December 2011 Op-Ed Column
By Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey
Henry Ford once said, “Obstacles are those frightful things you can see when you take your eyes off your goal.” Those words ring true in Alabama as your elected leaders continue to find bold ways to stimulate the state’s economy during what have been some rocky and uncertain times. And things are looking up. Figures released Friday by the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations show Alabama’s unemployment rate for November at 8.7 percent, down from 9.8 percent in September, which represents five consecutive months of job growth. The even better news is that 38,000 more people in the state have jobs today than in January of this year.
When we took the reins of government in January, the new leadership deliberated on how we could create a climate ripe for job growth and economic opportunity. We committed ourselves to offering incentives to businesses because we know the key to economic success is to remove the shackles of regulation on those who provide jobs to our citizens. When government gets out of the way, business can focus on growth rather than burdensome red tape.
Governor Bentley has partnered with Speaker Mike Hubbard, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and I in confronting joblessness. In fact, The Governorhas designated one day per week for industrial recruitment. And last summer, Governor Bentley established the Alabama Economic Development Alliance in order to effectively utilize the job creation and workforce assets of the state and to create a statewide economic development strategic plan. Then, in October, the Governor launched “Work Alabama,” an initiative by the Department of Industrial Relations aimed at matching temporary workers with employers who seek to fill openings.
Separately, Speaker Mike Hubbard established the Speakers Commission on Job Creation to identify opportunities to boost private sector job growth. Together, Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh and Speaker Hubbard crafted a 2012 Legislative Agenda centered around economic expansion through the creation of new jobs.
More good news came to Alabama when Associated Press reported the state is well on its way to becoming one of the top three sites for automotive manufacturing in the United States. Some 1,500 jobs have been created in the past few months by Mercedes-Benz and Honda both of which expanded Alabama operations. These are further examples of job growth through a partnership between state leaders and corporate executives.
One key ingredient to our success is the Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) program, a premiere job-training company which encourages economic development through their on-site educational programs and job-specific training. AIDT has worked to develop workforces for companies like Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Alabama Aerospace Manufacturing and Golden Boy Foods.
Rest assured that Governor Bentley, the Alabama Legislative leadership and I are working to improve the quality of life for our citizens. We have embraced the challenge issued by Henry Ford.
I urge you to visit http://joblink.alabama.gov for a listing of available jobs in Alabama. Employers may also register on Job Link or contact their local Career Center. If you are interested in technical on-the-job training, visit www.aidt.edu/jobs for opportunities and openings.
I am honored by the confidence you vested in me by electing me as your Lieutenant Governor. I am well aware that public service is not a right, but a privilege. My office stands ready to welcome your comments and prepared to respond to your concerns. Please feel free to contact us at 334-242-7900. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!