Aluminum parts manufacturer UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries, known as UWH, will expand its Paducah facility with a more than $3.3 million investment, creating up to 50 full-time jobs, Gov. Matt Bevin announced.
“UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries is growing quickly, and this latest project underscores the strength of Kentucky’s advanced manufacturing industry,” said Gov. Bevin. “The demand for Kentucky-made products is increasing, and UACJ’s decision to continue investing in Kentucky will position its McCracken County plant for current and future success.”
The 56,000 square-foot expansion will provide space for new machining centers, robotics and additional fabrication equipment. Many of the new employees could be in place late this year, with all 50 positions filled by July 2018.
UWH currently employs 140 people. The plant manufactures and assembles precision aluminum parts, including sunroof tracks and structural components.
Steve Gray, vice president of operations at UWH North America, said the US automotive trend toward light weighting is creating more demand for aluminum components, which help improve fuel economy.
“UWH has a solid reputation for being able to produce precision aluminum parts and assemblies to the automotive industry. The combination of UWH’s capabilities and the significantly increased demand has created the need for additional fabrication capacity,” Gray said. “The Kentucky and Paducah workforce has been a very positive impact on UWH’s continued success and has continued to growth over the past three years. This, coupled with the generous incentives offered by the State of Kentucky and the City of Paducah made it a great option for our expansion.”
The Paducah plant, previously owned by Michigan-based SRS Industries, began production in December 2013 and officially opened in June 2015. Tokyo-based UACJ Corp., one of the world’s largest aluminum suppliers, bought SRS a year ago.
UACJ supplies aluminum rolled products, extrusions, foil, castings and forgings in Japan, Europe, Asia and North America. It is a partner in multiple Kentucky operations, including Constellium-UACJ in Bowling Green, Logan Aluminum in Russellville and Tri-Arrows Aluminum in Louisville.
Kentucky’s manufacturing industry employs more than 252,000 people full-time. Last year, manufacturers announced 222 new-facility or expansion projects, totaling $2.2 billion in investment and more than 7,500 new jobs.
Sen. Danny Carroll, of Paducah, said the project adds to an already strong industry in the state.
“I am pleased to hear of Whitehall’s expansion,” he said. “Our state is critical to the automotive industry, and Paducah has shown itself to be a competitive city in a global market. I thank Whitehall and UACJ for creating new Kentucky jobs and I look forward to this company’s growth in our region for years to come.”
Rep. Gerald Watkins, of Paducah, noted the company’s continual growth since locating in the community.
“Creating jobs and cultivating economic growth are among my top priorities as a state representative,” he said. “I am excited that after only three years in Paducah, Whitehall has decided to invest in expanding its operations and creating more jobs in our community. I appreciate the confidence they have in our workforce, and we look forward to being supportive of their expansion efforts.”
McCracken County Judge-Executive Bob Leeper welcomed the investment and new jobs.
“We are pleased that the new owners of Whitehall Industries have chosen to increase their investment in McCracken County. I believe this is recognition of a strong and capable workforce,” he said. “We look forward to the continued success of Whitehall industries in our community.”
Paducah Mayor Brandi Halress said UWH’s expansion and new jobs will contribute to growing Kentucky’s national reputation.
“We are extremely excited about the continued success of Whitehall Industries. Paducah is proud to be a part of Kentucky’s mission to be the advanced manufacturing hub and our commitment to Whitehall is evidence of that,” she said. “We feel that more partnerships with innovative companies such as Whitehall will continue to solidify Paducah’s position in the new economy.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in March preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $500,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
In addition, Whitehall can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal 2016, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for nearly 95,000 Kentuckians and 5,000 companies from a variety of industry sectors.
For more information on Whitehall, visit www.whitehallindustries.com.
A detailed community profile for McCracken County can be viewed at http://bit.ly/McCrackenCo.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.