Sponsored: Kentucky program helps NKY employers train workers

A FEAM Aero technician replaces a standby airspeed indicator in a B767 freighter. Photo provided by FEAM Aero.

This article was written by Angie Mulberry, Director of Business Retention at Northern Kentucky Tri-ED.

As businesses throughout the country face hiring challenges, Northern Kentucky companies should take advantage of all resources available to them.

Through the Bluegrass State Skills Corporation, the state of Kentucky offers financial assistance to train new and existing employees.

As Director of Business Retention for Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED), I have introduced many businesses to this opportunity.

Since 2020, 29 Northern Kentucky companies have taken advantage of BSSC funding, including eight that I have worked with directly.

In fiscal year 2021, the BSSC Board of Directors approved about $6.1 million in funds and credits to 111 facilities throughout the state, resulting in training for almost 18,300 workers.


Two Northern Kentucky companies that have taken advantage of this program are FEAM Aero and Fives.

FEAM currently employs more than 200 people at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). After a groundbreaking for a second hangar on Nov. 1, the company plans to hire about 250 more employees.

FEAM is headquartered in Miami and has many locations across the United States, but Director of Community Affairs Etain Connor said CVG is their top priority. They opened the first CVG hangar in 2020 and outgrew it in six months.

As the company continues to train workers, FEAM is working to offset some of their costs through funding from BSSC.

They were approved for Grant-in-Aid funding, which provides cash reimbursements for occupational and skills upgrade training.

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FEAM, an aviation maintenance and repair company, works on both cargo and passenger planes, performing repairs throughout the world.

They work on planes such as Boeing and Airbus, and as companies like Boeing make changes to their aircraft, Connor said they want to make sure their team knows about it.

FEAM is continually trying to be ready for industry changes that occur, and she said they want to keep employees up to speed on what’s coming down the line.

For new employees, they also work to get them familiar with reporting procedures, Federal Aviation Administration regulations, and company policies and expectations.

FEAM Aero provides training to its new and current employees to stay up to date on customers’ aircraft and the newest technologies.
Photo provided by FEAM Aero.

FEAM is a family-owned, privately held company, and Connor said BSSC funding will enable them to reinvest in the company.

“We’re so grateful to know the BSSC program is out there,” said Connor.

Fives designs and manufactures machines, process equipment and production lines for the world’s largest industrial groups. The company has a high population of employees who are nearing retirement, and they need to train new employees to fill these vacancies. After learning about the BSSC, Fives applied and also received Grant-in-Aid funding.

Fives Director of Human Resources Heather McClanahan said the company is using this money for multiple trainings, including on topics such as safety, internal technical skills, and principles of machine tool design.

McClanahan shared that the BSSC funds will help them bridge skills gaps and bring new employees up to speed.


Along with Grant-in-Aid, BSSC also has the Skills Training Investment Credit, which offers state income tax credits for businesses to offset the costs of approved training programs.

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Applications for these two programs are considered for approval by the BSSC Board at scheduled meetings throughout the year.

To learn more about program requirements, contact me at [email protected]

For more information about BSSC, visit ced.ky.gov/workforce/BSSC.

Angie Mulberry is Director of Business Retention at Northern Kentucky Tri-ED. To learn more about Tri-ED, visit www.NorthernKentuckyUSA.com or follow these accounts on social media: @NKY_EconDev (Twitter), Northern Kentucky Tri-ED on LinkedIn and Facebook.