Kentucky Power is aggressively working to attract aerospace and aviation industry to American Electric Power’s central Appalachia service region through economic development.
Fourteen counties served by Kentucky Power have been certified as AeroReady and independent consultants have declared the area as an AeroReady regional designation. The designation indicates the area has the necessary resources for aerospace businesses to thrive in the area. Kentucky already ranks as the No. 2 state for aerospace manufacturing exports, behind only Washington, home to aerospace giant Boeing.
A regional workforce analysis in AEP’s Kentucky territory found that the region’s coal mining and steel work history has left the area with an available workforce with highly desirable metal working skills sought by many aerospace companies. The study, funded in part with Kentucky Power economic development grants, concluded that eastern Kentucky has:
• eight times the U.S. average of workers with metal trim manufacturing skills;
• six times the U.S. average of plant and systems operators;
• five times the U.S. average of workers in motor vehicle body manufacturing;
• four times the U.S. average of workers in maintenance machinery;
• three times the U.S. average of workers in metal machinery manufacturing;
• two times the U.S. average of welders, machine operators, truck drivers, metal motor manufacturing workers and pipelayers.
“Eastern Kentucky is primed for economic growth and Kentucky Power is committed to leading the effort in collaboration with our government and community partners,” said Bob Shurtleff, a Kentucky Power external affairs manager leading the company’s economic development efforts. “Economic development is at the core of our vision at Kentucky Power for a strong eastern Kentucky.”
In recent years, Kentucky Power has strategically invested nearly $6 million in economic development with its Kentucky Power Economic Growth Grant Program (K-PEGG). Business customers contribute $12 a year to the program through their monthly electric bills. Those dollars are matched dollar-for-dollar by company stockholders to generate nearly $800,000 annually for investment at the local and regional levels.