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:

Third phase of robotics park closing in on 2016 opening
By Bayne Hughes Staff Writer | 
November 7, 2015

Alabama Robotics Technology Park's third phase is on track for an early 2016 opening, officials said this week.

The $8.5 million Integration, Entrepreneurial and Paint/Dispense Training Center at the U.S. 31 park in Tanner is roughly 80 percent complete, said Butch Hornbaker, superintendent for Consolidated Construction Co.

"If Mother Nature cooperates, we should be finished with construction and be ready for final inspection by the middle of December," Hornbaker said.


Advanced Manufacturing Changing the Economic Landscape
Dale D. Buss, Staff Editor,  (Q4 2015)

If American manufacturing is going to reassert worldwide leadership, the move will be based on bits and pixels. "Advanced" equipment, robotics, 3-D printing, cutting-edge processes, and other manifestations of digital technology are going to lead the way - if anything is - to a renaissance of U.S. manufacturing after a half-century of slippage, as domestic fabricators synergize the sort of determinative global edge their U.S.-based counterparts in the software industry enjoy in their own realm. 

Many top U.S. manufacturers already recognize this reality, of course, and have pushed the nation far down the road toward that goal. The federal government also has recently hopped on board with some initiatives to give various types of digital and other advanced manufacturing very real boosts. And with the ever-intensifying interstate derby to land capital investments and jobs in advanced manufacturing, new regions are coming to the fore to join traditional industrial capitals to nurture this unique American advantage. 

"Digital is how the United States wins in manufacturing," says William King, chief technology officer of the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, a new research center on Goose Island in the Chicago River. It was launched in 2014 with $70 million in funding from the federal government and $250 million in commitments from many of the icons of U.S. manufacturing, including General Electric, John Deere, Procter & Gamble, Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing. 
There has been a groundswell of support for advanced-manufacturing initiatives...there's a lot of activity in the Midwest, but there are things going on from coast to coast with different applications. Geographic clustering will emerge more over time. Larry Gigerich, managing director of Ginovus, a site-selection consulting firm based in Indianapolis 


Regions Financial Corp. is funding the creation of a new institute focused on financial management at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The Birmingham-based bank is pledging $2 million to be used over the next few years to create the Regions Institute for Financial Education, which will be located in the new Collat School of Business building when it opens in 2018.

Approximately $1.5 million of the gift from Regions will create two endowed program support funds that will promote financial education outreach and research within UAB and the community, including partnerships with Birmingham City Schools, GEAR UP Alabama and GEAR UP Birmingham.

Toyota seeking partnership with 12 for Life program
By Lisa Singleton-Rickman Staff Writer | 
November 9, 2015

FLORENCE - Florence High School senior Bryeshia Russell liked what she heard this week during a presentation from Toyota Motor Manufacturing representatives.

The team of Toyota representatives presented a partnership opportunity to the school system's 12 For Life program, whereby eligible seniors can apply for a college apprenticeship experience with Itawamba Community College and Toyota.

The scholarship would cover tuition, and the student would work for Toyota 24 hours a week at a rate of $16.50 per hour.


Hoover named among America's 50 best cities
Brent Godwin Commercial Real Estate Reporter Birmingham Business Journal
Nov 6, 2015

Higher than average median household incomes and median home values helped Hoover rank among America's 50 best cities to live.

The rankings, compiled by website 24/7 Wall St., included Hoover at No. 43. It was the only city in the state on the list.
"To determine America's best cities to live in, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the 550 U.S. cities with populations of 65,000 or more as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau. Based on a range of variables, including crime rates, employment growth, access to restaurants and attractions, educational attainment, and housing affordability, 24/7 Wall St. identified America's 50 Best Cities to Live," the study says.


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