Team Kentucky update.
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman announced she will step down as Secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC) to focus exclusively on her role as Lieutenant Governor, with the priority of further expanding job opportunities for Kentuckians as the commonwealth’s economy gains even more momentum.
“With all this opportunity, I’m telling you, in many ways, we need more than one Governor,” said Gov. Beshear. “Fortunately, we have a Lieutenant Governor who can help in this day-to-day process of making sure we grasp every one of these economic development opportunities.”
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to be the first Lieutenant Governor in Kentucky’s history to simultaneously serve as the Secretary of Education and Workforce Development,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “With that said, there is so much work to be done in the education and workforce development arena to support an economy that is on fire, and I know that seeing these commitments through requires a laser-like focus. So, today I am saying farewell to my position as cabinet secretary because I know it is in good hands.”
Deputy Secretary Mary Pat Regan will assume the role of acting secretary of the EWDC.
Lt. Gov. Coleman added: “My focus as Lieutenant Governor and my commitment to the Beshear-Coleman administration remains the same: seizing this moment as our economy booms to build a better Kentucky for all of our families.”
Lt. Gov. Coleman said through some of the darkest days of the pandemic, the EWDC was able to move forward with its mission to build a cradle-to-career education and job training system in Kentucky.
Some of the cabinet’s accomplishments under Lt. Gov. Coleman’s leadership include:
- Launching the state’s Free GED program, which waived the $125 GED testing fee, the greatest barrier for the 300,000 Kentuckians who do not have their high school diploma or GED equivalent;
- Prioritizing broadband as a critical component of Kentucky’s infrastructure: EWDC led the way in helping the Beshear-Coleman administration close the digital divide from 15% of households with school aged children to below 2%;
- Establishing the Commonwealth Education Continuum to close the gaps along the cradle-to-career pipeline and investing $1 million from EWDC’s workforce funds to relaunch the Kentucky Academy for Equity in Teaching; and
- Traveling across Kentucky hosting a series of 10 regional student mental health action summits. During the next legislative session, the involved students and Lt. Gov. Coleman will make policy recommendations to lawmakers.
Kentucky-Based KCC Manufacturing Breaks Ground on 700-Job Simpsonville Operation
Last week, Kentuckiana Curb Co. Inc., a manufacturer of commercial HVAC products doing business as KCC Manufacturing, broke ground on the company’s new $60 million operation in Simpsonville, a project creating 700 well-paying jobs for Kentuckians. To learn more, see the full release.
“We have been Kentucky proud since 1977. Just a guy with a truck and some equipment, and a dream of making people’s lives better, Al Fiorini moved from Charlotte, North Carolina and founded KCC in Kentucky,” said Joel Strieter, president of employee-owned KCC Cos., who the Governor also recognized as a Team Kentucky All-Star. “Our products improve the indoor air quality of commercial buildings, which given the events of the COVID-19 pandemic are crucial to people’s well-being. We are changing the world in a small way from right here in Kentucky, and our rate of growth means that new positions are opening nearly every day.”
Gov. Beshear, Local Officials Welcome Horse Soldier Bourbon to Kentucky
This week, Gov. Beshear joined leaders from the Somerset community in congratulating Horse Soldier Bourbon on the official groundbreaking of a new $200 million tourism development project that will bring new jobs, bourbon and tourism dollars to Pulaski County. On Sept. 11, 2001, the Horse Soldier team was training on the Cumberland River when the call came to defend our nation in its darkest hour. Now, 20 years later, they are coming home and bringing their award-winning, ultra-premium bourbon to Kentucky. To learn more, see the full release.
New Horse Racing Facility to Bring Jobs, Entertainment to Southeast Kentucky
This week, Gov. Beshear joined community leaders to celebrate the official groundbreaking of a new horse racing facility that is projected to create 213 full-time jobs for the Corbin-Williamsburg community. Expanding the commonwealth’s iconic horse racing industry to Southeastern Kentucky, the joint venture between Keeneland and Kentucky Downs – ECL Corbin LLC – unveiled plans for the new project, Cumberland Mint, a $90 million investment. To learn more, see the full release.
Summit Packaging Solutions to Locate in Northern Kentucky, Create 254 Jobs
This week, Gov. Beshear announced manufacturing packaging company Summit Packaging Solutions LLC will locate its first Kentucky facility in unincorporated Boone County with a more than $18.3 million investment that will create 69 direct full-time jobs and 185 contracted positions. Summit’s new 276,000-square-foot Operations Center of Excellence will improve the company’s ability to serve the Midwest market in support of new and existing customers in the region. Company leaders expect the facility to be operational by November. To learn more, see the full release.
Consensus Forecasting Group Issues Preliminary Revenue Forecasts
The Consensus Forecasting Group issued its preliminary revenue forecasts for the current year and the next biennium.
The current year, fiscal year 2022, General Fund revenue estimate of $13.56 billion, is $1.7 billion higher than the budgeted estimate, with a growth rate of 5.7%. The General Fund estimates for FY 23 and 24 are $13.722 billion and $14.19 billion, with growth rates of 1.2% and 3.4%, respectively.
The current year, FY 2022, Road Fund revenue estimate is $80.5 million higher than the budgeted estimate, with a growth rate of 2.9%.
In July, the state budget office reported that the commonwealth ended the 2021 fiscal year with a general fund surplus of over $1.1 billion – the highest ever in the commonwealth – and a 10.9% increase in general fund receipts to $12.8 billion.
New Low-Interest Loan Program Supports Rural Hospitals Across Commonwealth
Today, Gov. Beshear announced the Kentucky Rural Hospital Loan Program is making $20 million in low-interest loans available to assist rural hospitals across the commonwealth. The funds administered will directly impact the 1.8 million Kentuckians living in rural areas by maintaining or upgrading hospital facilities, retaining or increasing the current staff of the rural hospital and providing health care services not currently available to citizens. To learn more, see the full release.
Gov. Beshear Reminds Kentuckians to Enroll in kynect Starting Nov. 1
Gov. Beshear reminded Kentuckians they can now preview and compare 2022 commercial health care plans on kynect, the state’s new health care marketplace. They can enroll in plans Nov. 1 to Jan. 15, 2022. Kentuckians can change their Medicaid plan for 2022 from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1. To learn more, see the full release.
The Governor said the state’s positivity rate has continued to decrease, and averaged at 7.52% the week ending Oct. 17. The state’s weekly case count also decreased again, to 12,265 new cases the week ending Oct. 17.
By Oct. 20, COVID-19 hospitalizations had decreased to 1,115; COVID-19 ICU admittances had decreased to 321; and the number of COVID-19 patients on a ventilator had decreased to 207.
From March 1 to Oct. 20, 2021, 84.5% of COVID-19 cases, 91.6% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 82.2% of COVID-19 deaths have been among partially vaccinated or unvaccinated Kentuckians.
The Governor also provided an update on vaccine data and demographics.
“We are in direct conversations with the federal government over some concerns over some of the numbers that lead to things like 105% of a certain age demographic, in a certain county being vaccinated. We thought that part of that would fix itself when we used the new numbers coming out from the census – and it hasn’t,” Gov. Beshear said. “So next week we hope to have some final answers from the federal government. We will be transparent and answer every question we can.”