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Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 
in this issue:
Commission set up to ask business owners how to change Alabama policies to spur job growth - Birmingham News
Reporter's notebook: Alabama State Data Center chief lists problems with rural poor counties - Birmingham News
Raytheon, Aerojet missile test in zero-gravity environment said a success - Huntsville Times


Commission set up to ask business owners how to change Alabama policies to spur job growth


Published: Wednesday, February 09, 2011, 1:35 PM
By David White -- The Birmingham News




MONTGOMERY -- Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, leader of the Alabama House of Representatives, today unveiled a 14-member commission scheduled to meet with business owners and leaders to hear how they would change state laws and policies to spur private-sector job growth.



The first meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Chan Auditorium at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said the commission's chairman, state Rep. Phil Williams, R-Huntsville.


Williams, a minority owner of Synapse Wireless in Huntsville, said he and other commissioners want to meet with owners and chief executives of businesses with about five to 250 employees. He said other meetings will be held in or near Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile.


Hubbard said he wants the commission to report back April 15, and he expects some of the ideas in the report to be shaped into bills and passed into law in this year's regular session of the Legislature, which starts March 1 and could last through June 13.


''That's our goal," Hubbard said, adding that ideas could include new tax breaks and ways to reduce red tape.


''The mission of the Speaker's Commission on Job Creation is simply this: to develop creative, achievable and immediate job-creating policy recommendations that can be considered by the Legislature in this regular session," Hubbard said.



Birmingham News



Reporter's notebook: Alabama State Data Center chief lists problems with rural poor counties


Published: Wednesday, February 09, 2011, 10:00 AM
By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News

"Rural" and "poor" are not synonyms, according to the director of the Alabama State Data Center told economic developers Tuesday.

Annette Watters presented reasons the state's rural counties are not prosperous, citing a Federal Reserve study that looked the issue nationally.

Watters said many of the state's rural counties lack those characteristics found in prosperous rural counties, such as:

A high school graduation rate equal or greater than the national average.

A stable population between the age of 24 and 35.

An underlying, shared, homogenous culture.


Raytheon, Aerojet missile test in zero-gravity environment said a success



Published: Wednesday, February 09, 2011, 9:05 AM
By Budd McLaughlin, The Huntsville Times



A missile test in an outer space-simulated environment was called a success by contractors Raytheon and Aerojet.


In a recent kinetic warhead system integration test for the Standard Missile-3 Block I, a moving ballistic missile target was detected, tracked and intercepted a in zero-gravity.


During the test, a fully operational, flight-weight kinetic warhead operated on an air-bearing test stand in a high-altitude chamber at Aerojet's Sacramento, Calif., facility. The warhead's seeker tracked a simulated target, while the guidance computer sent information to the new attitude control system.


After that, the system fired thrusters to hold its aim on the target, simulating an actual flight mission.



"The test demonstrated the fire control loop of the kinetic warhead on the ground, which is a key indicator that we're on track for the first SM-3 Block IB intercept in space this year," said Frank Wyatt, vice president of Raytheon's Air and Missile Defense Systems product line. The SM-3 Block IB will be deployed in sea-based and land-based modes



Huntsville Times





EADS expects to win $40 billion aircraft contract

Published: Wednesday, February 09, 2011, 6:15 AM Updated:

By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News


MONTGOMERY -- An EADS North America official told Alabama economic developers Tuesday that he expects his company to win the U.S. government's $40 billion tanker aircraft contract after bids are submitted Friday.


The company has long planned to build the airplanes in Mobile, bringing Alabama thousands of new jobs.


"We feel very comfortable with where we are competitively at this time," said Sam Adcock, vice president of government affairs for EADS North America. "We are not over-confident, but we are optimistic."


Adcock said final bids are due from EADS and Boeing to the Department of Defense Friday and he believes a decision could come as soon as a week later.


"It's going to be one great time when we win the second time," Adcock told recruiters at the Economic Development Association of Alabama's winter conference at the Renaissance Hotel & Spa in Montgomery.




Birmingham News 



Alabama Voices: Job services not just for jobless


February 9, 2011

By Tom Surtees

We hear a lot these days about how our country and our state are slowly but surely recovering from the "Great Recession." We're seeing more and more announcement of companies hiring, consumer confidence in up, holiday spending was up, and our unemployment rates are better than they were a year ago. These are all positive signs that indicate we are possibly, finally, on the way to better economic times.

At the Department of Industrial Relations, one of our major responsibilities is to gauge the state of Alabama's labor market. We've seen a lot of good indicators over the past year.

We had a net job gain over the past 12 months, we've seen initial unemployment compensation claims at their lowest levels in three years, and we've seen the average length of time someone receives unemployment compensation benefits fall below 20 weeks. All of these things tell us that more and more people are going back to work. I don't think anyone will argue that this is most definitely a good thing.

But even though these are all positive signs and indicators, we can't forget that there are still nearly 195,000 Alabamians who are not working. While a 9.1 percent unemployment rate is certainly better than the 10.9 percent rate we saw a year ago, that's not a lot of consolation to those 195,000 Alabamians who want to work, but haven't yet found a job.



Montgomery Advertiser





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.


To register for Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association event click on:

To register for Original Equipment Supplier Association event click:


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As always, if you have news or suggestions, please forward them along to me.
Enjoy the day,  
Wendy Wallace Johnson
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