Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.
Startup firm PowAir International seeks $90 million to build 340-job plant at Brookley Aeroplex
MOBILE, Alabama -- Investors are trying to start a company at Mobile'sBrookley Aeroplex that would build and repair gear drives and other components for wind turbines, ships and offshore oil and gas platforms.
The company, called PowAir International, proposes to invest $90 million, creating up to 340 jobs with average annual salaries around $60,000, it told the Mobile City Industrial Development Board.
New Bessemer distribution hub central to Dollar General's plans
The chief executive of Dollar General said the company's $100 million distribution center in Bessemer will be a key component fueling the retailer's rapid growth.
"It's a perfect location for us and it's coming right when we need it," CEO Rick Dreiling said in an interview Wednesday. "The company is really doing well and, to be frank with you, this is a testament to how well the company is growing -- that we need a new distribution center."
The center is being built on 106 acres on Lakeshore Parkway near the intersection with Alabama 150. A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for 1 p.m. today and will include Gov. Robert Bentley and other elected and economic development officials.
Tuition going up at Alabama's community colleges
Published: Thursday, June 09, 2011, 1:55 PM Updated: Thursday, June 09, 2011, 2:10 PM
By The Associated Press The Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Alabama - Tuition at Alabama's two-year colleges is going up by about 16 percent in a move that will raise more than $30 million in additional revenue.
The Alabama State Board of Education approved the price hike today. Officials say the increase comes at a time when state funding is decreasing and enrollment is increasing.
Tuition will go up from current rate of $92 per credit hour to $107 per credit hour. The increase takes effect this fall.
The Alabama Community College System says it's lost more than $100 million due to proration, or mandatory funding cuts caused by shortfalls in the state school budget. Funding is off more than $124 million since 2008.
The system has 22 community colleges and four technical schools statewide.
Warehouse Space Needed 20,000+ sq. ft; 25'+ ceilings
The Alabama Film Office (AFO) has been contacted by a major studio researching available building and warehouse space in Alabama. The property will be used for soundstage and set construction for future film productions.
The type of buildings being considered are closed department stores, gymnasiums, airport hangars and industrial sites with a clear ceiling height of over 25 ft. and a minimum of 20,000 square feet. There is no minimum height requirement as the sets to be constructed are on a very large scale.
Please provide building location, logistical data and contact information to AFO by June 30, 2011. Also include interior/exterior photos and if water/ power and office space are available.
This is only research information and no film production by the studio in Alabama has been scheduled.
Once the information is received by AFO it will be forwarded to studio personnel and you will be contacted if further assistance is needed.
Please email Tommy.Fell@Tourism.Alabama.Gov with sites.
Alabama state school superintendent to retire
Published: Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 2:45 p.m.
MONTGOMERY - Alabama's state school superintendent is retiring.
Joseph Morton announced today he will step down as head of the Alabama Department of Education effective Aug. 31. He's been superintendent for more than seven years.
Morton says in a statement he's stepping down because an inner voice he believes to be God told him the time was right. He says nothing else factored into his decision.
It was only in December that the state school board extended Morton's contract through the end of 2012.
The State Board of Education will name a replacement for Morton, who's spent 42 years in education in all. He and his wife live in Sylacauga.
CBER releases preliminary economic and fiscal impact numbers from April 27 tornadoes in Alabama
The state of Alabama was hit by dozens of tornadoes on April 27, 2011 mainly in central and northern parts of the state that resulted in 240 lives lost and more than 2,200 injured to date. The resulting damage was so severe that 43 of the state's 67 counties have been declared federal disaster areas. Several communities had major damage and a few had almost complete devastation. Nearly 14,000 homes were either totally destroyed or have been declared uninhabitable. Within urban communities, Tuscaloosa County was one of the worst hit, where an EF-4 tornado with winds of over 190 mph cut a path six miles long and half a mile wide through the middle of the city, completely leveling numerous businesses and residential communities. It is still quite early to fully comprehend the total economic effects of the damage caused by the tornadoes. However, enough information is now available to permit some preliminary estimates of damage effects on the Alabama economy with specific focus on employment, earnings, state finances, and gross domestic product (GDP).
The purpose of this brief report is to present preliminary estimates of the economic and fiscal impacts of the tornadoes as well as the consequent recovery efforts on Alabama.
read the report here (pdf):
Q3 2011 Alabama Business Confidence Index Survey Open through June 15
The Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at The University of Alabama invites the state's business executives to take the Q3 2011 Alabama Business Confidence Index™ (ABCI) survey. Participation from a wide range of businesses in terms of location, industry, and size contributes to a broad-based assessment of business prospects for the third quarter.
The Q3 2011 ABCI survey is currently open and closes on June 15. Business executives can take the six-question online survey at http://cber.cba.ua.edu/abci.
ABCI results newsletters for the state and the Birmingham-Hoover, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery metros are also available at
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As always, if you have news or suggestions, please forward them along to me.
Wendy Wallace Johnson