By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Governor Governor Robert Bentley issued a written statement on Tuesday to announced that the state of Alabama had reached a new project agreement with Austal USA. The Phase V agreement is a five year $5 million deal that will see the shipbuilder add up to 1,000 new jobs in Mobile.
Gov. Bentley said, “With this new project agreement, we are creating new jobs and new opportunities for the people of Alabama. We are moving forward with our Accelerate Alabama plan for long-term economic development. We are committed to creating a broad range of new jobs while also supporting existing companies. Austal USA’s plans for expansion fit perfectly in the Accelerate Alabama plan. The company is a leader in building defense and commercial vessels, and we appreciate leaders at Austal for strengthening their commitment to Alabama.”
Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said, “Alabama has been a proud partner to Austal’s growth in this state for many years. This partnership has helped the company expand and bring thousands of new jobs to the people of Alabama. We appreciate the fact that Austal has been a good corporate citizen to both Alabama and Mobile and look forward to working with them on many more expansions in the future. Thank you for your continued contributions to our state.”
Austal USA’s Interim President and Chief Financial Officer, Brian Leathers, said, “Since forming an official public/private partnership with the State of Alabama, Mobile County, and the City of Mobile, Austal’s employment numbers have increased from just over 100 to nearly 3,000, and we are working to grow our operation to more than 4,000. The success of this partnership represents the American dream of hope and opportunity along the Alabama Gulf Coast. Austal is very appreciative of the support of Governor Bentley, the Alabama Department of Commerce, Alabama Industrial Development Training, and those within the Governor’s Administration who are responsible for the success of the Phase V Agreement.”
The agreement will help Austal continue its workforce expansion efforts. As part of the agreement, the company will also receive employee training services from AIDT – the Alabama Industrial Development Training program. AIDT mission is to provide quality workforce development for Alabama’s businesses.
Currently Austal has 3,000 workers building warships for the U.S. Navy in Mobile. Once the overall expansion is completed the total employment at Ausal’s Mobile complex is expected to reach approximately 4,600 people.
The Governor’s statements said, “Austal USA has already made major investments in its Mobile shipyard, with more than $100 million in expansion and improvements from 2008 to 2012. Earlier this summer, Austal opened three new facilities at its Mobile River complex, greatly enhancing the size and scope of the company’s operations and helping make the complex the most modern and innovative shipyard on the continent. The facilities include a 700,000 square-foot Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF); a 59,000 square-foot assembly bay; and a 108,000 square-foot office complex.” Austal is an Australia based company that builds commercial ships as well as warships.
Austal builds the new USS Independence class aluminum trimaran hulled littoral combat ships (LCS). Austal has already built two of a ten ship order. Lockheed Martin builds a competing more conventional steel hulled LCS in Wisconsin. Some naval planners envision as many as 55 LCS’s in the U.S. Navy of the future and Austal hopes to find overseas allies who would also liketo equip their navies with the new class of ship. Austal also builds the JHSV or Joint High Speed Vessel. The first JHSV, USS Spearhead has already been delivered to the Navy and is now undergoing testing. General Dynamics is Austal’s partner on the ships and is responsible for the electronics.
To learn more about jobs with Austal as they become available go to their website: www.austaljobs.com