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 and Peru to sign trade memorandum
WalletHub: Alabama, Tennessee Cities Among Best for STEM
Volunteer and invest in the next generation of Alabama's workforce: guest opinion
Apprenticeships Could Be Gateway to Middle Class



Alabama and Peru to sign trade memorandum
Ryan Phillips Digital Producer-Birmingham Business Journal
Jan. 16, 2015

Gov. Robert Bentley and Peru's ambassador to the United States are scheduled to sign a memorandum aimed at building ties and cooperation between Alabama and Peru, according to a report from the Associated Press.


The Alabama Department of Commerce made the announcement that Bentley and Ambassador Harold Forysth will meet Friday morning in Montgomery to sign the memorandum of understanding, the report said.


 The memorandum will call for collaboration on trade, investment, agriculture, education and cultural affairs.




WalletHub: Alabama, Tennessee Cities Among Best for STEM Jobs

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Huntsville-area educators focus a lot on promoting STEM - science, technology, entineering and math.


new report from suggests they're smart to do so. It also pinpoints several cities in Alabama and Tennessee which are among the best for STEM workers.


First, a couple of quick facts about STEM occupations. According to the Department of Commerce,

 STEM professions will expand 1.7 times faster than non-STEM occupations through 2018.







By David Zaslawsky 

January 2015 


Montgomery officials are recruiting a company that would initially bring 500 jobs. About 10 percent of those jobs require a two-year postsecondary education; none require a four-year degree; and the remainder are for high school graduates or those with a GED.


After officials, including Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Mark Heinrich, chancellor of the Alabama Community College System, exchanged small talk about the company officials' flight to Montgomery, the discussion turned serious. 


Strange said the company wanted to know about the school district's dropout rate. That issue is being addressed by Montgomery Public Schools, the Alabama State Department of Education and its 2020 plan to increase graduation rates and prepare students for postsecondary education or the workforce. Other education-related organizations are also heavily involved in the process.


For years, businesses and industries have been clamoring for a more skilled workforce and responses to those requests have been "disjointed and sometimes just downright dysfunctional," said Leslie Sanders, 2014 chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.




[Montgomery Business Journal]


Volunteer and invest in the next generation of Alabama's workforce: guest opinion

By Fred McCallum and Sid McAnnally

January 16, 2015


Alabama has a great track record when it comes to industrial recruitment.


But even as we celebrate recent announcements across the state, one question hangs over our heads: Will Alabamians be in a position to fill these new-economy jobs that we've worked so hard to recruit or grow?


According to the Lumina Foundation and the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce, by the year 2018, more than half of all jobs in Alabama will require at least a two-year degree. Today, only a third of all Alabama working-age adults (ages 25-64) would qualify.


Whether a student's path is a two-year degree or through a four-year university, paying for college can be an obstacle. Even worse, many qualified students who should be enrolling leave free money on the table.






Apprenticeships Could Be Gateway to Middle Class

Hope Johnson and David Whelan divide their weeks between courses at Central Piedmont Community College and the factory floor at Siemens USA in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they're enrolled in high-tech, European-style apprenticeships manufacturing gas and steam turbines for power plants.


Johnson, 20, and Whelan, 18, are gaining more than just experience. Once they've completed their apprenticeships, they'll each have an associates degree in mechatronics - paid for by Siemens - and a full-time job at Siemens making about $55,000 a year - well above theaverage salary for similarly educated young adults.


The two frequently visit their old high school, Olympic, to talk about the program and to debunk common misconceptions about careers in manufacturing.


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Val Walton
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