The head of a Kentucky automotive organization is working to clear up misconceptions about manufacturing professions. Dave Tatman, head of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association, testified in Frankfort last week.
Tatman was asked during a committee meeting if the state is missing out on automotive assembly plant consideration because its potential workforce is too small or not skilled enough. Tatman says too many people still hold negative views about vocational education. "I'm telling you what, the ATC program in the state of Kentucky is terrific at developing the talent we need for manufacturing businesses," said Tatman.
ATC's are area technology centers. Tatman says two sites in Kentucky are well suited for assembly plants, but he says there are no companies actively pursuing either location. He believes the greater opportunities for growth remain in automotive supply businesses. "The supplier community, which is doing more and more development work, and more and more partnership with our OEM'S is probably the biggest target for new jobs, new plant, new capital expansion," added Tatman.
OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer, which would include the Toyota, Ford, and General Motors plants in Kentucky.
Tatman is looking for legislative relief for help with transporting aluminum. He says he would like to see aluminum treated like steel. "There's some discussion going on about overweight permitting with respect to aluminum. We allow it for steel in the Commonwealth. We are uncompetitive with that with respect to aluminum, and of course aluminum's become very popular in the automotive business and Kentucky has a significant aluminum presence," explained Tatman.
Tatman expects the aluminum bill to come up for discussion this session.