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:


UA students prepare to pitch business at Alabama Launchpad competition

By Alan Alexander 

January 22, 2015


Three undergraduate students from the University of Alabama are preparing to pitch their business model against other entrepreneurs in the Alabama Launchpad Startups Competition this week.


Chris Bailey, a junior mechanical engineering major; Natalie Anderson, a senior chemical engineering major; andAndrew Talbert, a junior focusing on computer science and mathematics will be presenting the business model behind Conductive Chemistry, a company that is a result of research from two UA professors and two graduate students out of UA's Center for Materials for Information Technology.





Alabama's unemployment rate drops to lowest level in more than 6 years

By The Associated Press

January 23, 2015


Alabama's unemployment rate has dropped to 5.7 percent, which is the lowest rate in more than six years.


Gov. Robert Bentley says December's seasonally adjusted rate is down from 6.0 percent in November, and it is lower than the 6.1 percent recorded a year ago. It is slightly above the national rate of 5.6 percent.




Chinese Ambassador, Cui Tiankai, will be in Birmingham Friday for a business roundtable

By Muriel Bailey
January 23, 2015

This business roundtable gets dignitaries and key executives from the U.S. and Chinese corporations who are interested in growing business relationships in Alabama.

It will serve as a forum for exploring new opportunities and discussing challenges that come along with international business development.  




UAB recruits national expert to lead Informatics Institute

By Alex Alexander

January 22, 2015


Informatics has been pegged as an emerging sector in the field of medicine, partly due to the large amounts of data that health care providers will have to manage as patient records and other key data are increasingly being filed electronically.


That's why the University of Alabama at Birmingham has created the Informatics Institute, and the UAB School of Medicine recently landed a leading expert to be the institute's director.


Dr. James J. Cimino has been named the inaugural director of the Informatics Institute, and he comes to UAB from his role as the chief of the Laboratory for Informatics Development at the National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center and a role as a senior scientist at the National Library of Medicine.





Clued in to Careers

By Kendra Majors

January 17, 2015


Some 800 students took the next step toward their futures on Friday as they learned more about careers available to them in the area.


The Next Step Covington County Career Expo was held at the Kiwanis Community Center, and students from Andalusia, Florala, Opp, Pleasant Home, Red Level and Straughn took advantage of the hands-on, interactive career exploration led by local career professionals. Eighty businesses, teachers, counselors, career coaches, principals and school superintendents participated.


Polly DuBose, career coach for Andalusia City Schools and Opp City Schools, said Friday's event was a huge success for the entire county. "We had vast community support," she said. "All three superintendents were so supportive. All six high schools participated." DuBose said what makes their career expo stand out above the rest is the interactive, engaging tools businesses used to illustrate their fields. Covington County Schools Career Coach Beth Dean said she was happy with the turn out and the booths.


"I really liked that people showed up with interactive booths," she said. "There were some really captivating exhibits. Our businesses out did themselves." "We want our students to have careers and families in Covington County," Dubose said. Lurleen B. Wallace Community College brought all of its career technical programs to the expo. Additionally, David Craft of the Aviation School, which is part of Enterprise State Community College, brought his local students to the fair to help interact with local students.


"Students were able to connect with students from their own schools," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if my program doesn't grow as a result of this." Craft said it's good to see more interested in aviation. "That will allow us to bring in more aviation jobs to the area," he said. "It's good for the whole community."


There were 12 stations from which students were able to get an idea of what they may want to study. Stations ranged from science and technology to real world to finance, marketing, sales and service, health science, human services, hospitality, community, education, business administration, information tech, architecture and construction, agriculture, public safety, manufacturing and transportation, military and more.


Article taken from The Andalusia Star-News 



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