Originally Published The Lane Report | April 26, 2023
GLENDALE, Ky. — With the steel framing of the upcoming 42,000-s.f. training facility already visible on the horizon, Gov. Andy Beshear today joined officials from Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC), BlueOval SK and Ford Motor Co. to officially break ground on the ECTC BlueOval SK Training Center in Glendale.
The 1,500-acre BlueOval SK Battery Park is an all-new battery manufacturing campus that will produce batteries for future Ford and Lincoln vehicles beginning in 2025. BlueOval SK Battery Park will employ 5,000 people, who will prepare for these future careers through training at the forthcoming ECTC BlueOval SK Training Center on-site.
“World-class companies are betting their futures on Kentucky because of our world-class workforce. This training center will help make sure BlueOval SK has the skilled employees it needs to begin production on day one,” Gov. Beshear said. “The cutting-edge facility will provide incredible opportunities for our people as Kentucky establishes itself as the electric vehicle battery capital of the United States.”
In September 2021, during a special session, the General Assembly allocated $25 million for this project in Senate Bill 5, which the Governor signed. Construction of the training facility began February 2023 and is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2024.
The governor thanked the teams at ECTC and BlueOval SK for their collaborative work on this center, which will become the only co-branded learning facility within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
“Today is an important day in the history of Elizabethtown Community and Technical College and our community, of which BlueOval SK is now a part,” said Dr. Juston Pate, president and CEO of ECTC. “The official groundbreaking of the ECTC BlueOval SK Training Center is a testament to the incredible dedication of leaders – in Elizabethtown, Hardin County and across our commonwealth – when it comes to partnering and working hand-in-hand to create new opportunities for individuals.”
The primary curriculum for the training facility will support battery knowledge, roles and skills. BlueOval SK will train employees in SK On’s proprietary technical, quality and manufacturing processes in the ECTC BlueOval SK Training Center’s virtual reality labs, industrial maintenance lab, work simulation lab and ergonomics techniques classrooms.
Since June 2020, companies in the electric vehicle, or EV, industry have announced $10.6 billion investment, which will create approximately 10,000 full-time jobs.
In September 2021, Ford and SK On announced the single largest economic development project in the history of the commonwealth, a transformative $5.8 billion investment to build two electric vehicle battery plants in Glendale.
In December 2022, Ford and SK On officially broke ground at BlueOval SK Battery Park, where the joint venture, BlueOval SK, will produce advanced batteries for future Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles at two massive battery manufacturing facilities capable of producing more than 80 gigawatt hours annually.
“Ford and SK On are bringing thousands of new, high-quality jobs to the Bluegrass State,” said Liliana Ramirez, Ford’s global director of workforce development. “The custom-designed ECTC BlueOval SK Training Center will house the technical and advanced manufacturing education for these new roles, as well as provide hands-on experience needed to build the future – a bright future for the workforce of Kentucky in careers building batteries for future Ford and Lincoln vehicles.”
BlueOval SK Kentucky #2 Plant Manager and Hardin County native Ryan Wheeler said he grew up playing on the property where the training facility will stand and is excited to return to his hometown after being drafted by the New York Yankees and eventually joining Ford Motor Co.
“The new ECTC BlueOval SK Training Center is critical for preparing employees to work at BlueOval SK,” said Wheeler. “We’re thrilled the facility is so close to the battery park and Central Kentucky residents don’t have to leave the area to get the training they need to have a successful career at BlueOval SK.”
“ECTC is an essential component to the success of BlueOval SK,” said Ursula Madden, director of external affairs, BlueOval SK. “The technical training our employees receive will equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to build EV batteries for future Ford and Lincoln brands.”
“We find ourselves in one of the most ‘electric’ regions of the country because of tremendous partnerships, collaboration and the willingness of both public and private to invest in the future. I’m extremely proud of our local leadership at ECTC and their ability to provide curriculum and training to support this exciting BOSK joint venture,” said Jeff Gregory, mayor of Elizabethtown. “This beautiful training center will lead the way for others to follow and will help create a unique workforce to support this unprecedented electric vehicle battery facility.”
“There are no words to express how it feels to stand here today, with our incredible partner ECTC, on the site we have nurtured for 20-plus years, and know that very soon 5,000 people will have started phenomenal careers right here in Hardin County with BlueOval SK,” said Rick Games, president and CEO, Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation. “This has been a true collaboration and shared vision of partners at the local, regional and state levels.”