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:

The  Economic Development Partnership of Alabama is seeking nominations for the prestigious EDPA 2018 imerge Innovation Awards, an annual recognition of the state's top innovators.

Since 2014, EDPA, through its Alabama Launchpad program, has identified people, startups, small businesses and corporations making breakthroughs, being game-changers and continuing to make Alabama a source of innovation.
According to the EDPA, self-nominations are encouraged. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 22. For more information on award categories and to nominate,  Visit -  - for information on award categories.

Austal makes cut for next round of Navy frigate program

The U.S. Navy has picked five shipbuilders to advance to the next round of its future frigate program, including Mobile-based Austal USA and Mississippi's Huntington Ingalls Industries.

The program is a huge prize: The Navy plans to buy 20 ships in what it has termed the FFG(X) program, which denotes an experimental guided-missile frigate. According to  a recent defense-industry report, officials anticipate paying nearly a billion dollars per ship.

To some extent, the frigates are envisioned as a successor to the Littoral Combat Ships. Austal builds one version of the LCS, an aluminum trimaran, in Mobile; Lockheed Martin builds a second version, a steel monohull, at Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyards in Wisconsin.



HB317: The Alabama Jobs Enhancement Act will keep Alabama on the list
By Chip Cherry, CEO and president of the Huntsville Madison County Chamber Authority; and Valerie Gray,executive director of Chambers County Development
on February 20, 2018

Economic development is a team effort. Every day, more than 300 men and women across Alabama like us wake up and go to a job where they work tirelessly to grow their communities.

As economic developers, we are not politicians - we are community-minded individuals with an occupation that focuses on creating jobs and bringing new business to better our communities.

The passage of The Alabama Jobs Enhancement Act, HB317, should be important to every single person in Alabama. However, much confusion has been built around the bill, which was put forth to modernize, clarify and clean up economic development statutes.



North Alabama Schools Preparing for Auto Growth   
By JEAN COLE, The News Courier
Feb. 20, 2018

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) - With the promise of growth from a new Toyota-Mazda plant and its support industries, city and county schools in north  Alabama will have to be able to handle more students.

The heads of school systems in Athens and Limestone County believe they are either ready to handle more students or can get ready when the time comes.

"We are covered for the next 10 years for average growth," said Athens City Schools Superintendent Trey Holladay. "We feel very good about the next five years with no trouble."


[ US News]

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