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
Alabama beats California - and no, I'm not talking about college football.
Many Californians would bristle at the notion of being bested by Alabama. But employers aren't so picky: Toyota and Mazda announced recently they'll invest north of $1.6 billion dollars to build a new factory and create over 4,000 good-paying jobs in Limestone County, Alabama. This only increases the state's vehicle production: In 2016, Alabama assembled over one million vehicles employing over 40,000 employees.
Fifteen states were competing for the Toyota-Mazda joint venture; California was not even on the bench. Perhaps Toyota remembers its experience with GM at New United Motor Manufacturing in Fremont, where the United Auto Workers union helped shut down the plant in 2010. Today, California is home to just one automaker, Tesla - and yet some the state's representatives seem more interested in encouraging a union organizing driving at the plant rather than encouraging the company's continued success.
Alabama set a record for exports in 2017 for the second consecutive year.
The state exported $21.7 billion in goods in 2017, 6 percent higher than its 2016 tally of $20.5 billion. The total also reflects a larger trend, with Alabama exports soaring 21 percent since 2011 and 50 percent over the past decade.
Gov. Kay Ivey, who announced the record this morning, said a rising tide of exports is "strengthening our economy at home and creating more opportunities for our citizens."
Steve Case's 'Rise of the Rest' tour to showcase Birmingham start-ups
Birmingham's technology start-up scene is poised to receive a substantial boost from an initiative led by Steve Case, the founder of America Online and a champion of supporting emerging innovation ecosystems across the U.S.
Case will visit Birmingham on May 9 as part of the initiative's five-city
"Rise of the Rest" bus tour, now in its fourth year. The visit is meant to showcase the city's growing tech start-up sector, culminating with a $100,000 investment from the Rise of the Rest Fund in a local business.
"For the past four years, we have been encouraged by the entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders we've met on our tours and are excited to invest catalytic capital into these Rise of the Rest regions," said Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm whose mission is to build disruptive, innovative companies.
"Alabama's commercial construction industry, with its $12 billion impact on our economy, continues to play a vital role in moving our state forward," Ivey said of the study. "I am committed to workforce development efforts, which prepare Alabamians for the jobs of today and of tomorrow, and provides employers with the trained workers they need."
Gov. Kay Ivey addressed the state chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors and toured the AIDT Workforce Development Training Center in Birmingham on Wednesday, saying that the program is vital for high school students more interested in the trades than tuition at college.
"There are a lot of young folks that are good at working with their hands ... they don't give a rip about a four-year college education," Ivey said Wednesday morning during a breakfast and networking event set up by the chapter.
Ivey said workforce development is a key component of her Strong Start, Strong Finish education initiative that follows students from pre-Kindergarten to high school.
The AlabamaGermany Partnership (AGP) will celebrate a milestone - its 20-year anniversary - on March 1. The celebration will be held at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Visitor Center & Mercedes-Benz Museum in Vance from 5:30-9:00 pm.
Not only will AGP celebrate 20 years as an organization, but it also will celebrate Germany's transformative impact on the state's economy as Alabama's top foreign investor. Special guests will include Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Detlev Ruenger, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International's Vice President of Human Resource Rolf Wrona, and Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield.
AGP's Board of Directors will recognize German companies that have made investments or expansions within the state in the past year. Two awards will be presented during the evening, the Dr. Barbara Fischer Education Award and the Rainer Bauer Award. The event is attended by industrial, cultural, educational and governmental leaders. Three hundred attendees are expected for the celebration.
Click here to register for AGP's 20th Anniversary Celebration.