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Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 
 
in this issue:
Alabama's leading job-hunting agencies plan realignment - Birmingham News
Alabama economic developers create internship program - Birmingham News
Expert: New Alabama ethics law can trip up economic developers - Birmingham News
Birmingham airport breaks ground on expansion - Birmingham News
Southwest Alabama may not comply with EPA's proposed air quality standards - Press Register
EDITORIAL: Putting people back to work has its challenges - Press Register
State leaders seek new ways to create jobs - Montgomery Advertiser

       

Alabama's leading job-hunting agencies plan realignment

 

Published: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 7:00 AM Updated: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 10:23 AM
By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News

MONTGOMERY -- The heads of Alabama's leading job-hunting agencies said Wednesday a new plan to realign the state's economic development efforts could be in place by spring, including the creation of a statewide business incubation program advanced by Gov. Robert Bentley.

Seth Hammett, director of the Alabama Development Office, and Bill Taylor, chief executive of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, told state industry hunters about the realignment at the Economic Development Association of Alabama's winter conference.

Taylor said progress is being made quickly on creating an economic development plan that aligns the state's public and private resources to operate more efficiently under new economic restraints.

Many expect the plan will lead to the creation of a new "department of commerce" that includes a public-private partnership between ADO, a state agency, and EDPA, a private organization. Taylor conceded that is a possibility, but he said the plan also will reshape all economic development resources in the state in a bid to avoid waste and duplication.

"We're going to come out of this with more clarity of roles," Taylor said. "That's something that is needed."
  
more...

       

Alabama economic developers create internship program
 

Published: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 10:23 AM Updated: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 10:31 AM

 

By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News

 

Alabama economic developers are becoming more aggressive in finding ways to replenish their ranks as more professionals retire or pass away.

 

The Economic Development Association of Alabama announced plans for a pilot economic development internship program to start this summer at its winter conference at the Renaissance Hotel & Spa in Montgomery on Wednesday.

 

Five interns will be selected from applicants from the University of Alabama, Auburn University, the University of South Alabama, UAH and Troy University.

 

Students will intern at the Alabama Development Office, Alabama Power, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, PowerSouth and the North Alabama Industrial Development Association.

 

Hollie Pegg, senior project manager with ADO, said the internships will pay $10 per hour for 10 weeks. AIDT is helping to screen applicants for the pilot program. She said the program can be expanded to include more universities and companies.

 

Shane Kearney, project manager with Alabama Power, said the goal is to create a pipeline of new economic development professionals

 

 

Birmingham News 


       

Expert: New Alabama ethics law can trip up economic developers
 

Published: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 11:28 AM Updated: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 12:01 PM

By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News

 

Industrial recruiters need to be careful when using a public official to wine and dine economic development prospects in light of the state's new ethics laws, an expert said.

 

Tom DeBray, an attorney for Franklin Resources Group's economic development lobbying group, told Alabama economic developers that many aspects of the ethics law lack clarity.

 

He said even though there are numerous exceptions made for economic development activities, if recruiters are not completely sure their activity qualifies as proper then they should avoid it.

 

"The new act, to be charitable, is confusing," DeBray said at the Economic Development Association of Alabama's winter meeting in Montgomery on Wednesday.

 

He reminded economic developers that the law applies to members of city councils and county commissions, as well as elected and appointed officials at every level of government in the state. That includes those who are appointed to industrial development boards and economic development authorities, he said.

 

more...

 

Birmingham News 


       

Birmingham airport breaks ground on expansion

 

Published: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 11:41 AM Updated: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 3:33 PM
By Stan Diel -- The Birmingham News

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport broke ground today on a $201.6 million construction project that will about double the size of its terminal and give it a chance to land international flights.

Plans call for the addition of 19 new gates, an improved baggage handling system and improvements to the airport's parking garage.

Airport and community officials said the renovations will create economic development opportunities and help the city make a better impression on visitors.

"This airport is our front porch," said Jim Smither, president of the Birmingham Convention and Visitors' Bureau. "This is the first impression and the last impression of Birmingham for so many people."

Barry Copeland, interim president of the Birmingham Business Alliance, said the addition of a $1.2 million customs facility will give the airport the opportunity to host direct international flights. With the state already home to international businesses such as Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai, it's clear that the demand for such flights is there, he said.

"There is no doubt in my mind" that the airport will get direct international flights, he said.
  
more...

 

Southwest Alabama may not comply with EPA's proposed air quality standards
 

Published: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 5:00 AM

By Press-Register staff

 

MOBILE, Ala. -- Southwest Alabama may soon fail to comply with federal air quality standards, a development that could limit future road expansion projects and even industrial development, according to the area's transportation coordinator.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency is reconsidering its threshold for acceptable levels of ground-level ozone, said Kevin Harrison, director of transportation planning for the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission. The EPA is expected to make an announcement by July 31.

 

The agency is expected to approve a new, lower threshold that's below the existing ozone levels in southwest Alabama, Harrison said.

 

If that happens, Mobile would be declared as "nonattainment for air quality," a status that brings tighter restrictions on emissions-causing activities like traffic and heavy industry, he said.

 

The state would have to create an emissions budget for the area, estimate the ozone output and develop a plan for lowering emissions, Harrison said.

 

Local officials would have to consider the emissions impact of future industrial projects, Harrison said. Also, the government could withhold approval of road projects that were deemed likely to increase auto emissions.

 

Nearly all major road projects are funded, at least in part, with federal money.

 

The EPA has yet to say exactly how it plans to adjust the ozone-safety threshold, but Harrison said it's almost certain to be more restrictive.

 

Ozone levels on the Alabama coast are measured at three sensor sites - two in Mobile County and one in Baldwin County. Together, they show an average ozone reading of about 0.074 parts per million, he said. 

 

more...

 

Press Register

 

 

 

 


  

EDITORIAL: Putting people back to work has its challenges
 

Published: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 9:49 AM Updated: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 9:50 AM

By Press-Register Editorial Board

 

GOV. ROBERT Bentley is sticking to the central theme of his campaign - creating more jobs for Alabamians. He deserves credit for staying on task and for keeping his pledge to refuse a salary until the state's unemployment rate falls to 5.2 percent.

 

Job growth is a daunting goal in this era of tight budgets, with no money available for the big incentives packages that in years past lured industrial giant ThyssenKrupp AG and shipbuilder Austal USA to south Alabama.

 

Realistically, while remaining open to the possibility of landing the occasional "big fish," the new governor's challenge will be encouraging and assisting the state's medium- and small-size businesses to expand their employment rolls.

 

Indeed, earlier this week, Gov. Bentley downplayed the need for big recruiting projects as he addressed the Economic Development Association of Alabama. He noted that while it's nice for the state to win the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and ThyssenKrupp, small business and existing industry account for much of the state's job growth.

 

He went on to say that the state can no longer offer rich incentives to recruit industry, because those funds just aren't there anymore. What the state can do instead, he said, is to make sure that workers are well-educated and well-trained.

 

more...

 

Press Register 

 

 

 


  

State leaders seek new ways to create jobs

 

By Mary Sell February 10, 2011

There is a lot "new" about bring­ing new jobs to Alabama. New com­mittees, new policies, new leaders -- including a governor who says job creation is his No. 1 priority -- and new rules on ethics.

And officials say Alabama eco­nomic developers have to renew their commitment to work together now more than ever to overcome financial constraints and create jobs in the state.

About 250 economic developers were in Montgomery on Wednes­day for the third and final day of the Economic Development Associa­tion of Alabama's winter confer­ence.

Businesses have to re-invent themselves and their products to stay competitive and the state must do the same, said Bill Taylor, presi­dent of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.

"You renew yourself every day or you die," he said.

The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama has been charged by Gov. Robert Bentley to lead efforts to grow and retain exist­ing Alabama industries, while at the same time recruiting new ones.

 

more...

Montgomery Advertiser





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