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Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner


In this issue:
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley forms College and Career Ready Task Force
Northern Beltline, tax credits, guns at work top BBA agenda for 2013
General Dynamics notifies 139 Anniston workers of layoffs
Nobel Prize winner to discuss business strategy at Tuskegee University
Alabamas's long-time Kenworth dealer opens full-serve facility in Thomasville



Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley forms College and Career Ready Task Force (video)
By Marie Leech | mleech@al.com 
on January 15, 2013

COLUMBIANA, Alabama - Minutes after touring career technical education classes at Shelby County's School of Technology this morning, Gov. Robert Bentley signed an executive order creating a task force designed to better prepare students for life outside of high school. 

The Governor's College and Career Ready Task Force will bring together members of K-12 education, two-year and four-year colleges, with the business and industry community in an effort to strengthen the preparation of students for the workforce.


"When I got to recruit businesses to Alabama, they always ask 'do you have skilled workers in Alabama?'" Bentley told a crowd of educators, business leaders, lawmakers and students at the School of Technology. What's happening at the School of Technology -- where students can take classes ranging from welding to firefighting to business and finance -- needs to be replicated across the state, he said.


Bentley said the task force is not a bureaucracy.









Northern Beltline, tax credits, guns at work top BBA agenda for 2013
By Stan Diel | sdiel@al.com 
on January 15, 2013 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - In the coming year theBirmingham Business Alliance will support tax credits for preservation of historic buildings, work on the Northern Beltline and research at UAB, and it will oppose any "overreaching" environmental regulation and any legislation that would allow workers to carry guns on company property without employers' approval.

The organization, which represents Birmingham-area businesses and is an advocate of economic development, today laid out its legislative agenda for 2013. Its "action" agenda includes six items at the federal level and eight at the state level. Dozens more items appear on its "monitor" agenda.


Myla Calhoun Choy, senior vice president of public policy, said the agendas will serve as a roadmap, marking how the BBA will exercise its influence to help shape legislation and public policy.


"We are confident that, with regional cooperation, the items outlined in the agendas can move the Birmingham region toward continued economic prosperity," she said in a prepared statement.









General Dynamics notifies 139 Anniston workers of layoffs

by Patrick McCreless

Jan 15, 2013

Defense contractor General Dynamics Land Systems will employ fewer workers after April due to declining military orders for combat vehicles.

General Dynamics, located at the Anniston Army Depot, told 139 of its approximately 400 employees there Monday that they would be laid off in March and April. General Dynamics builds and repairs combat vehicles.

Peter Keating, spokesman for General Dynamics Land Systems, said the layoffs were necessary due to a lack of work at the facility.

"The biggest part of that is the work producing the Stryker with the double-V hull," Keating said. "The Army has said it is interested in buying more but they have not come to a decision yet."




Nobel Prize winner to discuss business strategy at Tuskegee University Yunus won Nobel Peace Prize for microcredit model

Written by Brad Harper

Jan. 15, 2013

A Bangladeshi banker and economist who won the Nobel Peace Prize for triggering economic and social growth overseas now has turned his attention to Macon County and hopes his ideas translate to a similar turnaround in the Black Belt.


Muhammud Yunus created the microcredit model, which gives small loans to entrepreneurs who wouldn't qualify for traditional bank loans. Paired with a strategy of investing in businesses that fit the community's needs, the approach helped resuscitate some of the most depressed areas overseas and earned Yunus the nickname "banker to the poor."


He'll speak Friday at an Alabama Social Business Forum at Tuskegee University, a gathering of local and state leaders meant to hammer out ideas for how to implement the strategy here.


"He was really touched when he saw these broken houses and the devastated area, and he's a pretty committed person," said Dr. Mohammad Bhuiyan, the university's vice president of Innovation and Sustainable Development.





[Montgomery Advertiser]




Alabamas's long-time Kenworth dealer opens full-serve facility in Thomasville


Thomasville, AL -- Truckworx Kenworth, Alabama's long-time Kenworth Truck dealer, is proud to announce they will soon open a new dealership in Thomasville, Alabama.  The new facility will offer local businesses and truck drivers passing through access to a full-service dealership conveniently located in Clarke County.


The facility will be located in Joe Davis Industrial Park and will offer a fully-stocked parts department with a state-of-the-art service facility equipped with alignment equipment, eight service bays, an express lube, and the only flywheel resurfacing machine within a 60 mile radius.  Truckworx Kenworth will have the capability to work on all makes and models of diesel engine trucks and will have Caterpillar, Cummins, and Paccar MX Certified technicians on staff.


Thomasville Mayor Sheldon A. Day states, "There are numerous new and existing timber and steel related industries located in the Thomasville region that are very truck-transportation intensive. Truckworx Kenworth will offer quality service to these industries without having to leave the region. We are excited to have them become a part of the Thomasville family of companies serving Southwest Alabama!" Debra Mathews, Director of the Clarke County Economic Development Partnership, agrees, "This project is a perfect fit for our region and will offer needed services to the many trucking intensive industries located in our region."


"We're pleased and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to offer quality trucks, parts, and service to such a unique and exciting town," said Bob Mitchell, Truckworx Kenworth President.  Once up and running, the dealership is expected to generate total sales of $10 million annually. The company also expects to create 15 jobs in Thomasville including certified diesel technicians and parts and service sales staff.


Truckworx Kenworth was founded 35 years ago in Birmingham, Alabama, by B.B. and Bob Mitchell; Bob Mitchell is still President today. Since 2007, the company has increased its employee base by more than 70%, currently employing more than 260 people.








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