#23 Kentucky

From the Governor

“I ran on kitchen table issues, and I will govern focused on those same challenges of good jobs, healthcare for every Kentuckian, protecting and funding our pensions, and always supporting public education. I believe that we have a brighter tomorrow to make Kentucky the agritech leader of this country. We’re going to build our advanced manufacturing sector and invest in work- force training. That’s how we’re going to create good jobs, all over Kentucky, in every single community.” —Gov. Andy Beshear

A Mountain of Manufacturing

Manufacturers now account for more than 18% of Kentucky’s total output and employ 13% of the workforce, with more than 250,000 workers in the sector earning average wages of $70,477, according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. The state is trying to continue that trajectory of growth with further investments in skills education and training. Nucor, Beam Suntory, Phoenix Paper and Novelis have all announced expansions here in the past year.

Key Contacts

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development

Terry Gill, Secretary
[email protected]
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601

Key Incentives

Kentucky Business Investment (KBI) Program: Offers income tax credits and wage assessments to manufacturing operations, headquarters, non-retail service or technology companies creating 10 or more jobs and investing at least $100,000.

SBIR-STTR Marching Funds Program: Matches, on a competitive basis, up to $150,000 for Phase 1 and up to $500,000 for Phase 2 federal SBIR and STTR awards.

Kentucky Small Business Credit Initiative (KSBCI): Offers credit enhancement programs to help lenders finance credit-worthy small business that would typically fall just outside of normal lending guidelines.

Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA): Offers a refund of Kentucky sales and use tax for building materials, equipment, R&D equipment, data processing equipment and a variety of other products for eligible businesses.

Bluegrass State Skills Corporation Skills Training Investment Credit: Offers grants and or tax credits to businesses that sponsors skills training programs for their employees.


Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development: thinkkentucky.com

Commerce Lexington Economic Development: locateinlexington.com

Louisville Forward: louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward

Highlighted Program or Initiative

The new $200 million Work Ready Skills Initiative, one of Kentucky’s signature programs, uses focused funding to back local partnerships of employers, educational institutions, and other community stakeholders. The awarded projects are expected to provide training to more than 30,000 Kentuckians annually in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, IT, construction trades and logistics.

Big Deals

  • Aluminum supplier Novelis announced in January 2018 it will add 125 jobs and construct a $305 million processing plant in Guthrie.
  • Nucor announced in September 2018 a $650 million investment and 70 new jobs at its existing mill Ghent.
  • Nucor announced in March 2019 it will add 400 jobs and construct a $1.36 billion steel manufacturing mill in Brandenburg.
  • Phoenix Paper LLC announced in August 2019 plans to invest $200 million in a paper recycling facility in Wickliffe.
  • Beam Suntory is investing $1 billion over the coming decade in multiple facilities across the state to increase production capacity.

Big Companies

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings
Global Win Wickliffe
CCBCC Operations
General Motors

Two Fortune 500 company headquarters in state:
Yum! Brands

C-Suite Testimonials

“Kentucky has established itself as a leading global logistics center, and we are thrilled to expand our operations in this thriving area. Our new operations center in Erlanger will enable us to continue to deliver high-quality services to our customers and support their growing global networks.” —William J. Flynn, CEO, Atlas Air Worldwide

“UPS is grateful for the strong relationship we have built with the city of Louisville and the state of Kentucky. We are proud to be a partner in the economic growth of the region.” —Joe Boyle, President, UPS Ohio Valley District

“Anixter is excited to have Lexington as the home of our new East Coast sales hub for our Network & Security Solutions segment. As a company that is constantly adapting to meet the changing needs of our customers, we found the same spirit of investment and growth here in Lexington.” —Bill Galvin, President and CEO, Anixter

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