One East Kentucky Certified "AEROready"

One East Kentucky Certified "AEROready" Main Photo

2 Jan 2017


One East Kentucky, along with consultants from Common Sense Economic Development and Tucson Atlantic Consulting, announced that the nine counties of Floyd, Knott, Johnson, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Perry and Pike have been certified as an AEROready Region.

“This region has much more to offer than I ever imagined,” said Tucson Roberts, President of Tucson Atlantic Consulting.  “The location to other regions and states with the Aerospace and Aviation industry, the density of highly skilled workers, the regional airports and the leadership in the private and public sectors are just outstanding.”

The consultants used a combination of methods, resources and information sources to compile data, assess competitiveness, and develop strategies as well as recommendations.  They combined this with one-on-one interviews with regional and utility economic development officials, administrators of three regional airports, airport board members, regional education institutions and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

The nearly four-month study found that the nine county region’s workforce currently has 74 different skill sets necessary to the Aerospace and Aviation industry.  Additionally, there are 7,700 people with one or more of those skill sets in the region.  Current education and training resources were also mentioned.  Morehead State University’s Space Science Center as well as KCTCS programs at Big Sandy, Hazard and Southeast Community and Technical College played a vital role in the certification.

Chuck Sexton, President & CEO of One East Kentucky, stated, “As we seek to diversify the economy of our region, we must be able to show private companies how we can support their needs.  Having third parties assess our competitiveness and advantages is critical.  Even more critical is the cooperation we have seen throughout the nine counties.  This assessment could not have been completed without it.” 

AEROready is designed to help rural communities showcase advantages to aerospace related companies, prepare marketing for recruitment, and give assurance to private industry that an independent firm has verified the region can support them.  “Everything we have seen so far tells me that east Kentucky would be a great location for aerospace manufacturers, especially those who manufacture metal components and parts,” added Robert Ingram, President of Common Sense Economic Development.  “The key is going to be getting out and talking to these companies across the country and at industry trade shows.”

One East Kentucky has met with more than 30 companies since June from Canada, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.  Some of those companies were in the aerospace parts industry.  Sexton says that although these meetings are introductory in nature, many of these companies will now be considering east Kentucky when the time comes to open a new facility.  “Recruiting new industry takes time and it isn’t possible from behind a desk.  We must take our message out to the marketplace.  And in the delivery of that message, we are in a much better position when folks like Robert and Tucson are certifying that we have what it takes to support specific industries.”

The study and certification were funded through a grant from AEP Kentucky Power.

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One East Kentucky is a privately funded, non-profit regional economic development organization covering nine counties.  If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Charles Sexton at 606-886-7333 or email at