October 2022 Group Watch: Germany Trade Mission Brings Opportunities to AL

Alabama’s first overseas trade mission in more than three years successfully connected a diverse group of growth-minded state companies with counterparts in Germany, potentially setting the stage for new opportunities and partnerships. According to Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, the five companies on the mission operate in fields including the life sciences sector, microgrid power systems, next generation EV charging strategies and international project management services. The Germany business development trip was the first Commerce-led trade mission since September 2019, when an Alabama group traveled to the United Arab Emirates. Alabama companies represented on the trade mission included Adah, Gene Capture, BLOC Global Group, Domestique and ASHIPA Electric Limited.

October 2022 Group Watch: Amazon Teams Up with Tuskegee University for Training Program

Tuskegee University has a new partnership with Amazon that will establish advanced training programs in mechatronics, robotics, supply chain management and logistics operations for students at the Macon County institution. Amazon donated $1.2 million to fund the program, which also includes scholarships and setting up a pipeline for leadership roles at the tech giant. This collaboration is the latest example of innovation in rural Alabama, where universities and companies are engaged in developments that are shaping the future in various research areas and industries. The Amazon-Tuskegee alliance will provide training in design, distribution, risk assessment and other topics through classroom and lab instruction. The college of Business and Information Science will lead the supply chain initiative, and the College of Engineering will lead the mechatronics and robotics program.

October 2022 Group Watch: Changes to AL Constitution on November Ballot

Come election day November 8, there will be more than names on the ballot: Multiple proposed changes to Alabama’s 121-year-old state constitution will also be there, waiting for voters to either approve and ratify them or reject the revisions. State legislators unanimously gave Alabama voters the opportunity to make their voices heard on a reworked constitution last legislative session. Before you head to your polling place, learn more about the proposed changes here.

October 2022 Group Watch: $2.5 Billion Aluminum Mill Coming to AL

Site work has begun on one of Alabama’s most prominent construction projects, a $2.5 billion aluminum mill being built by Atlanta-based Novelis in Baldwin County that is the first facility of its kind constructed in the United States for 40 years. Crews are engaged in earthwork, excavation and piling at the site in the 3,000-acre South Alabama Mega Site in Bay Minette. Over the next three months, Novelis will construct two new roadways on the site and expand the utility infrastructure necessary to begin building construction. The facility is expected to employ 1,000 people at full production, scheduled for mid-2025. Novelis said it has hired the core leadership team for the multi-year effort to build the Alabama facility. AIDT, the state’s primary workforce development agency and part of the Alabama Department of Commerce, is assisting Norvelis in assembling and training of its workforce.

October 2022 Group Watch: Tax Rebate a Topic in Upcoming Session

Republican leaders in the legislature have already been hinting at a potential tax rebate, and Governor Kay Ivey has expressed her support as Alabama enjoys a temporary surplus of federal funding. The governor voiced her commitment to work closely with the legislature to provide direct relief to the people of Alabama. Ivey said she will present a plan to lawmakers to allocate these funds in a manner that helps our citizens with the issues facing them today. The state’s Education Trust Fund ended FY22 with a historic $10.4 billion in revenue, more than 20 percent higher than 2021. The bulk of that surplus is due to an inundation of federal funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the revenue levels are historic, they are unsustainable, so the state must plan and operate responsibly.

October 2022 Group Watch: Gov. Ivey Declares October HBCU Month in AL

Governor Kay Ivey signed a proclamation on October 3 declaring the month HBCU Month. According to Dr. Quentin Ross, President of Alabama State University in Montgomery, the signing was significant, making Alabama the first state in the country to dedicate an entire month in recognition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This speaks to the governor’s understanding of the value of these institutions to the state and nation. Alabama has the largest number of HBCUs in the country; they make up more than a quarter of the state’s four-year institutions and enroll 40 percent of all Black undergraduates.

October 2022 Group Watch: Randolph County to Lead Microsoft Digital Skills Initiative in AL

Microsoft Philanthropies is teaming with the Randolph County Economic Development Authority (RCEDA) on a program that helps job seekers and professionals gain new skills for in-demand roles in the digital economy. The Community Skills Initiative Alabama Region program is a suite of online training and resources, accessed through the Community Skills Initiative Alabama website, and offers access to free online training courses that boost digital skills. In 2020, Microsoft launched a global skills initiative to provide job skills training for unemployed and underemployed workers in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused massive economic disruptions. The RCEDA will be the program lead for CSI Alabama.

September 2022 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

It’s autumn in Alabama, and for many, that means back to school and all its activities, fall festival events and, of course, college football. But the business of politics knows no season, so there’s always news to share.

Some big bucks are flowing to a few of the state’s most challenged schools and millions are also flying to Alabama airports. The journey to accessible medical cannabis for those suffering with a host of conditions continues to move ahead. And state and local economic development efforts keep paying off. Read on to learn more about it all.

September 2022 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

@MattSimpson
Sept 22

September 2022 Group Watch: Businesses Apply to Enter AL’s Medical Cannabis Industry

Alabama’s establishment of a medical cannabis program has entered the next phase, with businesses now notifying the state of their intention to participate in the seed-to-sale industry. The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission received 179 requests for applications for business licenses during the first six days after it began taking those requests September 1. Applicants can seek licenses as cultivators, processors, secure transporters, state testing labs and dispensaries. They can also seek licenses as integrated companies performing multiple functions. Jefferson County had the most license application requests with 28. Madison County was next with 19, followed by Montgomery County with 14, and Mobile and Tuscaloosa Counties with 13 each. There were no application requests from more than 25 counties; the application deadline is October 17.

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