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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:
Railcar maker to sublease Barton plant, hire 200 by end of yea
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley visits pre-k classrooms, touts expansion plan
Auburn council OKs incentives for Project Wales
Brundidge focuses on business
Alabama Power plays host for storm recovery best practices meeting in Birmingham
It Takes a B.A. to Find a Job as a File Clerk





Railcar maker to sublease Barton plant, hire 200 by end of year
FreightCar America hopes to employ 400 by end of 2014
By Bernie Delinski
TheTimes Daily
2/19/13 |

One of the largest railcar producers in the world is subleasing a portion of Navistar Corp.'s Barton plant with plans to build up to 7,000 cars annually.


FreightCar America officials said today they hope to begin production in July and have 200 workers on site by the end of the year. They expect to employ 400 people at the plant by the end of 2014, said Terry Heidkamp, senior vice president of operations for FreightCar.


"This is a win for all involved, FreightCar America, Navistar and the community," Heidkamp said. "It also is a win for FreightCar to be able to produce these cars in a competitive way."


As part of the arrangement that allows FreightCar to use two of the plant's four assembly lines, the two companies are forming a partnership. Navistar will assist in maintenance and production of the railcars.




[Times Daily]





















Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley visits pre-k classrooms, touts expansion plan
By Marie Leech | mleech@al.com 
on February 19, 2013 

CLANTON, Alabama - Gov. Robert Bentley visited several pre-kindergarten classrooms at Clanton Elementary School  this morning as part of a tour touting the importance of pre-k and garnering support for additional funds to expand the program.

Bentley is asking the Legislature for an additional $12.5 million for pre-k, which would increase the budget by 65 percent to $31.6 million. Alabama is known for having one of the best pre-k programs in the nation, but ranks at the bottom for access to it. Currently, only 3,900 - or 6 percent -- of 4-year-olds are enrolled in the voluntary pre-k program.


"Statistics show these students tend to graduate from high school and have fewer disciplinary problems if they attend pre-k," Bentley said.


If additional funding is granted, 2,200 more 4-year-olds would have access to the voluntary pre-k program.







Auburn council OKs incentives for Project Wales

Manufacturer represents capital investment of $106.4 million

Kristen Oliver | Opelika-Auburn News

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The Auburn City Council on Tuesday approved a package of incentives to acquire a manufacturer, called Project Wales, in Auburn Technology Park West. The project represents a capital investment of $106.4 million.


The approval concurs with the use of revolving loan funds and industrial board resources. The manufacturer would bring in roughly 436 jobs over the next five years.


The council also voted to approve annual renewals of ad valorem property taxes. The list of taxes included 5 mills on city taxes for general purposes, 5 mills on city taxes for capital projects debt repayment, 11 mills on school taxes for educational purposes and 5 mills on schools taxes for educational purposes with special additional school tax fund. The purpose of the renewal is to authorize Oline Price, Lee County revenue commissioner, to assess existing property taxes for the year.








Brundidge focuses on business
By Jaine Treadwell
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Pike County Economic Development Corporation stands ready, willing and able to assist with the recruitment of new businesses and industries and the retention of existing businesses and industries.

That's the message Marsha Gaylard, Corporation president, conveyed to the Brundidge City Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday.


Gaylard told the mayor and council members that creating jobs and wealth for the Pike County area is the aim and the goal for the Pike County Economic Corporation.


"Our recruiting efforts are based on the assets we have in Pike County," Gaylard said and listed aviation, food, plastics, information technology and data management, wood products and retail as the primary sectors for attracting new businesses and industries.




[Troy Messenger]
















Alabama Power plays host for storm recovery best practices meeting in Birmingham
By Alex Walsh | awalsh@al.com 
on February 19, 2013 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Storm recovery experts from dozens of electric utilities were in Birmingham this week to establish best practices for natural disaster response. 

Danny Glover, vice president of distribution for Alabama Power and a co-chair for this week's event, said the meeting's attendees -- hailing from states like Hawaii, California, Illinois and Georgia -- focused on four areas of response: logistics, operations, execution, and communication.

The communication conversation specifically drew a great deal of interest, Glover said, including many questions about social media.

"It's hot on everyone's mind," Glover said of utilities' perspectives on tools like Twitter and Facebook. 


















It Takes a B.A. to Find a Job as a File Clerk
Published: February 19, 2013

ATLANTA -The college degree is becoming the new high school diploma: the new minimum requirement, albeit an expensive one, for getting even the lowest-level job.


Consider the 45-person law firm of Busch, Slipakoff & Schuh here in Atlanta, a place that has seen tremendous growth in the college-educated population. Like other employers across the country, the firm hires only people with a bachelor's degree, even for jobs that do not require college-level skills.

This prerequisite applies to everyone, including the receptionist, paralegals, administrative assistants and file clerks. Even the office "runner" - the in-house courier who, for $10 an hour, ferries documents back and forth between the courthouse and the office - went to a four-year school.


"College graduates are just more career-oriented," said Adam Slipakoff, the firm's managing partner. "Going to college means they are making a real commitment to their futures. They're not just looking for a paycheck."

 Economists have referred to this phenomenon as "degree inflation," and it has been steadily infiltrating America's job market.




[New York Times]














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