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Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.
Alabama innovation conference aims at boosting Alabama economic development
Published: Friday, September 16, 2011, 9:00 AM
Alabama's first-ever statewide conference for innovation and entrepreneurship is slated for Sept. 23, and organizers believe the timing is ripe to help boost economic development in the emerging industries.
The Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference is slated for the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover next Friday. The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and the Alabama Research Alliance are presenting the conference.
Angela Wier, vice president at EDPA, said the conference aims to build on momentum and interest in technology, research and development generated by the activity at the state's universities and research centers as well as in economic development plans such as Blueprint Birmingham and the statewide Accelerate Alabama now in the formative stages.
"This renewal component in Accelerate Alabama really presents opportunities for industry and businesses in Alabama to collaborate with our universities and research centers in new ways," Wier said.
The conference brings together people from those worlds as well as the economic development community, venture capitalists and others that make up that "ecosystem," as Wier put it.
The conference will include addresses from Gov. Robert Bentley; the head of the Alabama Development Office, Greg Canfield; EDPA President Bill Taylor; and Jim Byard, director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
Mac Portera, chancellor of the University of Alabama System, will talk in-depth about the renewal component of Accelerate Alabama, which is being developed by the Alabama Economic Development Alliance.
Alabama unemployment rate drops in August; down to 9.9 percent
Published: Friday, September 16, 2011, 8:31 AM Updated: Friday, September 16, 2011, 12:10 PM
MONTGOMERY, Alabama - Alabama's unemployment rate dipped to 9.9 percent in August, down from 10.0 percent in July.
State Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said August's rate represents 213,412 unemployed Alabamians, down 2,219 from July.
Alabama's August rate was higher than the 9.1 percent the state recorded a year ago. The state's rate was also higher than the nation's 9.1 percent figure for August.
Surtees said that 1.95 million Alabamians were working in August, which is an increase of more than 28,000 from January. At the same time, Alabama has had more people entering the job market and looking for work. In August, the state's free online jobs database had more than 14,000 new job-seeker resumes posted, which was a record for the year, Surtees said.
"We continue to see minor fluctuations in our unemployment rate, but I think the better indicator of our job market is the fact that we are consistently seeing our employment numbers rise, which is definitely a good sign," Surtees said.
He said the additional job hunters are an indication "that people are gaining confidence in the job market."
Surtees said counties with the lowest unemployment were Shelby at 6.8 percent, Coffee at 7.4 percent, and Madison at 8.1 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox at 22.3 percent, Perry at 18.9 percent, and Dallas at 18.7 percent
Sikorsky, with Alabama operations, to cut global workforce by about 450
Published: Thursday, September 15, 2011, 4:19 PM Updated: Thursday, September 15, 2011, 4:26 PM
HARTFORD, Connecticut - Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. today announced that it is trimming its worldwide workforce of 18,000 by about 540 jobs to remain competitive in the helicopter design, manufacturing and service industry.
Paul Jackson, the company's director of communications, called the move to cut about 3 percent of the workforce "a difficult decision." The company is not disclosing a breakdown of where the job cuts will be.
Sikorsky is headquartered in Stratford and has about 9,000 employees in Connecticut.
Jackson said the company does not yet know how many layoffs will be necessary until it is clear how many of the eligible unionized workers in Connecticut accept a voluntary separation package.
He said Sikorsky, whose parent company is the Hartford-based United Technologies Corp., has experienced strong growth while other manufacturers have had to downsize, move or close. Still, he said, the company needs to reduce its workforce as it goes forward.
"Our sales have increased nearly 40 percent since 2007, and we've been able to expand our workforce by nearly 59 percent since then. But those rates aren't sustainable," Jackson said. "We are entering a new world, with moderating growth in line with U.S. and international economies and their impact on our commercial and military customers."
Published: Thursday, September 15, 2011, 2:00 PM Updated: Thursday, September 15, 2011, 3:03 PM
Tom Hill Wins Award for Excellence in Local Economic Development
Tom Hill of the Limestone County Economic Development Association was awarded the North Alabama Industrial Development Association (NAIDA) President's Award for excellence in local economic development Tuesday, September 13, 2011.
The award was presented by Tate Godfrey, President/CEO of NAIDA at their Annual Industrial Development Conference held at The Westin in Huntsville, Alabama.
The North Alabama Industrial Development Association developed the President's Award for excellence in local economic development. This award recognizes a local economic development professional in North Alabama who exemplifies the highest standards of the profession.
Godfrey stated "Tom Hill is very deserving of this recognition. He is creative and resourceful and does a great job of promoting Limestone County."
The NAIDA President's award is presented to an individual who: is dedicated to their community; is highly supportive of regional economic development; continuously exhibits high professional standards; is consistent and steadfast in their efforts and always displays creativity and teamwork.
"Each community in North Alabama is blessed with competent, well-trained and experienced economic development professionals. This award, presented by the staff of NAIDA, is intended to recognize that professional who has gone the extra mile during the past year. The award is intended to be a small sign of appreciation for a job well done," Godfrey said.
NAIDA is a sixty year old regional economic development organization whose mission is to recruit new jobs and corporate investment to the 13 county, North Alabama region. Based in Decatur, they are funded by 22 electric distributors of TVA power, TVA and 29 corporate partners.
Mayor Bill Jordan Honored with Michael D. Roberts North Alabama Excellence Award
Mayor Bill Jordan of Fort Payne was awarded the Michael D. Roberts North Alabama Excellence Award on Tuesday, September 13, 2011. The award was presented by the North Alabama Industrial Development Association at their annual conference in Huntsville. The award is symbolized by an original blown glass "Flame of Excellence" by artist Hans Godo Frabel of the Frabel Studio in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mayor Jordan was chosen for his contributions to economic development in Fort Payne, DeKalb County and North Alabama. Jimmy Durham, Executive Director, of the DeKalb Economic Development Authority presented the award. Durham stated, "Mayor Jordan has been a strong advocate for economic development not only for Fort Payne but for DeKalb County and North Alabama as a whole. He has worked diligently in all areas of economic development including industry and retail recruitment, business retention, agriculture and tourism."
The award which he received, The Michael D. Roberts North Alabama Excellence Award was created in 2003 to publicly recognize special groups, people, projects or activities that have positively impacted the North Alabama region both economically and socially over the past year. The first award was presented to both Congressman Bud Cramer and Congressman Robert Aderholt for their contributions and support of Economic Development in North Alabama.
Michael D. Roberts served as the assistant director of NAIDA from 1988 until 1994 and as the executive director from 1995 until 2003. Mr. Roberts lost a year long battle with cancer on August 21, 2003. Due to Mr. Roberts' dedication to the area and his zeal in assisting in the creation of jobs for the people of North Alabama, the NAIDA Board of Directors deemed it appropriate to memorialize him in some way.
Therefore, the NAIDA Board of Directors unanimously voted in October, 2003 to formally rename the North Alabama Excellence Award to the Michael D. Roberts
North Alabama Excellence Award.
Alabama Small Business Development Center Network presents "Meet the Franchisors"
Wednesday, October 12
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To pre-register email Jbird@FranNet.com
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Wendy Wallace Johnson