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:

Mercedes plans $1.3 billion expansion in Vance
By Patrick Rupinski
Business Editor
September 17, 2015 

VANCE | Mercedes-Benz U.S. International unveiled plans Thursday for the largest industrial expansion in Tuscaloosa County's history - an almost $1.3 billion addition to its automotive assembly complex here.

The German automaker will build a third vehicle body shop covering about 1.4 million square feet to accommodate the demand for Mercedes' sport utility vehicles, said Jason Hoff, MBUSI president and CEO.

The overall project also will include some other smaller expansions in other areas of MBUSI's sprawling auto complex.


First U.S. Airbus Factory Gives Wings to Mobile's Economic Revival
SEPT. 18, 2015

When the first convoy of airplane parts snaked through the streets on a sultry June day, it seemed as if Mardi Gras had come early to the Gulf Coast city of Mobile, Ala.

Drawn by the swinging brass horns of an approaching 10-piece jazz band, onlookers stepped out onto their front porches or drew up lawn chairs in the shade of the gnarled oaks along one of Mobile's main thoroughfares. A dragon-shaped float bearing waving dignitaries and sequined musicians rolled past small houses, modest churches and weathered storefronts.

Trailing close behind was a column of flatbed trucks, laden with sections of fuselage, a pair of wings and the tail components of an A321 jet that had just made the three-week Atlantic crossing from an Airbus factory in Hamburg, Germany. They were on their way to a new Airbus assembly plant - the European aerospace company's first civilian aircraft factory in the United States.


$11.5M investment going into Black Belt for workforce growth
By Matt Russell
Sep 17, 2015

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -A nearly $11.5 million investment is being made into  region of Alabama that includes some of its poorest counties.

The Delta Regional Authority and its partners have pledged the money to the state's Black Belt to improve economic development, workforce training and job creation.

DRA is investing in nine specific projects, using federal, state, and local resources.



Hybrid SUVs, high-tech systems part of latest expansion at Alabama's Mercedes-Benz plant
on September 18, 2015 

Mercedes-Benz is revealing more details about a $1.3 billion, 300-job expansion of its Alabama auto assembly plant.

The project, announced on Thursday, will help the plant produce future generations of SUVs, including hybrid versions, Mercedes parent Daimler AG said today.

The work includes a new 1.3 million-square-foot body shop, an expansion of the SUV assembly shop and improvements elsewhere that will modernize the plant and allow for a wider range of vehicle production.


Alabama's August Unemployment Rate is 6.2%
SEPTEMBER 18, 2015
MONTGOMERY - Governor Robert Bentley on Friday announced that Alabama's preliminary, seasonally adjusted August unemployment rate is 6.2%, unchanged from July's rate of 6.2%, and below August 2014's rate of 6.5%.
"There was very little change this month in our unemployment numbers," Governor Bentley said.  "We focus on the fact that we continue to show year-over-year growth in our wage and salary employment, meaning that the trend of slow and steady progress is continuing. This week, we celebrated the inauguration of operations for Airbus in Mobile and announced an expansion at Mercedes Benz with 300 new jobs. We are working every day to create jobs, and our efforts will continue."
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 23,300, with gains in the education and health services sector (+7,700), the leisure and hospitality sector (+4,700), and the construction sector (+4,000), among others.


How Innovation Depot is filling the tech talent pool from within
The coding bootcamp that launched last week at Birmingham's business incubator Innovation Depot is off to a fast start.

Depot/U received applications from more than 100 people wanting to partake in the 10-week course designed to teach how to code and develop web and mobile software. The first cohort, currently in their second week of the course, sits at 16 students from a variety of ages and backgrounds.

Innovation Depot CEO Devon Laney said the course will help create a sustainable pipeline of tech workers for Birmingham employers.


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