When Ford Motor Company and SK On announced plans to construct a $5.8 billion, 1,500-acre battery park in Glendale last year, it was clear that the Central Kentucky region was in for a massive wave of economic development. With plans to begin production in 2025, BlueOval SK is expected to bring 5,000 new jobs to the region.
Before that can happen, we must first recruit a talented workforce to construct the two battery manufacturing buildings. That’s where Barton Malow comes in. In my role as Workforce Development Manager, I am responsible for not only recruiting talent for our projects, but invigorating the skilled trade fields at large. Ford Motor Company hired Barton Malow Company, the industrial division of the Barton Malow Family of Companies, as general contractor on the project, working in conjunction with Lexington-based Gray Construction.
On Wednesday, November 2, we hosted a career fair event at the Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Several trade partners and subcontractors were at the fair to engage with workforce-ready adults and offer hundreds of apprenticeship and workforce opportunities. The organizations are still recruiting for these positions.
Our subcontractors are looking for many positions to fill as the project progresses, ranging from bricklayers to operators, safety personnel, accountants, and engineers. As the project goes on, we’ll continue to engage with the region to recruit. At peak construction, we estimate that 4,000 positions will need to be filled. Remember: a college education is not always necessary to find fulfilling and high-paying work when other avenues like skilled trade opportunities are available.
The Kentucky Career Center-Lincoln Trail (KCC-LT) is assisting us with our hiring effort. KCC-LT helps job seekers with a variety of services, including career preparation and job matching. They also determine if job seekers can apply for tuition assistance, or other types of training through the U.S. Department of Labor, via the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
For nearly a century, Barton Malow has been committed to Building with the American Spirit: People, Projects, and Communities. The Barton Malow Family of Companies is comprised of four entities and five partner firms across North America. With more than 3,000 team members and 16 offices, our 100% employee-owned enterprise is on a mission to transform the construction industry through innovation and increased efficiencies in the building process.
Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, a northern suburb of Detroit, Barton Malow is no stranger to automotive projects. We’ve been working in the automotive industry since our inception, completing automotive construction projects for nearly every major automotive manufacturer and Tier 1-3 suppliers. Using a Lean Integrated Project Delivery approach, we work collaboratively with project teams to ensure schedule and cost certainty, which are both critical success factors in an automotive project. In the last 10 years, we have completed $5.8 billion in automotive work.
As the automotive industry has shifted toward electric vehicles in recent years, Barton Malow has been on the forefront of helping to construct battery cell production facilities. In addition to our work with BlueOval SK, we are currently working on new lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facilities for Ultium Cells, LLC, a joint venture between LG Energy Solution and General Motors.
Hernando Flowers serves as a Workforce Development Manager with Barton Malow.