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 unemployment rate ticks down to 6.9 percent in August
Mercedes to hire 200 more workers
Time is winding down to register for the Fourth Annual Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference in Birmingham
Alabama steel plant's new owners pledge more supply
Governor Bentley presents progress of state economic developments
Mobile Works receives $718,000 federal grant to train displaced workers
Innovation Week Birmingham To Launch at Innovation Depot



Alabama unemployment rate ticks down to 6.9 percent in August

on September 19, 2014

Alabama's unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in August, down slightly from the 7 percent rate posted a month ago, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.


The unemployment rate dropped because fewer Alabama residents were looking for work in August than in July. About 6,800 fewer people were employed in August than last month, and about 1,300 fewer were unemployed.


Combined, those changes brought about a slight drop in Alabama's jobless rate. 

The Alabama unemployment rate was lower this time last year. In August 2013, the rate was 6.5 percent. Since then, the numbers show about 15,000 fewer Alabamians are employed.













Mercedes to hire 200 more workers

By Patrick Rupinski

Business Editor
September 18, 2014 

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Vance plans to hire another 200 full-time production employees starting next year, the company said Thursday.


Mercedes said in a statement that it has asked Alabama Industrial Development Training to post ads to recruit the workers who will be brought on as needed to build its four current models and a new model that will be added to the auto assembly plant's production next year.


That fifth model has been described as a sportier SUV.




[Tuscaloosa News]



Time is winding down to register for the Fourth Annual Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference Sept. 25-26 in Birmingham

The conference offers:

  • 2014 Alabama Innovation Awards and award winner activities
  • Engaging keynote speakers discussing the importance of innovation in building a sustainable economy across many environments, including rural, metro, big business, small companies, high-tech and low-tech
  • Two panel discussions, one in which some of Alabama's top CEOs will discuss the importance of innovation in business. Another discussion will feature educators and technology leaders to talk about preparing the state's future entrepreneurs
  • One-on-One Mentoring to connect and network with experts, including entrepreneurs, investment bankers and research university presidents
  • An Innovation Showcase spotlighting Alabama-based startups and technologies
  • The opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues during a reception, breakfast and refreshment breaks
  • Start-Up Competition Finale in which six teams compete for a share of up to $300,000 in funding. The competition is so important to help the state's aspiring entrepreneurs gain access to funding and mentors to take their ideas and concepts to actual high paying jobs for Alabama residents




Alabama steel plant's new owners pledge more supply
 Neal E. Boudette 
Automotive News
September 18, 2014 

CALVERT, Ala. -- North American auto plants soon should see an improved and greater supply of the high-strength steels needed to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel economy, thanks to a change in ownership earlier this year of an advanced steel-finishing plant here, 35 miles north of Mobile, Ala.


Originally built by ThyssenKrupp AG, the four-year-old plant was sold in February for $1.9 billion and is now operated as a joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp.


The new owners are working to expand the plant, known as AM/NS Calvert, and to bring it up to its full output capacity of 5.3 metric tons of steel a year.


With the backing of the new owners, the plant "can really deliver what car companies want going forward," said Andy Harshaw, executive vice president of ArcelorMittal USA. "To me, it's all about next-generation steel. We'll be able to produce that here."




[Automotive News]





Governor Bentley presents progress of state economic developments
By Will Robinson-Smith

POINT CLEAR, Ala. (WALA) - With manufacturing being the top employing industry in the state, it is no surprise that Manufacturing Alabama's fall conference draws a large crowd.


"Manufacturing Alabama represents 19 percent of the gross state product, somewhere around 300,000 employees in the state of Alabama are employed through manufacturing. So having that voice is important. It's important as an industry, it's important as a state," Keith Phillips, director of Alabama Technology Network said.


Industries like ATN spent the better part of Thursday talking with others to learn about new innovations and techniques and to show off some fun gadgets, like a pen-fetching robot.






Mobile Works receives $718,000 federal grant to train displaced workers

on September 18, 2014 

MOBILE, Alabama - Mobile Works Inc. has been awarded $718,000 in funding for job training under the National Emergency Grant. 


The grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, provides training dollars for dislocated workers via on-the-job training or other work-based training programs in the field of aviation and maritime/shipbuilding and manufacturing.


"We're excited about the opportunity to assist job seekers with a customized training opportunity which will lead to employment," said Mobile Works President Sydney Raine.

"Dislocated workers will complete a skills assessment and work with a job coach to ensure that at the end of the formal training process, they will be successful not only in becoming fully employed, but will have the continued support necessary to retain the job," he said.







Innovation Week Birmingham 

To Launch at Innovation Depot



WHAT: Innovation Week Birmingham Kick-off


WHO: Birmingham City Council President Johnathan Austin; Lisa Cooper, with the Mayor's Office of Economic Development; and Innovation Week Birmingham partners Birmingham Business Alliance, TechBirmingham, Alabama Launchpad, Innovation Depot and Birmingham Venture Club


WHEN: 10 a.m., Monday, Sept. 22


WHERE: Innovation Depot, 1500 First Ave. N., Birmingham, AL 35203


BACKGROUND: The media and the Birmingham innovation community are invited to join the founding partners and City of Birmingham officials at a ribbon cutting to officially kick-off the inaugural Innovation Week Birmingham, presented by


Birmingham Innovation Week is an annual celebration of innovation in Birmingham and the inventors, investors, entrepreneurs, supporters and catalysts that drive it. It is an open platform to showcase the numerous organizations and initiatives that support the Birmingham innovation ecosystem and the rich human capital foundation in our region. 


The inaugural 2014 Innovation Week Birmingham will be an exciting rollercoaster of thought leadership, networking, pitching and celebrating. A full roster of Innovation Week Birmingham events, along with registration links, can be found at  




Please feel free to forward along to someone who can use it by clicking on the "forward email" link below. 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
Join Our Mailing List