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:

Workforce training facility in Mobile to serve Airbus, Austal and other manufacturers
on March 17, 2016

With the addition of Airbus's $600 million aircraft manufacturing plant and ongoing activity at Austal USA and other industrial facilities in South Alabama, a need is growing for skilled workers.

According to the Alabama Community College SystemChancellor Mark Heinrich, if 6,000 workers were properly trained in high-tech manufacturing jobs, "they would be employed immediately."

A new $2 million to $4 million workforce training facility at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley south of downtown Mobile, is expected to serve that role.


Mercedes $1.3 billion expansion cited
Staff report
March 17, 2016 

A national trade publication has named the $1.3 billion expansion at the Mercedes-Benz auto plant in Vance as one of the 30 winners of its 2016 Corporate Investment & Community Impact Awards.

The editors of Trade & Industry Development magazine gave Mercedes-Benz a corporate investment award for the expansion project announced last fall. The Mercedes project was one of three Alabama projects from 2015 that received one of the magazine's awards.

The magazine evaluated hundreds of projects from across the U.S. before selecting 30 projects in the 11th year in which it has given the awards.


Chambers factory growth lands county in country's top ten
March 17, 2016

Chambers County has been named one of the Top-10 micropolitan communities in the U.S. for new and expanding facilities by Site Selection magazine, the official publication of the Global FDI Association and the Industrial Asset Management Council. The magazine ranked 575 of the nation's micropolitan areas.

The US Census Bureau designates a micropolitan area as a non-urban community anchored by a town of no more than 50,000 people. Valley is the anchor town for Chambers County, and statistical information presented for it is representative of the county as a whole.

The magazine used the Conway New Plant Database measuring the number of corporate facility projects to determine the rankings. Chambers County ranked eight in 2015, making a big jump from 2014 when the county was ranked 74th out of 575 micropolitans.


How a 'stealth organization' in Alabama is quietly solving the world's hardest
By Dana Beyerle
MARCH 15, 2016 

It's October 1941. Alabama headlines follow the war in Europe and Asia. On Oct. 11, less than two months from U.S. entry into the World War II, the Alabama Research Institute is formed in Birmingham with the challenge to produce innovative research for the South.

An early contract is with the National Peanut Council to develop a way to homogenize peanut butter. But as fate would have it, the war halts everything until 1944 when ARI begins its work in earnest.

Today Business Council of Alabama member Southern Research, as ARI is now known, is celebrating its Diamond Anniversary as a heralded scientific and engineering research organization involved in pre-clinical drug discovery and development, energy and environment initiatives, and engineering research including sensor systems and advanced materials - think space vehicle reentry heat shields.


Alabama's home prices are on the rise
By Bryan Davis
Alabama joins much of the rest of the country in enjoying consistent home price appreciation.

With the exception of Mississippi and Louisiana, U.S. states recorded positive year-over-year gains in home price appreciation, according to CoreLogic's U.S. Home Price Insights Report through January 2016.

According to the report, more home price appreciation was expected through February nationwide and in Alabama.


Don't miss Sunday's deadline to nominate a company for the Alabama Innovation Awards!

The deadline to nominate is March 20 at 11:59 p.m.

The Alabama Innovation Awards recognize those organizations and people who bring new ideas to life. 

Do you know a game-changing business or an individual who has brought new ideas to life?

 If you answered yes, we invite you to nominate them for an award!

Start by clicking here.

Nominations for the 2016 Alabama Innovation Awards are being accepted in the following categories: 

Corporate Innovator of the Year (small company, 1-50 employees)
Corporate Innovator of the Year (large company, 50+ employees)
Outstanding Achievement in Innovative Manufacturing
Outstanding Public-Private Partnership for Innovation

The winners will be recognized at the 6th Annual Alabama Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference on Aug. 31. The event is designed to celebrate the vital role of entrepreneurs, startups and other innovators in the state's economy.

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