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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:
Industry looks to local schools
Tuscaloosa's Bidsters, Child Safety Pass join five other companies in the Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Finale
ThyssenKrupp expands to Woodstock; coil processing center to eventually employ about 45
Wise 'optimistic' on deal
Alabama catfish capital netting new industries in Hale Co.
Deadline ends Friday for federal grant workshop in Mobile for small businesses
Innovation Depot getting international attention
College and Career Center to add robotics and automated manufacturing program


Industry looks to local schools

By Josh Bergeron

March 19, 2014

Many of Dallas County's major manufacturing businesses are looking for their next employees in local high schools.


With the school year drawing to a close, a group of human resource managers - from International Paper, Bush Hog and other local companies - is nearing the end of its efforts to teach students skills that can directly translate to the manufacturing industry.


Economic development director Wayne Vardaman helped jump-start the group to address unfilled local industry positions.


"There are industries in our area that are wanting to hire, but the problem is that they need people who have the right skills," Vardaman said.






Tuscaloosa's Bidsters, Child Safety Pass join five other companies in the Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Competition Finale

Staff Report

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 

Two startup companies from Tuscaloosa will join five other young companies from Birmingham and Madison in vying for a share of more than $100,000 in prize money Friday in the Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Competition Finale.


Representatives of the companies will make their pitch for financial backing starting at 9 a.m. The event, which is free and open to the public will be at the Evonik Corp., 750 Lakeshore Parkway, off Lakeshore Drive, in Birmingham, but the winners will be announced in the evening. The competition will be held at Evonik Corp., 750 Lakeshore Parkway, Birmingham.


The Tuscaloosa companies are both affiliated with the University of Alabama. They are Bidsters LLC, an online interactive database for personnel to efficiently connect, communicate and collaborate on project bids and Child Safety Pass, a software system to manage student transportation safety.


[Tuscaloosa News]








ThyssenKrupp expands to Woodstock; coil processing center to eventually employ about 45

By Patrick Rupinski

Business Editor

Mar 20, 2014


ThyssenKrupp Materials NA Inc. has opened its $15 million, 100,000-square-foot metal coil processing and distribution service center in Woodstock.


The facility employs 20 people and when it reaches full capacity, it will have about 45 employees, the company said.


The new facility processes coil rolls of carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminum by cutting the coils to customer specifications and then shipping the finished product to manufacturing customers across the Southern United States.

ThyssenKrupp Steel Services and Ken-Mac Metals, both divisions of Thyssen-Krupp Materials, occupy the facility, which has two cut-to-length lines and one 72-inch wide slitter to process material.




Wise 'optimistic' on deal

By Bernie Delinski Staff Writer 

 March 19, 2014


MUSCLE SHOALS - When Wes Oberholzer strolls through the mill at Wise Alloys, workers toss a common question his way.


The executive vice president and chief operating officer said employees ask if there is an update on a possible partnership with Toyota Tsusho Corp.


"That's No. 1 that's on everybody's mind as I'm walking in the mill talking with people," he said.




Alabama catfish capital netting new industries in Hale Co.
March 20, 2014
Just southwest of Jefferson County and about an hour and thirty minutes from Birmingham, Hale County is ripe with catfish pounds, pastures of cattle and timber.

From stretches of land, which County leaders say can and is ready  to accommodate new industries,   there's a push to bring more jobs of beyond the agriculture filed to Hale. Currently more than 15, 300 people reside in the rural county where Greensboro is the county seat.

In this What's Working  online video report,  Alabama's 13 Bettina Boateng , Producer Danielle Deavours and Photojournalist Ben Bryson take  you to Hale County to  show you how officials and locals are working together to attract more jobs and money to the county.




Deadline ends Friday for federal grant workshop in Mobile for small businesses


Alabama Launchpad and the University of South Alabama are offering a workshop March 28 in Mobile to help small high-tech companies secure funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. 


Those programs make more than $2 billion a year available to promising research and development companies.


Got a small company in need of funding or know of a company?


The Alabama SBIR/STTR Assistance Program's Proposal Preparation Workshop will offer information to help companies get the tools needed to write competitive proposals for high-tech, innovative projects.


The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 28, in the 3rd Floor Board Room at the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.

Cost: $50 ($100 for out-of-state attendees)

Deadline for registration is Friday, March, 21.   Register here



Contact Austen Parrish at aparrish@edpa.org or 205-943-4727 or Mark Weaver at markweaver@southalabama.edu or 251-460-6702.


More information about the Alabama SBIR/STTR Assistance Program, a project of the Economic Development Partnership, is available on the Alabama Launchpad website.  



 Innovation Depot getting international attention

By Honora Gathings 

 Mar 19, 2014 

BIRMINGHAM - AL -Recently, no major job announcements have come to the Birmingham area. But there's a game changer- the Innovation Depot. The business incubator is getting the world's attention. Wednesday, an Australian trade commissioner had to see it for herself.

Until Wednesday, all of Australia's Minister-Counsellor and Senior Trade Commissioner Kelly Ralston's information about Birmingham came from magazines.


"We were getting the sense a lot of interesting things were happening. We didn't know what. We are glad to be here to explore that further," said Minister-Counseller Ralston.






College and Career Center to add robotics and automated manufacturing program


March 19, 204


COLUMBIANA - Students interested in pursuing a career in robotics and automated manufacturing will soon have that opportunity in Shelby County.


The school district is utilizing a $500,000 grant to implement a Robotics and Automated Manufacturing program, known as R.A.M., at the College and Career Center in Columbiana.


Rene' Day, coordinator for career and technical education, college and career planning, and community partnerships, said the money for the grant was made possible thanks to a state bond issue passed by the Alabama Legislature.


"We wrote an Innovative Program Grant to fund this program. The grant will purchase all equipment needed, including an automated manufacturing line like students would encounter in industry," Day said. "These programs can be extremely expensive so we are very grateful that the Alabama Legislature saw Career and Technical education's important role in workforce development and approved a $50 million bond issue last year." said Day.



[Shelby County Reporter]

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