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:

Alabama's unemployment rate holds steady
Staff, wire report
April 15, 2016 

MONTGOMERY | Alabama's unemployment rate is holding steady at 6.2 percent.
Labor statistics released by the governor's office on Friday show the state labor force grew by 10,200 jobs to 2.2 million in March. 

That's an improvement both from the previous month and a year before.

But the gain wasn't enough to reduce Alabama's unemployment rate, which remains above the national rate of 5 percent.


Asahi eyes June startup, additional hiring
Apr 13, 2016

As Asahi Kasei Plastics puts the finishing touches on its manufacturing facility in Athens' Elm Street Industrial Park, an official said Tuesday the company plans to grow the operation beyond its original scope.

Bunni Wheeler, supply chain administrator for the company, said the company has invested an additional $4 million in the project to create a third production line. The company's original investment was an estimated $30 million.

Asahi has hired 52 employees and plans to hire eight to 10 more workers for the third line scheduled to start up in September. The company will hire at least 100 workers over a 10-year period.


Toyota donates 45 engines to technical schools in north Alabama
on April 14, 2016

Before Leslie Pitts became a student at Limestone County Career Technical Center, he was working on engines on a small farm where he grew up.

The 10th grader wants to put his experience to work someday by building engines for companies like Toyota's Huntsville plant, the only Toyota facility in the world to make four-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines under one roof.

Pitts is one of many north Alabama students who will benefit from Toyota's recent donation of 45 V6 engines to automotive programs in Madison, Limestone, Morgan, Marshall, DeKalb and Cullman counties. Many students in those programs were previously using engines that are 10 years old.


Got an idea for an invention? This event may be for you
on April 14, 2016 

Think you've got a million dollar idea that could change the world? The 14th biennial Alabama Conference for Inventors may be just your ticket to immortality.

The conference, presented by Jacksonville State University, will take place May 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Oxford Civic Center.

The event is open to inventors and would-be inventors, organizers say. Among the topics planned for sessions are financing, prototypes, patenting and creating a business plan.


Birmingham's Innovation Depot has had nearly $1.4 billion impact since 2010
By Michael Tomberlin

Birmingham's Innovation Depot is coming off a record-setting 2015 for the business incubator, which has had an economic impact on the state of nearly $1.4 billion the past five years.

"We ended the year with over 100 startup companies here at Innovation Depot," CEO Devon Laney said. "Those companies employ over 800 people. So you've got technologists, IT professionals, engineering professionals, biotech, life scientists - incredible employees all under one roof."

As a business incubator that assists startup companies with everything from business plans, accessing capital and, most importantly, low-cost office and lab space, Innovation Depot measures its own success by that of its tenants.


Arsenal Place Accelerator is the first business incubator in Selma with a goal to grow startup companies that will shape the regional landscape.  The Arsenal Place Accelerator launched in January 2014 and is now home to five healthy businesses with more on the way.  Arsenal seeks to build a community around each business that will help it grow at an accelerated rate and believes startup companies grow better within a community rather than alone.
Learn more about Alabama's incubators and accelerators on under the Incubators tab.

Arsenal Place Accelerator is located at 900 Alabama Avenue, Selma

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