On Friday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced that Global Trade, a publication focusing on international business, selected Alabama as the nation’s top state for manufacturing in a new ranking.
Global Trade cited the growth of Alabama’s auto manufacturing industry and its leadership position in aerospace production, as well as job training provided by AIDT, the state’s primary workforce development agency. The magazine also credited the AdvantageSites program for the state’s success in the manufacturing industry. This program pre-certifies sites for development and is known for rapid permitting, which is coordinated by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to accelerate projects.
“Alabama has a strong heritage in manufacturing, which remains a key pillar in the state’s growing economy,” Governor Ivey said. “Alabama workers have shown the world that they have the expertise to manufacture high-quality products that set industry standards, and this ranking is more confirmation of that fact.”
More than 270,000 Alabamians work in manufacturing. They represent over 13 percent of the state’s workforce. That’s the fifth highest concentration among the states, according to data from the National Association of Manufacturers.
Economic Developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Over thirteen percent of Alabama’s workforce is employed within manufacturing-related fields. That being said, it is an honor for Alabama to be named the top state for manufacturing by Global Trade.”
“Alabama’s manufacturing workers bring energy and passion to their jobs, and they’re always willing to learn new skills that will enhance productivity,” said the Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce Greg Canfield. “These qualities set them apart from their counterparts in other states and allow them to manufacture a sweeping variety of top-flight products that are in demand all over the world.”
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said on social media, “Good news for Alabama! We have been ranked one of the top states in the country for manufacturing. I’m proud of all the manufacturing jobs our state has added over the last few years, and I know the future remains very bright!”
Global Trade’s selection of Alabama as the top manufacturing state comes just one month after Business Facilities, a publication which focuses on economic development, named Alabama the No. 1 state in their business-climate ranking.
“The state has seen a continued influx of manufacturing investment — much of it from the international auto industry — and it’s not hard to understand why,” Global Trade wrote.
In 2017 a Gallup poll found that Alabama has the highest percentage of highly involved and enthusiastic workers among U.S. states.
The governor’s office said that Alabama is moving to streamline and improve its overall workforce development program, with many of these functions centralized in the Alabama Department of Commerce. New initiatives include AlabamaWorks and Apprenticeship Alabama.
Earlier this year, Gov. Ivey launched Success Plus, a new strategic workforce development initiative that targets the addition of 500,000 high-skilled employees to Alabama’s workforce by 2025 in response to increasing employer demands for the higher levels of talent needed in today’s modern workplaces.
Success Plus aims to improve access to educational opportunities, create pathways and defined routes that show people how to advance a career, and encourage collaboration among private and public entities.
Ivey’s focus on the economy since being elevated to Governor in April 2017 coincides with President Donald J. Trump’s (R) and the GOP controlled Congress’s efforts to grow the economy.
Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) said on social media, “More good economic news! According to the Commerce Department, the economy grew at 4.2% in the 2nd quarter— a sharp improvement over 1st quarter 2.2% growth— thanks in large part to strong business investment fueled by the #TaxCutsandJobsAct and other pro-growth economic policies. Consumer confidence is high, the stock market is setting new records, unemployment is way down, and wages are on the rise. All this means America’s workers are significantly #BetterOffNow.”
“Governor Ivey, the Alabama Department of Commerce, and leaders within the public and private sector work every day to make Alabama a place where a myriad of industries can grow and prosper,” Nicole Jones added. “Economic development is a continuous process of cultivating relationships, investing in human capital, and working with communities to find their hidden talent within. We build Alabama together, and ultimately, it is that heart and the quality of life people experience in Alabama that makes projects come to fruition.”