OCS Grant Supports Creation of 250 Jobs in Southeastern Kentucky

LEXINGTON, KY. (November 14, 2023) – The United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Community Services (OCS) awarded a Community Economic Development (CED) grant to Kentucky non-profit, Community Ventures (CV) to support the creation of 250 jobs in southeastern Kentucky. In the next three years, 100 of these jobs will be filled.


“Opening this 33,000 square foot facility will allow us to quickly create 100 full-time, high-paying jobs and expand our production of the strongest, most ballistically resistant and weldable metal that the Army has been seeking for over 30 years now,” said Gary Gola, Jr., Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Flash Steelworks. “We are grateful to Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock for helping us secure a site where we can expand and for assisting us in acquiring funds from the State of Kentucky, to the Appalachian Regional Commission, and to OCS for the CED funding provided through Community Ventures.”


Flash Steelworks broke ground on a brand-new plant in Middlesboro in Bell County in October 2022, which is projected to be operational in the summer of 2024. The steel manufacturer plans to hold a job fair in Middlesboro in the spring of 2024 to recruit staff for the Middlesboro plant.


“Adding employers like Flash Steelworks to Bell County strengthens our economy and provides quality jobs for our neighbors, family, and friends,” said Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock. “We have worked closely with Flash Steelworks to ensure it has the land necessary to grow and expand, and we look forward to welcoming this new enterprise to our community.”


“This new development will create high-paying jobs with benefits for the residents of Bell County and southeastern Kentucky,” said Dan Heffernan, President of New Market Tax Credits at Community Ventures. “This region has been hit hard by job losses in the coal industry, and we are proud to work alongside companies like Flash Steelworks to provide economic opportunity for Kentuckians and their communities.”


The Flash Steelworks project is also supported by funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and First State Bank of the Southeast. The ARC funds were matched by $5 million in state funds, allocated from the 2022 state budget.


To learn more about Flash Steelworks, visit https://www.flashsteelworks.com. To learn more about Community Ventures, visit cvky.org.


About Flash Steelworks: Flash Steelworks is a private steel manufacturer based in Michigan that uses a unique and highly specialized electronic/thermal process to produce blast-resistant, yet lightweight military-grade plate steel. The company has a contract with the Department of Defense to produce armor for the U.S. military.


About The Office of Community Services: The Office of Community Services (OCS) within the Department of health and Human Servicers partners with states, tribes, territories, and non-profit and community-based organizations to reduce the causes and consequences of poverty, increase opportunity and economic security of individuals and families, and revitalize communities. Our social service and community development programs work in a variety of ways to improve the lives of many. Their Community Economic Development program provides funds for business development and the creation of new, high-quality jobs with wraparound services for individuals with low incomes.


About Community Ventures: Founded in 1982 as a community-based, non-profit organization, Community Ventures (CV) strengthens communities and improves the overall quality of life for Kentuckians by supporting job creation, small business ownership, and home ownership. CV is headquartered in Lexington with branch locations in Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Louisville, Mayfield, Millersburg, and Owensboro. For 21 consecutive years, CV has been named Microlender of the Year by the Kentucky Small Business Administration.