Braidy bunch: Company finds much interest in job-hungry northeastern Ky.

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COALTON, Ky. (KT) – Braidy Industries has received 5,500 applications for its 600 available jobs for the $1.5 billion aluminum rolling mill plant that is still two years from being operational.


Braidy Industries Chairman and CEO Craig Bouchard addressed a group of about 200 job-seekers on Tuesday night and told them not to worry about those odds because there’s more to come. He said other companies are seriously talking with Braidy about potentially locating in the EastPark Industrial Center that could bring in thousands of more job opportunities.


“Ten companies, and I mean 10, approached us about moving here, right around here. There might be another 3,000 jobs coming. I wouldn’t let that (large number of applicants) turn you off for one second.”


He also said the recent acquisition of metals company Velotinx is going to bring another 100 jobs when they co-locate the manufacturing plant with the aluminum mill.


Local residents came out for the first of three information sessions about becoming a Braidy employee. They gathered at the Ashland Community and Technical College’s campus at EastPark where a training program has been established.


Braidy Senior Vice President Curtis Carson talked to prospective employees about requirements and ACTC officials answered questions about applying for the training program for future Braidy employees that begins in the fall.


Completion of the program will require 60 credit hours, the equivalent of four semesters, and students will earn associate degrees in applied science. The advanced integrated technology program is not entirely new. ACTC used a program currently offered at Madisonville Community College as a template and added components specific to Braidy needs
.


Electronics, robotics and logistics are among program components. Students also will take general educational courses and other electives including workplace safety, welding and industrial computer programming.


The simulators and other equipment are supplied under a $1 million state grant that also will fund hiring of a full-time coordinator and two part-time faculty members.


Classes start this fall and the first students are expected to finish in 2020, about the time the plant is scheduled to open. ACTC will accept 180 students for the first class and Braidy expects to hire about 50 of them when the plant opens, Carson said.


That number is based on college data that predicts the percentage of students who will finish the course with the required minimum 3.0 GPA.


Braidy also will hire workers through other channels, Carson said.


Bouchard said the company expects all of its future aluminum rolling mill employees to maintain a 3.0 grade point average and remain drug free throughout the duration of the program.


“This place you’re standing in is our training center,” he said. “It’s the greatest training center of all time. I want to go to college here. People that go through this program have a really bright future.”


As for salary, the CEO said most employees can expect to make a starting salary of $65,000, and receive a lucrative annual bonus that Bouchard himself personally passes out on Christmas day. He said every employee, from top to bottom, receives 5 percent of what profit the company made that year.

Bouchard called it his favorite day of the year. “It’s the day we illustrate it’s all about the team,” he said. “Everybody works together and no one ever, ever has a bad thing to say about another employee.”


Bouchard said employees can look forward to having opportunities to advance within the company. “
We take pride in making our employees millionaires,” he said. “We’ve done it at least 100 times. That’s the greatest thing that can happen in business.”


Bouchard said his employees should have some personality traits. They need to be “pleasantly aggressive,” must be willing to never give up, be kind and have a killer instinct, he said.


Braidy’s CEO said he also wants all employees to be prosperous and healthy. The company will build a large employee life center on its property that includes a cafeteria, wellness clinic, fitness center, daycare center and a large classroom.


Groundbreaking should happen in late spring, said Carson, who told the crowd not to worry. “I’ve bought a house in Ashland and so have several other people sitting here. It’s coming, I guarantee it.”

 

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