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Greetings!

 

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 Launchpad contest names finalists
Alabama unemployment rate stays high in March, but for a good reason
Accelerate Alabama speeding growth in key economic sectors, Business Facilities says
Alabama Opens Its Wallet to Lure Airbus Factory
Alabama lawmakers meet astronauts and talk space on 'NASA Day' in Montgomery
5 questions with Mobile Area Chamber workforce development director Bridget Wilson
Birmingham region gains more than 3,800 new jobs, $843M in investment in 2012

 


 

 

 

Alabama Launchpad contest names finalists
By Stan Diel | sdiel@al.com 
on April 18, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama's start-up business competition has narrowed the field of competitors in the current round to five teams that will compete in a finale on May 3, the EDPA announced.

 

The finalists in the Alabama Launchpad contest came out on top in a "proof of commercial relevance" competition in which they demonstrated market viability, said Greg Sheek, program director. Each budding business underwent a market assessment paid for by Alabama Launchpad, he said. Two start-ups in a field of seven were eliminated in the round.

 

The start-ups are competing for up to $100,000 in funding in the contest which was first held as a pilot project seven years ago.

 

The current round's finale will be held May 3 at Evonik Corp., and the winners will be announced that afternoon.

 

more...

[al.com]

 


 


 

 


 

Alabama unemployment rate stays high in March, but for a good reason
By Alex Walsh | awalsh@al.com 
on April 19, 2013
 

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Alabama's unemployment rate was stuck at 7.2 percent in March, right where it was in both one month ago in February 2013 and a year ago in March 2012.

 

The number of unemployed persons reported for March was ever so slightly higher than in February, up by just 281 individuals (0.2 percent). Meanwhile, the number of employed persons reported grew by more than 6,000. 

 

Because both employment and unemployment increased, the result is that Alabama's labor force is larger this month than it was a month ago. This means more Alabamians are actively seeking work, a good sign for the state's economy.

 

On the jobs side, revised figures show that Alabama's private sector failed to grow between March 2012 and February 2013. But private businesses did expand payrolls in March 2013, the latest figures show, adding more than 12,000 jobs, a 0.8 percent increase.


more...

[al.com]

 

 


 


 


 

 


 

 

Accelerate Alabama speeding growth in key economic sectors, Business Facilities says
April 18, 2013

 

MONTGOMERY, Alabama - Accelerate Alabama, the state's strategic economic development growth plan, is positioning the state to land more jobs in coveted sectors such as automotive and aerospace, according to a report in Business Facilities magazine.

 

"Alabama is moving full speed ahead with a dynamic growth strategy that is rapidly transforming the state into an economic powerhouse," the publication says in its March/April 2013 issue.  "Alabama is driving to the head of the class in jobs-rich sectors including automotive and aerospace."

 

Governor Robert Bentley told Business Facilities that he established the Alabama Economic Development Alliance to administer the Accelerate Alabama plan, which concentrates on 11 major industries including auto, aerospace, bioscience and chemicals.

 

"If you're not organized, you're not going to meet your goals quickly," Bentley told Business Facilities.

 

more....

 

[madeinalabama.com]


 


 


 


 

 


 

Alabama Opens Its Wallet to Lure Airbus Factory
By Elizabeth Dwoskin
April 18, 2013

In June 2011, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley traveled to the Paris Air Show, Europe's largest aerospace industry gathering, in hopes of luring foreign investment to his state. Of the dozen meetings he lined up, the most important was with Tom Enders, then chief executive officer of the giant European aircraft maker Airbus. 

 

The two had never met, but they were familiar with each other. Six months earlier Airbus's parent company, EADS (EAD), had lost a bid for a $35 billion contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to build military tankers at the Brookley Aeroplex, an 1,800-acre site in Alabama's port city of Mobile. Airbus had spent years lobbying the Pentagon and was narrowly beaten by its rival Boeing (BA).

 

In Paris, Enders told the Republican governor that he was still eager to build Airbus's first U.S. factory, possibly in Alabama. So began a secret, year-long negotiation that culminated in this month's groundbreaking for Airbus's Brookley Aeroplex plant, which will assemble the company's best-selling jetliner, the A320. The extensive back and forth, as recounted by Alabama officials and a top Airbus executive, shows how eager the company was to gain a foothold in the U.S. and how much Alabama was willing to promise to bring an estimated $600 million in investment and 4,000 jobs to the state.

 

more....

 

[Bloomberg Businessweek]

 


 

 


 


 

 


 

Alabama lawmakers meet astronauts and talk space on 'NASA Day' in Montgomery
By Lee Roop | lroop@al.com 
on April 18, 2013

MONTGOMERY, Alabama - Alabama lawmakers and state officials gathered around two NASA astronauts like fans around a top football coach Thursday in Montgomery as Huntsville's Marshall Space Flight Center brought "NASA Day" to the state capital.

 

Speaking at the annual luncheon that capped a day of greeting, exhibits and maybe a little politics, Marshall Director Patrick Scheuermann thanked the state for help to NASA that began when the Legislature funded the young University of Alabama in Huntsville in the 1960s to keep NASA engineers current in their training. 

 

From those beginnings, Scheuermann said NASA has grown to employ 6,000 people in Alabama with an annual economic impact of $2 billion, including $37.5 million in taxes and $817 million in contracts with state companies. Nearly a quarter of those contracts went to small businesses, Scheuermann said


 

more...

 

[al.com]


 


 


 

 


 

5 questions with Mobile Area Chamber workforce development director Bridget Wilson
By Kelli Dugan | kdugan@al.com 
on April 18, 2013

MOBILE, Alabama - With several thousand direct and indirect Airbus-related jobsexpected to flood the Mobile market before 2020 - along with those tied to expansions of existing local companies - workforce development has become a top priority.

 

It should come as no surprise, then, that the newest face at the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce will dedicate her time and energy almost exclusively to bridging any gaps in the area's workforce initiatives.

 

Bridget McDonald Wilson, the chamber's new director of workforce development, is already leading the planning, implementation and evaluation of several critical programs, including the Bay Area Healthcare Coalition's Health Occupations Career Fairand Summer Scrubs program as well as serving as the chamber's liaison to theSouthwest Alabama Workforce Development Council.

 

Wilson, a Bay Minette native and Spanish Fort resident, served previously as the safety and strategic planning coordinator at North Baldwin Utilities and as the executive director for the North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce. She recently shared with AL.com her priorities in her new role and her impressions of Mobile's "dedicated, intelligent and skilled workforce."



more...


 


 

 


 

Birmingham region gains more than
3,800 new jobs, $843M in investment in 2012


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - April 19, 2013 - The Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) announced today that in 2012 the Birmingham seven-county region gained 3,831 jobs in new and expanding industries, or 18 percent of the state's job growth in 2012. Capital investment in 2012 totaled $843.4 million, 16 percent of the investment announced in Alabama. The BBA made the announcement Friday morning at the second annual Blueprint Birmingham Summit, held at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center.
"Work on Blueprint Birmingham has kept job creation and capital investment a top priority," said Fred McCallum, 2013 BBA chairman and president of AT&T Alabama. "Through a number of accomplishments - both big and small - our community is feeling the effects from the work of hundreds of public and private sector leaders, pulling together to help us prosper."
Also, the BBA presented the 2013 Regional Economic Growth Report, which highlights certain achievements in the community and new and expanding industry in the region in 2012.
The summit also highlighted some achievements in economic development, workforce development, community and regional development and public and private leadership. Some of those achievements included:
 70 companies announced 3,831 jobs and $843 million in capital investment in the region's primary business sectors in 2012.
 Collaboration among workforce development officials and Leadership Councils, populated with industry leaders from around the region, to help close workforce gaps.
 The launch of five new technology startups through the commercialization partnership between the BBA and UAB known as i2i.
 An aggressive push to market the Birmingham region through inbound and outbound media marketing trips, a new BBA website
with demographic searching capabilities for site selectors, the new Alliance magazine, and weekly e-newsletters.
 The BBA's Business Retention and Expansion Program, which made 136 company visits during 2012, identifying needs and growth plans.
 A database of "best practices" created and shared among 23 regional public school superintendents.
 Nearly $2 million from the Alabama Innovation Fund awarded to three research initiatives at UAB.
 Two Birmingham companies, coached through the BBA's Spark program, win $125,000 in seed funding. The BBA's Spark program matches mentors in the local business community with participants in the Alabama Launchpad statewide business competition.
 Connecting Alabama's completion of the first phase of mapping broadband access in the state. Next step is to help connect broadband to industrial parks throughout Alabama.
 The launch of seven career academies in Birmingham area high schools and of Parent University in Birmingham City Schools, implemented to increase parental involvement.
 The unveiling of the Red Rock Ridge & Valley Trail system master plan, which includes more than 200 miles of green space and 600 miles of street-based bicycle and pedestrian pathways in the region.
"These achievements and many others will serve as the foundation of our work moving forward," said McCallum. "It is vital to our community's prosperity that we recognize our most immediate needs and to respond to those needs through collaboration. The Blueprint plan has proven that when we respond as one, great things can happen for Birmingham."

Birmingham Business Alliance is a dynamic advocate, unifying voice and constant catalyst for economic development and business prosperity for the Birmingham region. For more information about the BBA visit its website at
www.birminghambusinessalliance.com. 

 


 




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If you have news or suggestions, please forward them along to me.
 
Enjoy the day, 

Val Walton
   



Please feel free to forward along to someone who can use it by clicking on the "I'd like to forward this to a contact" link below the green bar. Note also, that you can now make changes to your e-mail address and contact information through the link at the bottom.    
 
If you have news or suggestions, please forward them along to me.
 
Enjoy the day, 

Val Walton
   
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