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:

Community college chancellor addresses local business leaders

The chancellor of Alabama's Community College system assured local business leaders during the 2016 Wiregrass Economic Development Investors' Meeting on Tuesday that the state's post-secondary schools are working hard to turn out skilled, valuable employees.

But that doesn't mean there aren't challenges, said Dr. Mark Heinrich, who served as the guest speaker for the event.

For one thing, about 50 percent of current workers are eligible to retire today, while a new generation of workers can lack important soft skills.


Southwest Alabama needs nearly 5,000 skilled workers, survey reveals
By Kelli M. Dugan

In order to keep pace with demand, employers across the eight counties spanning southwest Alabama estimate a need for 4,851 skilled workers during the next 12 months.

That figure, reported in the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council's (SAWDC) 2015 Year End Industry Survey, reflects a roughly 8 percent increase compared with projections for the year just ended.

SAWDC Executive Director Laura Chandler said the annual survey allows the council to "ensure that strategic objectives are aligned with industry needs." She cautioned anyone crunching the numbers provided to remember, however, that participation in the survey varies from year to year, meaning the figures reported do not reflect accurate "apples-to-apples comparisons."


Wallace Named "Fastest Growing" Community College in Alabama
01/19 2016 

Dothan, Ala. - Wallace Community College-Dothan (WCCD) is the fastest growing community college in Alabama, according to the 2015 Fastest Growing Colleges report published inCommunity College Week. The report is based on the most recent complete figures from the U.S. Department of Education. The report includes the top 50 colleges in four categories based on enrollment size. WCCD's credit enrollment grew by 3.5% in the 2013-2014 school year, the largest increase in community colleges in Alabama with credit enrollments of 2,500-4,999.
"The results of this report affirms that the planning and the dedication of our instructors and staff have paid off," said Dr. Linda C. Young, president, Wallace Community College-Dothan. "The report shows that WCCD is an attractive education option for students who are seriously engaged in improving their future."
Enrollment trends at community colleges, which are typically influenced by economic factors, reached a record high in 2010, two years after the Great Recession of 2008. Nationally, there has been a steady decline in college enrollment due to more employment opportunities, a fact that encourages many students to return to the workforce instead of pursuing further education.


BizTech gets new Huntsville CEO, plans growth in 2016
on January 19, 2016 

BizTech has a bright future in 2016 as a new leader takes over the once-struggling business incubator in Cummings Research Park.

PROJECTXYZ President Larry Lewis recently became BizTech's chief executive officer, replacing interim leader and retired Huntsville Times publisher Bob Ludwig.

Chairman David Kingsbury is working closely with Lewis to develop plans for BizTech and bring in a few new companies as clients.


Austal is cruising with a spike of shipbuilding activity in Mobile
By Kelli M. Dugan

While the future funding of the U.S. Navy's littoral combat ship program remains unclearAustal USA shows no signs of altering its aggressive production plans at its Mobile shipyard.

In fact, the Australian shipbuilder's U.S. headquarters on the Mobile River hosted a recent keel-laying ceremony for the future USS Tulsa.

Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said he is amazed by how quickly the sixth Independence-variant LCS is coming together. Austal is building the ships under a $3.5 billion, 10-ship block buy contracted awarded in 2010.


Join Our Mailing List