Three companies announce plans to create 1,750 new jobs in Kentucky

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Three companies announced Thursday plans to either expand or build new operations in Kentucky, with projects slated to create up to 1,750 new jobs and invest more than $820 million in the state.

Gov. Andy Beshear made the announcements during a press conference, saying the projects – along with other major job announcements in recent weeks – show the business community is bullish on the Bluegrass State.

“Our economy is on fire more than just about any other state… Right now, we’re being viewed, I believe nationally, as a place that can make it happen,” he said.

GE Appliances plans to invest $450 million over the next two years at its Appliance Park headquarters in Louisville. The company will upgrade several production facilities, including a new assembly line for dishwashers and similar products. It also will begin manufacturing new refrigerator-freezer models at the campus.

In all, the expansion will lead to more than 1,000 jobs.

President and CEO Kevin Nolan said the project will bring more manufacturing back to the U.S.

“We want zero distance between us and the millions of families we serve with our products across America,” he said.

Also in Louisville, AGRI Financial Group announced that it would add 245 jobs to its local office that currently employs 152. The company provides financial services, including estate and retirement planning, investment management and tax services.

Earlier on Thursday, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved AGRI for $1.8 million in tax incentives that are contingent on the company meeting its $2.7 million investment goal and the creation and maintenance of the new jobs over a 10-year period.

The new jobs are expected to pay an average hourly wage of $46.80, benefits included.

“Our firm was built on the foundation of serving others, with the primary focus being our clients, our employees and our community,” AGRI CEO Joe Reeves said. “These funds will help us to further live our mission of improving lives with every relationship, and that starts with our people in Kentucky.”

Down in Bowling Green, Tyson Foods plans to invest $355 million in a production plant for Jimmy Dean and Wright Brand products. It would be the company’s fourth facility in the state.

“As people actively look to add more protein to their diets, Tyson is uniquely positioned as a category leader to meet that growing demand,” said Noelle O’Mara, Tyson’s group president for prepared foods.

Tyson plans to create 450 jobs that would pay an average hourly wage of $28, including benefits.

KEDFA gave preliminary approval for up to $10 million in tax incentives over a 15-year period.

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