Study: Toyota supports almost 30,000 jobs in Kentucky

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GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WTVQ)- New numbers reveal what most of us already know, Toyota has a major economic impact on all of Kentucky. In fact, a study commissioned by the company shows it supports almost 30 thousand jobs statewide.

The study shows a far-reaching impact. It does not just focus on the number of jobs Toyota creates, but also shows the company’s financial impact on the state touches other areas like education and tourism.

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“They have been, as I said before, the foundation for our ability to move forward,” Georgetown/Scott County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jack Conner said.

Conner says when he first moved to the area in 1979 very little was happening in the community.

“In 1985 when Toyota announced, it was a very small sleepy town of 8-10,000 people and here we are at 51,000,” Conner said.

He says he is not surprised Toyota has had a similar impact on the entire state and beyond. The new study commissioned by the company reveals in 2015 every Toyota job in Kentucky created about three more in the state.

Toyota External Affairs Manager Rick Hesterberg says some of those jobs are at companies that support the manufacturer.

“To build a car, if you think about it, it takes so many resources and Toyota’s not going to make all those resources so we have to outsource many things…” Hesterberg said.

Conner says the manufacturing base from Toyota has fostered growth in the residential, service, and commercial sectors too. Plus, it has meant donations of time and money to community programs and education, but w havee seen in the U.S. before the devastating impact such an economic powerhouse can have when it leaves a community that lacks diversity. Studebaker leaving South Bend, Indiana is an example.

Conner says he is not worried about that in Kentucky.

“Doesn’t sound to me as if they’re going anywhere,” Conner said, citing the company’s large number of plants across the country.

Hesterberg agrees. In fact, he says the company is investing in educational programs to ensure a strong future workforce for the next 30 years of business.

“You’ve got to have able and capable people with those skill sets to keep a plant like this running successfully,” Hesterberg said.

The study also notes the company’s plant in Georgetown is its largest in the world, but it is 30 years old so Hesterberg says for the next few years it will be getting a big makeover.

It is part of a $10,000,000,000 investment the company plans to make in the U.S. over the next five years.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!