| "Why should a business invest
Alabama state economic
development professionals who are responsible for the attraction of business
investment and providing site selection assistance to executives and their
consultants were invited in April 2006 to provide an informative article on
this simple topic.
We publish their
point of view here for convenient reference. This reflects their local
market knowledge, project experience, and selective facts about their state business environment
and the competitive business investment climate in their region as presented below.
Additional comments and
research suggestions follow their article.
Who to contact for business investment projects in
article below about the competitive site selection advantages for business
investment projects, and the support services provided as companies grow in
Alabama, is from :
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Rapid Growth in Automotive, Aerospace Sectors Boosts Economy
Alabama is a state of amazing economic diversity, bolstered
by rapid growth of the automotive and aerospace industries. With a strong
economy and new and expanding industries pushing the state’s unemployment
rate to the lowest level in recorded history, Alabama has become a force to
be reckoned with when it comes to competing in the highly competitive race
for economic development projects.
In December 2005, Alabama’s jobless rate was pegged at 3.5
percent, down significantly from 5.3 percent a year earlier and well below
the national average of 4.9 percent. In the last three years, more than
65,000 new jobs have been announced due to new and expanding industries in
“The state will always work hard to be an active partner
with our local communities and with industries in growing our economy and
creating new jobs for our citizens,” explained Alabama Gov. Bob Riley. “The
efforts to boost economic development in our state have given Alabamians new
opportunities and a better quality of life than ever before.”
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described by Governor Riley especially have paid off in the growth of the
state’s automotive industry. According to a survey released in February 2006
by the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association, there were 44,834
direct automotive jobs in Alabama in 2005, up from 31,197 jobs in 2003. The
survey included 263 plants. These jobs support another 79,356 jobs as a
result of purchases by industry employees and companies. The 124,190 direct
and indirect jobs generated a payroll of $4.8 billion in 2005.
automotive supplier base also continues to grow as new companies announce
plans to locate in Alabama on nearly a weekly basis. Well over 160 Hyundai,
Honda and Mercedes suppliers are currently located in the state. Many of
these projects located in areas that had previously not seen much economic
The foundation for
the economic powerhouse now emerging into
the state was Mercedes’ announcement in the early 1990s of its decision to
build the now-popular M-Class SUV in Alabama. That decision thrust Alabama
in the world spotlight and many other world-renowned industries have
followed Mercedes to Alabama, not only in the automotive industry but in
other industry sectors such as aerospace, biotechnology, and wood products.
Automotive giants Toyota, Honda and Hyundai also found that Alabama was the
ideal setting for automotive manufacturing and set up shop in the state.
Hyundai celebrated its grand opening in
Montgomery in May 2005, and Honda, Mercedes and Toyota have expanded their
operations in the state.
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|The March 2006
announcement that Kia will build its first U.S. plant one mile from the
Alabama state line also has the state ready to maximize the economic impact
for current and potential automotive suppliers and workers who live within
driving distance of the plant. “The people with Kia have told our governor
that many of the current Hyundai suppliers will double in size because they
will be getting Kia work as well,” Alabama Development Office (ADO) Director
Neal Wade said. “All the way around it is a great deal for the State of
The aerospace industry has also found Alabama is ideally
situated for growth. The state – home to some of the world’s largest
companies including Boeing, Lockheed, TRW, Raytheon and McDonnell-Douglas -
is part of a growing aerospace corridor. The state is home to more than 300
aerospace and aviation companies doing work in space and defense, aviation,
maintenance, refurbishment and overhaul. The industry has created more than
73,000 direct jobs and 139,000 total jobs in the state. NASA’s Marshall
Space Flight Center is a regional technology transfer hub for government and
industry teams that travel to industrial sites.
An example of growth in the aerospace industry is the
announcement of construction of an Airbus aircraft engineering center in
Mobile. The center is expected to employ 150 aerospace engineers and is
scheduled to open in January of 2007. The engineering center will initially
be assigned design work on the A350 commercial jet, but its work could be
expanded significantly to include a 1,000-employee aircraft assembly plant
if Northrop Grumman and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company
(EADS) win a competition to build refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force.
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GKN Aerospace, has also broken ground on a 120,000-square-foot expansion of
its manufacturing facility in Tallassee and will hire an additional 250
Alabama places an emphasis on its
competitive advantages such as strong partnership among the ADO and
regional, corporate and local partners both in terms of marketing the state
and how project incentives are prioritized. Wade explains, "We can be much
more successful if we utilize the corporate dollars, the local dollars and
the state dollars in a coordinated fashion to win these projects."
Work force issues continue to be a top priority for
industries seeking to relocate or expand. “We frequently hear from CEOs and
other business leaders that although it is easy to find a site, a trainable
workforce with a strong work ethic is harder to find,” Wade said.
Wade said one of the biggest incentives companies
worldwide have found in coming to Alabama is the quality of the state’s
workforce and its highly-respected workforce development program, Alabama
Industrial Development Training (AIDT). AIDT is the first state training
program in the world to be certified in compliance with ISO 9001:2000, the
International Organization for Standardization Principle for Quality
Management. AIDT was ranked first among workforce training programs in all
AIDT services are provided at no cost to employers or
trainees. The workforce management system includes recruitment, assessment
and training of potential employees, development and production of
job-related training materials, provision of training facilities, and
delivery of job-specific services. AIDT also provides certified manager
training and supervisory and team leadership training. The program had a
direct impact on the successful startup of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama,
LLC,” according to Chuck Ernst, HMA vice president and plant manager. “The
outstanding recruitment and training process helps us find workers,” he
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innovative workforce development program is the new Focused Industry
Training (FIT) program, which provides training and job placement services
at 34 sites across the state, concentrated in areas around Alabama’s
automotive manufacturing plants. The 10-week curriculum provides 400 hours
of training designed to provide students with skills needed to secure
A variety of advanced
engineering, technology, research and development facilities and programs
also is available through the state’s extensive university and college
The state’s quality of life is also a major draw for
business executives, with terrain ranging from mountains in the northern
area of the state to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world in the
southern portion. The climate is mild, the cost of living is low, and the
state has one of the most highly-ranked networks of golf courses in the
world, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. One-half of the U.S. population
lives within a 500-mile radius and more than two-thirds live within 750
miles. The state is also ranked nationally as having the lowest electricity
costs for industrial users.
Governor Riley said that the state has developed an
international reputation. “Alabama is the ideal setting for both new and
expanding industrial projects,” he said. “ We have become a destination
state for new industries. People around the world today are beginning to
recognize that if you want your business to be the most cost effective and
you want to be the most efficient, then you need to locate in Alabama.”
and cost data
provided by :
Alabama Development Office
Please let them know if you found this article to be
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to the above article : May 8, 2006 Alabama replied quickly to our request for such articles
relative to other states.
||The above is
|If quoting the
above material, please cite the state organization and
contact as the original source, and that it was found through
For more local area information, refer to our
of economic development agencies and chambers of commerce, or refer to our
directory for additional sources of information.
This article was prepared by professionals who are responsible for the attraction of
business investment projects to the state, such as for new offices,
factories, distribution centers, etc. These articles are not edited to
reflect our own research, experience, or point of view, nor do we validate
the assertions which they have made in the article, or make any warranty about such
content. We provide other content and links through our independent
GUIDE research work.
Please let us
know if there are other topics which you would like these articles to cover,
or if you feel that any updates or corrections are needed.
Comments based upon experience as an executive or professional service
provider responsible for the planning
of investment projects anywhere are welcome. We also welcome other
professional research reports which we can summarize and make available
through links to relevant websites where they are published.
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