Braidy mill won't be ready for graduating students training to work at plant

By  | 

BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- After Braidy Industries officials met with Kentucky lawmakers Tuesday and admitted that the company has only raised $65 million of the $500 million needed to start building the mill, there are now questions about the future of students training to work for Braidy.

After Braidy Industries officials met with Kentucky lawmakers Tuesday and admitted that the company has only raised $65 million of the $500 million needed to start building the mill, there are now questions about the future of students training to work for Braidy.

In August 2018, WSAZ told you about a class specially designed to train students in Advanced Integrated Technology.

At the end of the two-year program, students with a 3.0 GPA, who have been drug-free and completed an internship program, would start in the plant with a $65,000 salary plus benefits.

In May, 65 students will graduate from the program. The only problem is, the mill will not be operational. In fact, the earliest the mill could go online is late 2022, which is two years past the original opening date.

Despite the setbacks and delays, students are optimistic about the mill.

"I kind of keep the mentality that Rome wasn't built overnight," said student Christopher Jackson.

"The financial part that 's not my cup of tea," said student Christian Rideout. "I don't worry about that, I leave that to the professionals."

Fortunately, the skills the students are learning will make them suitable for any kind of industrial work, and ACTC is working with companies to connect students to those businesses.

"Yes, they all came here to work for Braidy Industries, that's why we started this program at this facility," said instructor Michael Tackett. "But definitely either as they're waiting on Braidy Industries to get the mill built, they can easily have the skills they need to find jobs and careers elsewhere."

"I'm sure everybody has some kind of anxiety behind it," Rideout said. "But in all reality, I really do think the mill is coming. I'm not too worried about it. I'm sure I'll have to get a little something in the meantime, but I'm counting on Braidy to be here."

Rideout says she drives from Adams County, Ohio, everyday for class. It is more than an hour drive to get to ACTC, but she says the possibilities Braidy offers makes it worth it.

"I started reading up on Braidy, kinda dug into their company a little bit," Rideout said. "I like their philosophies and I was impressed with the mill and what it was going to offer. Of course competitive wages and benefits was a big part of that decision."

ACTC President Larry Ferguson told WSAZ that Braidy has kept the college in the loop with updates and the same information that was told before lawmakers Tuesday.

He says it is disappointing that the mill will not be ready, and has been working since last Fall to meet with companies in the Tri-State to find jobs for the students. He adds he is confident the college will be able to help the students find work.

WSAZ has reached out to Braidy for official comment on how they plan to address the situation. A spokesperson says an update will be available Thursday.