Ford’s $5.8 Billion BlueOval SK Battery Park Ignites Economic Transformation in Kentucky

An In-Depth Analysis of How Ford's Battery Park is Powering Growth and Prosperity in Elizabethtown and Beyond

In the heart of Kentucky, a colossal transformation is underway as Ford’s $5.8 billion BlueOval SK Battery Park takes shape. The Hardin County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) recently unveiled a comprehensive economic impact study, commissioned to unveil the ripple effects of this monumental project on Elizabethtown, Hardin County, and the state of Kentucky as a whole.

Marty Moorman, President and CEO of HCCC, emphasized the critical need for this study, stating, “With the impending arrival of BlueOval SK and the prospect of 5,000 new jobs, it was crucial for HCCC, a conduit for regional business growth, to gain a deeper understanding of future implications.”

This visionary undertaking by Ford, in partnership with South Korean battery supplier SK On, is set to become one of the world’s largest manufacturing sites, in terms of sheer square footage. It will rank as the 10th largest globally, trailing closely behind Tesla’s renowned Gigafactory Shanghai. Notably, BlueOval SK outshines its peers in the electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing sector, boasting a projected capacity of 86 gigawatt-hours (GWh).

During the HCCC’s August Membership Luncheon, the key findings of the study were shared, painting a vivid picture of the future:

  1. Population Surge: Hardin County anticipates a population surge of 22,380 residents.
  2. Economic Windfall: The battery park is expected to generate a direct payroll of $3.63 billion, inclusive of fringe benefits, from 2026 to 2035.
  3. Housing Demand: An estimated 8,811 new housing units will be needed in Hardin County to accommodate the burgeoning workforce.
  4. Educational Impact: The region will welcome a total of 3,901 new K-12 students.
  5. Healthcare Needs: Projections indicate a need for 75 new hospital beds, along with 389 new hospital jobs and 380 new ambulatory care jobs.

Luke Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt and Associates, shared insights from the report during the luncheon, underscoring the potential for significant growth in the region. He remarked, “With projections that include substantial population growth, increased employment opportunities, and a boost to various sectors of the local economy, this report sheds light on the kind of growth this region should expect and hopefully can influence and guide local businesses and organizations to implement strategies to appropriately grow in tandem.”

The impact of BlueOval SK will reverberate throughout the Elizabethtown Metro area. The study found that every billion dollars invested in construction will support a staggering 11,600 jobs annually within the region. BlueOval SK is expected to have an employment multiplier of 1.603, resulting in a total of 8,016 jobs. By the end of 2026, Ford’s BlueOval SK Battery Park will have a direct plant payroll of $265 million, or $363 million when including fringe benefits. From 2026 to 2035, the facility is projected to have a direct payroll impact of $2.65 billion, or $3.63 billion when considering fringe benefits.

Key Projections for BlueOval SK Include:

  • Construction Timeline: The battery plant construction is slated for 2022 through 2024, with an investment of $5.8 billion. It will create an average of 4,500 construction jobs over three years, with an average annual pay of $50,000.
  • Production Commencement: The plant will initiate battery production by the end of 2024, employing 2,500 full-time workers. By the end of 2025, it will employ 5,000 full-time workers with an average annual pay of $53,000, including fringe benefits ($73,000*).
  • Supplier Magnet: The Battery plant’s presence is expected to attract numerous new supplier and support businesses to Hardin County.

As this remarkable endeavor unfolds, Kentucky stands at the precipice of an economic renaissance, fueled by innovation, employment opportunities, and community growth.

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