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An Ohio company that’s developed an environmentally friendly process to manufacture chemicals used in paint and plastics is locating a facility in Hancock County that will create about 125 jobs. 

WhiteRock Pigments is investing nearly $180 million in a manufacturing operation near Hawesville. The company is renovating the former Alcoa building that has been vacant for nine years.

paringaresources.com

An Australian company constructing a new coal mine in McLean County has filed a response to a lawsuit filed by two brothers who own land in the area. 

The response filed in McLean Circuit Court by Hartshorne Mining generally denies a list of claims by brothers Gordon and Kenneth Bryant, whose family has long owned acreage in the rural area.

Hartshorne denies that the coal mine is out of compliance with McLean County’s comprehensive plan because the project was approved by the fiscal court.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Karen

The October ‘Open Jobs Report’ from the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce shows there are nearly 5,300 vacant positions in a 10-county region of South Central Kentucky.

The chamber launched the monthly jobs report in September as part of a regional snapshot in the effort to develop a trained workforce to keep up with the area’s healthy business growth.

Economic development leaders point to the increasing number of college and apprenticeship programs as the main avenue to meet the needs of businesses.

Some executives say many potential or new employees lack 'soft skills' like good communication or showing up to work on time. And some business leaders say many potential employees can’t pass the drug test required for employment.

The president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce says opioid abuse is taking a toll on the state’s economic growth and development. 

David Adkisson says many people looking for work can’t pass a drug test, and many of those who do have jobs are leaving the workforce because of untreated or under-treated addictions.  That has contributed to a low workforce participation rate, according to Adkisson.

"If we were simply at the national average, there would be 165,000 more workers in the Kentucky economy than there are today," stated Adkisson.  "Opioid addiction is one of the contributing factors to that, but it's a significant factor."

Lisa Autry

A new ambulatory surgery center is coming to Bowling Green.  Tristar Greenview in partnership with Graves-Gilbert Clinic broke ground Wednesday on a new facility off Lovers Lane. 

Dr. Kamal Singh practices general medicine and says the facility will include three operating suites and areas for other procedures.

"We will be at par with all of the other metropolitan areas as far as the sophistication of the equipment and the quality of care," Singh told WKU Public Radio.  "Rather than going through the bureaucracy of a hospital, it will be more like a doctor's office experience."

Kentucky Infrastructure Coalition Formed

Sep 6, 2017
KENTUCKY INFRASTRUCTURE COALITION VIA FACEBOOK

More than 30 organizations representing interests from manufacturing to farming and engineering are coming together to form a new Kentucky Infrastructure Coalition. 

The aim of the group is to prevent the decline of the state’s multifaceted infrastructure system.

Coalition Chair Juva Barber, who directs Kentuckians for Better Transportation, says the group formed to advocate for and provide solutions to the state’s transportation needs. 

Rhonda J Miller

It’s a good sign of a healthy economy that businesses in the 10 counties of south central Kentucky have nearly 5,800 job openings and are eager to hire.

But a new report from the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce also shows there are about 7,200 people in the region who are unemployed.

Robert Boone is president and CEO of the South Central Workforce Development Board. He says finding compatibility between available workers and open positions is a big challenge.

Rhonda J Miller

The chief executive of a Daviess County company says President Trump’s immigration plan could be beneficial for the American workforce. Trump’s proposal would change America’s system from prioritizing family connections to favoring English language and job skills.

Sun Windows President Frank Anderson says his Owensboro company wants the most qualified applicant to meet the job description, and if that’s a legal immigrant, that’s fine. He says there are enough Americans who are able to fill the open positions, but some who are on welfare are not motivated to work.

Community Action of Southern Kentucky

President Trump’s proposal to cut legal immigration by half and consider English language and job skills has set off a controversy about whether the nation is changing the welcoming message of the Statue of Liberty. The proposed immigration rules could affect businesses in Kentucky that face a shortage of entry- and mid-level workers.

When you talk to business owners in Kentucky, many say they have positions that are not filled because they can’t find enough people with the right skills, or willing to do the job. Some don’t arrive at work on time and some can’t pass the drug test.

Erica Peterson

New numbers from the first two quarters of this year show both coal production and employment are continuing to decline in Kentucky, despite President Donald Trump’s promises that miners would be going back to work.

Overall, Kentucky saw a nearly 10 percent decline in coal production between the first and second quarters of 2017. The industry shed 200 jobs during the same time period.

“Obviously, an almost a 10 percent decrease since last quarter is not what we’d like to see,” said Kentucky Coal Association President Tyler White. “But I’ve always said that you don’t turn this industry around in a one or two quarter measurement.”

Flickr/Creative Commons

The leader of a Kentucky auto industry group says it’s not hard to imagine the day when self-driving cars will be commonplace.

Dave Tatman, executive director of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association, points out that many of the vehicles we’ve been driving for years have been hinting at the future.

“You see autonomous features in the cars we drive every day,” Tatman said. “You know, my truck’s got lane departure warning, it’s got forward collision avoidance. That’s all part of autonomy. So I think that autonomous vehicles are here to stay.”


Roxanne Scott

Some government and business leaders in Kentucky want the U.S. to lift its oldest economic sanctions against Cuba.

Tuesday marked the launch of the bipartisan Engage Cuba Kentucky State Council, which aims to promote relations between the two countries and lift the nearly 60-year embargo. Some believe the move would benefit both the Commonwealth and Cuba.

In June, President Trump announced that he would reinstate restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba along with other commercial prohibitions. In 2014, then-President Obama restored diplomatic ties with the country.

Alorica Owensboro Facebook

The California-based customer service company that opened its Owensboro office in July is putting down roots as a major corporate citizen.

Alorica already has 200 employees working in Owensboro in the former BB&T building that it’s renovating.

Company spokesman Ken Muche said 500 employees will be in the Owensboro offices by the end of this year and employment will reach 840 in three years.

Muche says the company is dedicated to having a long-term positive impact in every community where it locates. That’s done by partnering with regional nonprofits and encouraging employees to participate in the partnerships.

Ohio County Economic Development Alliance

Ohio County is boosting its economic development, but not with a big manufacturing plant or a major expansion of an existing business. The county is launching a coworking space for entrepreneurs called The Hub on July 24.

The new business incubator called The Hub is in a renovated house on Peach Alley in the town of Hartford. It offers a workspace nestled in the rural environment of Ohio County, while connected to national or global businesses with fiber broadband.

A local entrepreneur, or one who wants to leave an urban environment, can work remotely from Ohio County and hold meetings through audio or video conferencing.

Alcoa Public Relations

Alcoa Corp. plans to partially reopen its aluminum smelting operations in southwestern Indiana, restoring nearly half of the 600 jobs lost when it shut down the facility along the Ohio River last year.

Alcoa says it will spend about $30 million to restart three of five smelter lines at its Warrick Operations near Evansville, where its rolling mill makes aluminum for food and beverage packaging.

The Pittsburgh-based company closed the smelter in March of 2016, but now expects production to resume during spring of 2018.

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