Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.
Alabama creates program to train media production workers
Published: Tuesday, February 08, 2011, 9:21 AM Updated: Tuesday, February 08, 2011, 10:34 AM
By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News
MONTGOMERY - The leader of the state's worker training program said Birmingham is in position to capitalize on the next wave of jobs in the entertainment industry.
Ed Castille, director of AIDT, said a new worker training program focusing on entertainment and media production is intended to build on the incentives for the film industry the Legislature passed last year.
EMPACT, or Entertainment Media Production & Crew, is the latest AIDT program, and it has already gotten started in Huntsville and Montgomery. Castille said it will be coming to Birmingham through Jefferson State Community College and Lawson State Community College.
"We are trying to find a facility with high ceilings that we can use, but we've had numerous requests for this program in Birmingham," Castille said in an interview.
Castille said the production industry is one of the few in the nation that experienced growth during the economic downturn, thanks to demand for video games, movies, commercials and Internet productions.
The jobs vary from film and production crews to set builders and lighting. Castille said all are good-paying jobs and are what large Hollywood crews expect to find locally when they choose a state for a major motion picture.
Economic Development Partnership of Alabama aims for 40 certified sites
Published: Tuesday, February 08, 2011, 8:49 AM Updated: Tuesday, February 08, 2011, 3:41 PM
By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News
The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama now has 25 sites designated in its AdvantageSite program and hopes to have a total of 40 such sites in the state by the end of this year, officials say.
The AdvantageSite program approves industrial parks and large tracts of land for economic development as being ready for development -- meaning there are no title issues and all of the necessary approvals are in place from an environmental and engineering standpoint. The topic came up at the Economic Development Association of Alabama's winter conference at the Renaissance Hotel & Spa in Montgomery on Monday.
The EDPA started the process a couple of years ago and has been adding more sites to the list as the long process of approving sites has been completed by more entities. The Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority has both of its parks certified as AdvantageSites.
Greg Knighton, the EDPA's director of business information, said sites that are already marketed with a special search function on EDPA's website and other marketing efforts for are in the works.
Shelia Shepard, vice president of the Jackson County Economic Development Authority, said going through the hard work helped make a site in the county ready when TVA needed to find a site for a new worker training facility.
Site consultant says Alabama can bring in foreign companies, development
Published: Tuesday, February 08, 2011, 8:00 AM
By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News
View full sizeThe Economic Development Association of Alabama held its winter conference Monday at the Renaissance Hotel & Spa in Montgomery. (Screen capture from group's website)
MONTGOMERY -- A leading global site consultant said Alabama is already well known to international companies and the state has an opportunity to boost its share of international investment, which is expected to hit $2 trillion in 2012.
Woody Hydrick, associate principal and global site consultant for Cushman & Wakefield, told Alabama economic development professionals at a Monday conference that they often don't know they have sites in the running for major projects. Only when sites make the finalist cut do many local economic development groups know they are being considered for a project, he added.
Hydrick, who worked with Germany's Thyssen Krupp in choosing a site near Mobile for a $5 billion steel mill, said in an interview that Alabama's ability to build an automotive industry from scratch, starting with Mercedes-Benz in 1993, has cemented its place in the global market.
"Alabama has shown they have the infrastructure and the ability to work large, complex projects," Hydrick said. "Birmingham is in the middle of all of that."
Gov. Bentley awards grant to support job expansion in Dadeville
Published: Monday, February 07, 2011, 10:35 AM Updated: Monday, February 07, 2011, 10:47 AM
By Ben Flanagan, al.com
DADEVILLE, Alabama -- Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded a $500,000 grant to enable the expansion of a Dadeville automotive parts supplier and create 90 new jobs, according to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
The Community Development Block Grant will help SJA Inc. build a 72,000-square-foot addition to its facility in William Thweatt Industrial Park.
The company will hire the additional employees within one year of completing the expansion. SJA currently employs approximately 300 workers.
The funding will also be used for road and drainage improvements to accommodate the expansion, according to ADECA. City officials hope the improvements will attract other industries to the park, located off U.S. Highway 280 in Dadeville.
SJA is a major supplier of parts used int he assembly of automobiles by Hyundai in Montgomery and Kia in Georgia.
Factory expansion picks up more speed in January
Published: Friday, February 04, 2011, 7:00 PM Updated: Friday, February 04, 2011, 7:02 PM
By Jeff Amy, Press-Register
MOBILE, Ala. -- Manufacturing growth accelerated in the Southeast in January, the fourth straight month that growth has picked up, according to a report from Georgia's Kennesaw State University.
The Southeastern Purchasing Managers Index, which covers factories in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and Tennessee, rose to 58.9, up 2.5 points from December. The Southeast still trails the nation in the pace of factory expansion -- the U.S. index rose to 60.8 in January.
Anything above 50 indicates expansion.
Hiring activity continued to accelerate in January according to the Southeastern index.
The new orders index, the part of the overall measure that is most predictive of future activity, rose 3.1 points to 60.5 in the Southeast.
But flashing a warning, the index for commodity prices leaped 11.3 points to 82.3, with 64.5 percent of respondents reporting higher prices and no respondents reporting lower prices.
Press Register link
Boost to UWA and Black Belt
Published 7:10pm Friday, February 4, 2011
By Donna Cope For The Times
LIVINGSTON - To Danny Cooper, the Alabama Power Foundation's recent grant to the University of West Alabama (UWA) is a dream come true - and a personal victory.
Living most of his life in west Alabama, Cooper is well aware of the area's severe need of economic development. A resident of Eutaw, he graduated in 1975 with a social sciences degree from Livingston University, which was renamed the University of West Alabama in 1995. Cooper is among some 60 UWA graduates currently working for Alabama Power, according to Human Resources.
In efforts to assist his alma mater and the entire area, Cooper championed UWA's $15 million fundraising campaign "The University We Will Be" three years ago. He also was a major petitioner to the Alabama Power Foundation for the university grant.
"This is home to me, and before I retire, I want to help make a difference in moving the University of West Alabama forward," said Cooper, manager of the business office for Eutaw, Livingston and York for 21 years.
"This is a rural area, and UWA is our largest college," he said. "This foundation grant is going to make worlds of difference in helping with economic development and much needed jobs. We are going to be good stewards of this grant."
The foundation's gift is the catalyst for the University of West Alabama Center for Business and Economic Development Services, which is part of the College of Business. In that vein, Western Division External Affairs Manager Joseph Brown noted that UWA is located in the Black Belt, which is among the nation's 12 poorest counties. About 30 percent of the population lives below poverty level.
"Unemployment in the Black Belt ranges between 12 and 19 percent, which is among the highest rates in the U.S.," said Brown, who chairs Region 3 of the Workforce Development Council of Alabama in developing a regional strategic plan for local job development. "The main goal of this foundation grant is to bring desperately needed economic development opportunities to these communities in the Black Belt. By having a center that can assist and unite the great efforts already in place, this can be the piece that will help bring a major industry to this area.
Demopolis Times link
Bentley talks proration at PARCA
Birmingham Business Journal - by Ben Piper
Date: Friday, February 4, 2011, 4:28pm CST
Ben Piper Reporter Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gov. Robert Bentley told the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama that a decision on proration in the state budget could come as soon as later this month.
Bentley said he wants to delve into state finances at the end of February and assess if proration is the best option for state agencies at that time.
"The state budget is not in good shape," he said. "It's a lot worse than I thought it would be. We've become addicted to one time stimulus monies."
Former Gov. Bob Riley, Bentley's predecessor in the governor's office, prorated state budgets by as much as 9.5 percent in fiscal year 2010. Projections for Bentley's potential proration are in the 2 to 3 percent range.
Bentley also took the time to speak to economic development and unemployment in Alabama. He said he wants to leverage two-year colleges to recruit new businesses to the state through a workforce training integration process.
Birmingham Business Journal link
UAH hosting Model Based Enterprise (MBE) Supplier Education & Training Summit for DOD & NASA Suppliers
UAHuntsville has been chosen as the venue for a Model Based Enterprise (MBE) Supplier Education and Training Summit on February 22, 2011 in Huntsville, AL.
This MBE Summit is being organized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), with coordination assistance from several affiliate MEP Centers in Alabama, the Gulf Coast Region, and elsewhere around the country. The Summit is being co-sponsored and led by the U.S. Army Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Program and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
UAHuntsville has been chosen as the venue for the Summit in conjunction with a meeting of the Manufacturing Division of the National Defense Industrial Association also being held at UAH on February 23-24, 2011.
The MBE Summit will be a daylong event to raise the MBE literacy of DOD and NASA suppliers. The Summit is designed to increase the awareness and understanding of MBE technology and operations among domestic defense suppliers, and it will communicate information about NASA supply strategies and future directions relating to MBE, including how NASA suppliers can use MBE to link to DOD supply opportunities. The agenda for the day will include presentation topics such as:
· MBE and its Benefits: Perspectives from both the Department of Defense and NASA
· Ongoing MBE Efforts within the DOD and Specifically Army Programs
· Ongoing NASA MBE Efforts
· MBE Technical Data Package Development
· The Implications and Opportunities of MBE for Small Business
· MBE-Related Resources and Assistance Available to Suppliers, including via MEP
· Certification As an Ultimate Goal
· Question and Answer Panels with Manufacturers and Government Experts in MBE
It is targeted that companies will leave the summit with a better understanding of what MBE is, why DOD and NASA are interested in MBE, and what their implementation plans look like. Suppliers also will be able to determine where they stand in the spectrum of MBE development and where they can go to get help developing their capabilities.
Early registration is strongly recommended! To register:
This MBE Summit is the third in a series of summits to raise suppliers' MBE literacy that will be held across the country and that began in 2010.
OESA - AAMA Joint Meeting
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Keynote Dinner Speaker - James Tobin
Marketing Officer and President Magna Japan and Korea Magna International
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
Automotive suppliers should take advantage of this opportunity to network with industry peers and hear thought leadership from industry experts.
GO TO THE FOLLOWING WEBSITES FOR DETAILS:
To register for Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association event click on: http://www.aama.to/programs.asp
To register for Original Equipment Supplier Association event click: http://oesa.org/events/eventdetail.php?eventId=962
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