Gov. Matt Bevin announced May 10 that Dajcor Aluminum Ltd., a Canadian manufacturer of extruded and fabricated aluminum products, plans to create up to 265 full-time jobs as it invests nearly $19.6 million to locate its first U.S. operation near Hazard.

“We are excited for another major jobs announcement in Eastern Kentucky, where we have a strong, skilled workforce ready to serve any industry’s needs,” Bevin said in a statement. “Dajcor Aluminum has selected an excellent location for its first US operation and will be a great fit for the workforce in and around Perry County. We are grateful to Dajcor for their decision to locate in Kentucky, and we stand ready to help this company achieve its goals and continue its rapid growth.”

Perry County Judge-Executive Scott Alexander said that he believes the people of Kentucky are what drew Dajcor to open their first U.S. operation in Perry County.

“I think the skilled labor market that we have is what’s so attractive, one of the best assets we have is our people and the skilled workforce that we have here,” Alexander said. “We’ve done a lot of pre-tests and surveys for the qualifications and the skill market in  aluminum parts manufacturing, machinists and those types of jobs, we have an amazing workforce here that’s ready to go to work in those areas.”

Dajcor plans to locate in the former American Woodmark facility in Perry County’s Coalfields Industrial Park. The operation will provide Dajcor additional capacity for aluminum extrusion and fabrication to serve a variety of North American industries. The Kentucky location will also help the company better reach its US customers. Retrofitting and setup will begin immediately and operations are slated to begin by the end of 2019.

“We hope to have a job fair in about a month and will hopefully start training people in a couple of months,” said Alexander. “We hope to see the facility renovated and have an assembly line in towards the end of December or the first of the year.”

“We are excited to get going on this expansion project for Dajcor,” said Mike Kilby, president and CEO of Dajcor. “This project will not only expand our capacity but also our geographic reach as our first manufacturing facility in the USA. Perry County, in Eastern Kentucky, offers a ready workforce as well as excellent state-of-the-art fabrication training facilities within the area. This fits well with our ‘All Under One Roof’ aluminum extrusion and fabrication business model.”

Dajcor, headquartered in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada, was founded in 2010 after a group of Chatham businessmen purchased the assets of Daymond Aluminum, according to the statement from Bevin’s office. The investors’ mission, the statement said, was to restore the company to its pre-recession status as a widely recognized supplier of extruded, fabricated and anodized aluminum components to the US and Canadian markets. The company, which formerly served the automotive industry exclusively, has expanded to serve a range of markets, including renewable energy, medical equipment, transportation, building trades, military, marine, recreation and consumer-product industries.

The company, the statement said, prides itself on its family atmosphere, as highlighted in the company’s name, which represents the initials of Kilby’s daughters, Danielle, Alyssa and Justine. Dajcor currently employs 246 people at its Ontario operation.

US Rep. Hal Rogers said in the statement that Dajcor adds “new momentum” to economic revitalization efforts in Eastern Kentucky.

“As we continue to rebuild and reimagine our economy in Eastern Kentucky, we welcome businesses, like Dajcor Aluminum, that are taking an innovative approach to retrofit the available buildings and land in our region to create jobs and expand operations,” Rogers said. “We have the best workforce in the country readily available to fill these new jobs, with highly skilled labor and an unmatched work ethic. Gov. Bevin and I are honored to support Dajcor Aluminum’s expansion into Kentucky’s Appalachian region.”

State Sen. Brandon Smith, of Hazard, said the company’s values are analogous to those held by Eastern Kentuckians.

“Dajcor Aluminum’s investment in Perry County is not only an investment in our present, but our future,” Smith said. “The employment opportunities for our skilled workforce will undoubtedly continue to strengthen our region, which has a deep commitment to family just as Dajcor does.”

State Rep. Chris Fugate, of Chavies, said the local workforce stands ready to fill available positions for the aluminum supplier.

“This is exciting news for the people of the 84th District, but also our region of Southeastern Kentucky,” Fugate said. “I am very thankful to Dajcor for choosing to bring their company to a region where we have many people ready, willing and able to do a great job for them.”

Hazard Mayor Donald “Happy” Mobellini said the company will benefit the local community for years to come.

“Dajcor will create a tremendous impact for Hazard-Perry County as well as the entire region, employing folks from multiple counties,” Mobellini said. “We are proud to have them locate here, investing in their future while also investing in the future of 260-plus families in our area.”

Alexander said many people had a hand in bringing Dajcor to the area.

“This is just a total team effort with both the city and the county, the counties around us and the state and federal government working together to make things happen,” said Alexander, “This project is the culmination of multiple efforts to prepare our community to win as well as great teamwork between local and regional leaders we welcome Dajcor to Perry County and look forward to helping them flourish.”

Chuck Sexton, president and CEO of One East Kentucky, said this type of growth can provide immediate support to the region.

“Dajcor represents what our organization is focused on; building a diversified cluster of industry which will have the ability to perpetuate growth in the years to come,” Sexton said. “We are excited about what this project means for all of Eastern Kentucky and appreciate the responsiveness and hard work of our local, state and federal officials to make this possible.”

Alexander also said  opportunities like this help the region as a whole.

“If it’s good for Perry then it’s good for Knott and if it’s good for Breathitt then it’s Good for Perry and we all need to partner and work together to bring the opportunities that our families need,” said Alexander. He also commented on how this would help attract other opportunities to the region. “I think companies will look more and more to locate here for the workforce we have that’s readily available,” said Alexander, “I think word is getting out that we have a workforce who is ready to go and can be trained.”

The statement said that, to encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in December preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $4 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

In addition, the statement said, Dajcor can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.

Company leaders plan to begin recruiting and hiring immediately. Follow the East Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP) and One East Kentucky on social media for updates on job fairs and how to apply. Visit www.EKCEP.org for more information.

For more information on Dajcor, visit, www.Dajcor.com.

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