Employers have incentives to hire displaced coal workers…

January 20, 2014 – RICHMOND

coal-minerKentucky employers are being offered incentives to hire workers laid off from coal-related jobs. Tonita Goodwin, president of the Madison County Industrial Management Club, shared that information at the group’s Friday meeting. Madison County has few, if any, coal-related jobs, but the coal industry has suffered thousands of job losses in recent months. Those laid off workers could be interested in moving to Madison County if jobs are available here, said Goodwin, who also heads the Richmond Industrial Development Corp.

When she asked if any of the plants represented at the meeting were hiring, one manager said he expects to hire eight to 10 employees in the near future. The mayors of Richmond and Berea were the main speakers for the meeting. After Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes said the county needed an infusion of high-paying jobs, Lectrodryer plant manager John McPherson asked Goodwin and Barnes how existing plants could assist in recruiting new industry. No one could better make the case for moving to Madison County than a manufacturer who is already happy here, he said.

Although some might think existing industry would fear competition for the best workers, McPherson said that was not the case. Goodwin said industries that are considering moves to Richmond or Berea usually have studied the area thoroughly and already know which current employers they want to contact. She has helped facilitate some of those meetings. Recently, she was able to find a substitute to meet with an industrial prospect, when its first choice was unavailable, she said.

While both cities are actively pursuing industrial prospects, most job creation in recent years has come from current employers, said Tom McCay, Berea’s economic development director. Goodwin said prospects have been looking at the building which formerly housed Intertape Polymer off Duncannon Lane, but she couldn’t comment further. Barnes said Madison County’s quality of life, especially its schools and colleges, recreation and cultural offerings always draw positive comments from industrial prospects.

Almost all counties have industrial parks and infrastructure, but its quality of life gives Madison County a competitive edge in industrial recruitment, the mayor said. Goodwin said Madison County’s certification last year as a work-ready community would pay dividends in attracting employers. Because half or more of those employed by manufacturers here live in neighboring counties, those who promote development in Madison County are trying to secure work-ready certification for the counties from which local industries also draw employees. – See more…

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