BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Ford's new $5.8 billion battery plant being built in Glendale, in Hardin County, will produce five thousand jobs. But spinoff companies could also create thousands more in other communities across the region.
"We're 32 miles from the Glendale site, and it's going to have a huge economic impact,” said Kim Huston, president of Nelson County Economic Development Agency.
Bourbon and tourism are Bardstown’s signature industries, but it is also home to several factories that supply parts to Toyota. Huston said the community is ready to compete for opportunities that will come from Ford's Glendale project.
"Industrial land, infrastructure, we're working on more water at this time, extending gas lines, and having everything shovel-ready so when those suppliers come looking, we're going to be ready," Huston told WDRB News.
Following Ford’s announcement on Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear said the supply chain needed for the project will impact the entire region.
“The excitement here, what we're going to draw, the jobs that are going to be created up and down stream is thrilling," he said.
But one challenge in Nelson County could be finding enough workers. Unemployment there is less than five percent.
Huston said the key will be training a new workforce.
"To get into our high schools, and get into our technical schools, and get into our colleges, and start teaching the skills that are going to be needed in the Ford plant," she said.
While some workers in places like Bardstown could relocate to Hardin County, Huston expects the Ford plant, along with the spinoff companies, will draw others from across the country.
"And then they're going to find a community like Bardstown, or Elizabethtown, or Shelbyville or some of the other small communities they want to live in and just drive to work."
Huston said plans are in the works to deal with traffic, which is already heavy in downtown Bardstown, and could get worse by the time production begins in Glendale in 2025.
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