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:

Montgomery Cyber Connection will provide technology boost

MONTGOMERY, Alabama - Officials today unveiled an initiative called the Montgomery Cyber Connection that will permit blazing-fast Internet speeds, positioning the region for growth in the technology sector and fueling economic growth.

At the heart of the initiative is what's known as the Montgomery Internet Exchange, which will provide the physical infrastructure to link the networks of Internet service providers and content delivery services. In essence, the exchange will speed up content delivery because the material will be stored closer to home, rather than at a distant exchange.

The Montgomery Chamber of Commerce said the Internet Exchange - one of only four in the Southeast - will be located at the Retirement Systems of Alabama's data center on Dexter Avenue.

more..., A+ College Ready and Alabama Department of Education aim to elevate computer science graduates
By Marie Leech

Steve Jobs once called computer science a liberal art.

The now-deceased co-founder and CEO of Apple may have been ahead of the times more than 20 years ago when he suggested that everybody should be exposed to computer science and it shouldn't be "relegated to 5 percent of the population over in the corner."

But the grim statistics of available jobs versus qualified people to fill those jobs in Alabama alone prove that he knew what he was talking about.


COVER STORY: Change anticipated as Airbus and suppliers lift off

Since its official opening last September, the Airbus final assembly line in Mobile has increased production on its way to rolling out as many as four planes per month by the end of 2017, and has brought several suppliers with it.

Since the French jet manufacturer announced in July 2012 it had chosen Brookley Aeroplex for its North American assembly line, the surrounding area has experienced economic benefits. It was a slow process, but just months before the first flight, South Alabama's new aerospace industry - much like a fuselage - is starting to take shape.

"We're having a slow, more methodical development, which is good because it allows us to get our infrastructure in place and make sure we can handle this growth as it comes," Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Economic Development Troy Wayman said. "It's not these huge number of jobs and huge suppliers, but [it's] very much more methodical. What that means for us is the aerospace industry clusters more than any other industry."


UAB's Business School Becomes First in State to Require Internships
By Lori Wood
January 2016
The Collat School of Business at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is enriching its coursework by requiring all students to complete an internship or similar experience prior to graduation. Collat is the first business school in Alabama to make this requirement a part of the curricula.

"Hands-on learning experience is vital for business school graduates," said Eric Jack, Ph.D., dean of the Collat School of Business. "This step of requiring an internship or similar learning experience demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our students have real, meaningful experience in their field of study and that they are prepared to contribute to the workforce upon graduation."

Collat works with many local and national employers to provide internship opportunities, and one intent of this new requirement is to strengthen those important relationships within the business community.



Boeing provides $15K grant to Alabama sustainable energy group
on January 21, 2016 

An educational program of the Alabama Center for Sustainable Energy has received a major boost from the Boeing Company.

CEO Daniel Tait said his nonprofit organization's hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program for Madison County students is the recipient of a $15,000 award from Boeing. The Energy Sustainability for Tomorrow initiative is a kit-based project aligned with College and Career Ready Standards that educates students of all ages about sustainable energy concepts.

"Boeing understands that our community depends on the vital investments needed in education," Tait said in a statement. "Furthermore, Boeing has identified that sustainable energy is growing and we need to make sure our students are ready."


Regions executive to be honored by Samford University
Jan 21, 2016
Ryan PhillipsDigital Producer Birmingham Business Journal

Grayson Hall, Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Regions Financial Corp., will be awarded Samford University's 2016 Mann Medal in Ethics and Leadership.

Hall will be honored during a Samford Network program on Thursday, Feb. 25, the university said in a release.

The 7 a.m. breakfast event will be held in the Regions Room of Samford's Cooney Hall at the new Brock School of Business building.


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