Local and state officials break ground at new car parts plant

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Reporter - Briana Conner
Photographer - Barry Stevenson

PADUCAH, Ky.— Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear joined local leaders Tuesday afternoon to break ground at Whitehall Industries new Paducah car parts manufacturing plant. The goal is to have the building finished by September and the first of 150 new hires on the job by this December. It's a hefty goal that just goes to show how in-demand these plants and their products are in the state.

At about one million last year, Kentucky was fourth in putting out the most vehicles in the nation. Governor Beshear says he expects the state to jump up to second place in 2013. About 80,000 Kentuckians work in the auto industry, and that number is only expected to grow with the addition of the new Paducah plant and others that are in the works.

Whitehall Industries sees itself as the future of the car parts industry. They make aluminum parts at their factories. The small, lightweight parts can be recycled meaning there's no waste. They also are in demand right now, because they make the entire vehicle lighter and more fuel efficient. There are 150 jobs up for grabs, maybe more in time, and that's why local leaders are celebrating this as a success.

President of Paducah Economic Development Chad Chancellor said he couldn't be more thrilled that construction crews are paving the way to a better local economy.  "As much automotive business is in Kentucky, and with our central location and the growth in the market, this is something that we want," he said.

Whitehall Industries is making a $13 million investment in the community, though the county and private investors are paying for the building. "That shows a lot of commitment on the speed of the project and on the financial side of the project. So, I said this is the place. We are here," said Whitehall Industries President Yogen Rahangdale. He also said he's glad to be putting roots down in Paducah. "I don't see any reason why we won't be successful from Whitehall's point of view."

"Michigan, watch out. We're coming your way," said Gov. Beshear. The western Kentucky region is becoming a real contender when it comes to automotive parts production, and it's also a place Beshear calls home. "I know what a wonderful place this is to live in, I want to make sure we continue to create jobs here so people can stay here and enjoy this quality of life," he said.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College will be assisting Whitehall Industries in the company’s plan to bring 150 new jobs to the community. WKCTC will be assisting with job screening and providing hiring recommendations to the company.  This process, however, is not taking place yet. Please watch for further announcements later this summer. Updates will be posted on the WKCTC Workforce Solution Facebook page. For more information, call (270) 534-3335.

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