The recent gains in industrial development in Walker County were highlighted during a forum Monday morning.
Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield served as the speaker for the “Business for Breakfast” event, sponsored by the Walker County Development Authority and the Jasper Industrial Development Board. More than 50 area professionals attended the event, which was held at the Jasper Civic Center, formerly the CHS Activity Center.
Canfield spoke about the work done by the Alabama Department of Commerce. The group was formerly known as the Alabama Development Office, but that name did not translate well in foreign discussions. The name change also came with additional areas of focus for the group. The department of commerce is now split into two divisions, business development and workforce development.
“What we are really talking about are career opportunities for the State of Alabama,” Canfield said. “For too long, many of the best and the brightest in our state have felt like they need to move away to be successful. We are doing some great things that are beginning to do the things that will keep our young adults here, and that is good for our state.”
The business development side of the Alabama Department of Commerce focuses primarily on the areas of taxes and incentives, resources, site availability, local development, small business advocacy, international trade and film production.
The newly-created Alabama Industrial Development Training program, which encourages economic development through job-specific training, is a big part of the workforce development branch of the department of commerce. Workforce development also features regional councils and several additional programs and grants.
Canfield also mentioned the success of the Accelerate Alabama initiative, which was an economic development strategic plan for the state that was unveiled in early 2012. Since that time, the initiative has helped to produce $24.4 billion in new capital investment in the state that has translated into nearly 92,000 jobs.
Click here to read the entire article posted May 17, 2016 – By JAMES PHILLIPS, Daily Mountain Eagle