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Rural Alabama’s advantages lure $4 billion in investment projects

With a series of high-impact growth projects now under way, rural Alabama is on a winning streak that is bringing in significant new investment and triggering the creation of thousands of jobs.

Consider these developments:

  • Mercedes-Benz opened its first U.S. battery plant for electric vehicles in Bibb County, part of a $1 billion investment by the global automaker to launch EV production in Alabama.
  • Lockheed Martin located an advanced ‘digital factory’ for the development of hypersonic technologies in Lawrence County and builds the Javelin missiles in Pike County that are assisting Ukraine’s war effort.
  • Selma’s Craig Field is becoming home to a groundbreaking remote air traffic control tower center that’s poised to revolutionize air space management in the U.S. as the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

And there are many other dynamic developments taking shape in rural Alabama, including the nation’s first graphite processing facility and a $1.1 billion solar panel manufacturing plant that will be staffed with over 700 workers.

“There are abundant opportunities in rural Alabama, and growth-minded companies are discovering it’s the perfect place for their next-level growth projects,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Because of all the positives these communities can offer, we think the winning streak for rural Alabama is just getting started,” he said.

Rural Growth Potential

In fact, growing businesses have injected over $4 billion in new capital investment into Alabama’s rural counties since 2020, a clear sign of the potential to be found there. These projects will create over 5,400 direct jobs in rural communities, according to Commerce data.

A large chunk of that new investment — over $500 billion — has come from foreign companies putting down roots in rural Alabama. Companies from Japan, Germany, South Korea, Canada and other countries now have substantial operations in rural counties across Alabama.

Mercedes-Benz officially opened a battery factory on the automaker’s Bibb County campus, a few months before starting production of electric vehicles in Alabama, Tuesday, March 15, 2022. (Image: Mercedes)

Brenda Tuck, rural development manager for the Alabama Department of Commerce, said her office is working closely with economic development allies across the state to help position rural areas for even stronger growth.

“We’re committed to doing everything we can to advance and accelerate strategic economic development in Alabama’s rural counties, so the hard-working citizens there can benefit from new investment and jobs,” Tuck said.

Tuck added that companies in industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to forest products and chemicals have selected rural Alabama for investment projects, citing mission-critical factors such as available workforce, proven job-training initiatives, low costs and community support.

“Companies from around the globe are finding everything they need in Alabama’s rural communities to bring their innovations to life,” she said.

“The simple fact is these areas can offer companies a raft of advantages that will magnify the impact of their investment and provide a launchpad for growth.”

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