Metal Working and Automotive

The metalworking and automotive industries benefit from Marshall County’s access to freight rail and affordable utilities. Major automobile manufacturers such as Ford, GM and Toyota have plants within 100 miles of Marshall County.

Area community college programs at West Kentucky Community & Technical College and the University of Kentucky’s Paducah Engineering Campus support a rich workforce of engineers and skilled laborers for the manufacturing sector.

Metalworking & Auto Suppliers

Gerdau has a plant in Marshall County which employs approximately 150 and is a structural steel mill that produces angles, channels and flats.

We have more employees in our 10-county labor shed in the following jobs than the average US labor shed by the following amounts:

Since 2011, the following Metalworking Related Industries have grown in our 10-county labor shed region:

  • 148% growth in Truck Trailer Manufacturing
  • 63% growth in Motor Vehicle Transmission & Power Train Parts Manufacturing
  • 62% growth in Fabricated Wire Product Manufacturing
  • 47% growth in Iron & Steel Mills and Ferroalloy Manufacturing
  • 44% growth in Secondary Smelting, Refining, & Alloying of Nonferrous Metal
  • 17% growth in Plate Work Manufacturing
  • 11% growth in Motor Vehicle Electrical & Electronic Equipment Manufacturing
  • 7% growth in Rolled Steel Shape Manufacturing

Center of the Automotive Industry

An Expanding Economy

Marshall County has seen more than $400 million in expansions of over 7 plants since 2012!  All the well-known companies below are spending significant dollars to expand in our community because they know how great it is to do business here:

  • In 2015 Ashland Chemical announced a $12,500,000 expansion
  • In 2014 Westlake Vinyls announced a $300,758,974 expansion
  • In 2014 Estron Chemicals announced a $4,900,000 expansion
  • In 2013 Gerdau Ameristeel US announced a $26,304,000 expansion
  • In 2013 Wacker Chemical Corporation announced a $27,400,000 expansion
  • In 2012 Lubrizol Advanced Materials announced a $39,200,000 expansion
  • In 2012 Sekisui Specialty Chemicals announced a $2,781,652 expansion

Engineering Talent

Our 10-county labor shed region is home to an abundant amount of engineers:

  • 149 Industrial Engineers
  • 145 Mechanical Engineers
  • 120 Chemical Engineers
  • 102 Civil Engineers
  • 47 Electrical Engineers
  • 30 Health & Safety Engineers
  • 24 Environmental Engineers

Skilled Labor

  • Our 10-county labor shed is home to the following numbers of skilled workers:
    • 662 Team Assemblers
    • 576 Industrial Machinery Mechanics
    • 572 Machinists
    • 458 Assemblers & Fabricators
    • 445 Welders
    • 395 Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
    • 256 Engine & Other Machine Assemblers
    • 167 Industrial Production Managers
    • 145 Molding, Coremaking & Casting Machine Operators
    • 106 Cutting, Punching, & Press Machine Operators
    • 70 Sheet Metal Workers
    • 63 Multiple Machine Tool Setters
    • 55 Rolling Machine Operators
    • 54 Pipelayers
    • 48 Extruding & Drawing Machine Operators
    • 34 Structural Iron & Steel Workers
    • 28 Structural Metal Fabricators & Fitters
    • 28 Grinding, Lapping, & Polishing Machine Operators
    • 24 Tool & Die Makers
    • 24 Millwrights
    • 21 Metal Refining Furnace Operators
    • 18 Lathe & Turning Machine Tool Operators
    • 14 Milling & Planing Machine Operators
    • 11 Drilling & Boring Machine Operators

Unskilled Labor

There are 1,277 people employed through temporary staffing agencies in our labor shed.

Two Electric Power Providers

We are served with electricity by TVA and Jackson Purchase Energy giving us some of the lowest electric power costs in the United States.


Community College Programs to Support the Metalworking Sector

The West Kentucky Community & Technical College offers the following programs to support the metalworking sector:

  • Applied Engineering Technology
  • Computer Aided Drafting and Design
  • Computerized Manufacturing and Machining
  • Manufacturing Industrial Technology
  • Mechatronic Systems
  • Welding Technology


    The University of Kentucky’s Paducah Engineering Campus

    • 90 students per year participate in the University of Kentucky’s mechanical engineering program in Paducah, 15 minutes from Marshall County.


    Interstate Access

    • Interstate 24 (east-west) and Interstate 69 (north-south) intersect in the heart of our community.

    Rail Access

    • We are served by the Paducah and Louisville Railway (P&L) which interchanges with the BNSF, CN, CSX, and NS Railroads.

    Governor’s Cup

    • Kentucky ranked 1st in Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup award, recognizing the highest number of qualifying industry locations and expansions per capita in 2014.

    Taxes & Business Costs

    • CNBC ranked Kentucky the 2nd best state for the “Cost of Doing Business” in 2015


    Grants & Tax Credits

    • KBI Program
      • Wage Assessment- 4% of total payroll credit against state income taxes
      • Income Tax Credit- up to 100% of corporate income or limited liability entity tax liability arising from the project
    • KEIA Program
      • Sales/Use Tax Refund- Refund of sales & use tax paid for building & construction materials, research and development equipment, and electronic processing equipment.
    • Bluegrass State Skills Workforce Training
      • Grant Reimbursement- up to 50% matching reimbursement for in-house training; educational institution and consultant training; instruction materials, texts, and supplies; train-the-trainer travel; trainee wages and registered apprenticeship training-year one apprentices. The maximum funding for companies with 1-499 employees is $25,000 and $50,000 for companies with $500+ employees.
      • Tax Credit- up to 50% of training costs can be recovered as a state tax credit limited to $500 per Kentucky employed residents, not to exceed $100,000. Eligible costs include: in-house training; educational institution and consultant training; instruction materials, texts, and supplies; train-the-trainer travel; trainee wages and registered apprenticeship training-year two, three, and four apprentices.
    • Kentucky Wins In-Kind Training
      • In-kind training through the local community colleges which provides recruiting, screening, and training assistance.

    Loan Programs

    • KEDFA- Click here to learn about this loan program
    • IRBs- local financing mechanism for high impact projects. Additionally, a 5-year property tax abatement can be offered through this program.
    • CDBG- low interest loan financing for high impact projects.
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