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Economy

GD Copper announces expansion

Brandon Moseley

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GD Copper USA announced plans today to invest $3.5 million in its Alabama precision copper products manufacturing facility, expected to create between 30 and 40 new jobs in Wilcox County.

GD Copper USA operates a $100 million plant in the Thomasville/West Wilcox Industrial Park. The new jobs will push total employment at the Alabama facility to nearly 400. The company said that the growth is in line with its original plans to expand as the facility’s business continues to grow.

“As governor, I remain committed to fostering a business-friendly environment, so I’m always thrilled to see an existing company add new jobs to its operations in Alabama,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “Being a native of Wilcox County, I’m especially proud to see GD Copper growing its workforce and preparing for the future in Wilcox County. This is a step forward for this company, for Wilcox County and the entire state.”

Economic developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “GD Copper currently employs approximately 300 people and plans to add between 30 and 40 jobs with its latest expansion. The 500,000-square-foot manufacturing plant is located on Alabama Highway 5 in in the Thomasville/West Wilcox Industrial Park, about 100 miles from the Port of Mobile.”

“We appreciate the support provided to us by the federal, state and local leaders.” GD Copper Group Chairman Huang Ming said.

KC Pang is GD Copper USA’s vice president of HR, Administration & Corporate Affairs. Vice President Pang said that the company has developed and implemented a “Career Path” program to train and promote local employees to be part of the management team. He added that 80 percent of the Alabama facility’s employees are from Wilcox and Clarke Counties.

Nicole Jones shared, “GD Copper’s continued investment provides a tremendous economic boost for rural Alabama and is a testament to our state’s leadership in the Metals and Advanced Materials industry.”

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The GD Copper plant in Wilcox County is the most modern copper tubing plant in the world. GD Copper USA opened the 500,000-square-foot facility on a 135-acre parcel of property off Alabama Highway 5 in Wilcox County back in May 2014. The Thomasville/West Wilcox plant’s output serves the company’s U.S. customers.

AIDT, the state’s primary jobs training agency and part of the Alabama Department of Commerce, will continue to provide GD Copper with workforce development assistance.

“We’re committed to helping companies prosper and grow jobs in Alabama’s rural communities,” said Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “The project agreement between the state and GD Copper anticipates the opportunity for long-term growth at this facility and this new investment and the new jobs it creates will be of significant benefit to Wilcox and Clarke counties. We applaud the continued job growth and the opportunities it provides to families and communities in this region of the state.”

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Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day said that the company has had a major impact on the area’s economy.

“Anything is possible when good folks work hand in hand to bring development to their community. GD Copper USA has become a vital part of our economy,” Day said. “Although unemployment in Wilcox and Clarke Counties remains higher than average in Alabama, we have seen tremendous improvement as a result of the hundreds of new jobs GD Copper USA has provided here.”

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Economy

New unemployment claims decreased last week

Fewer people joined the unemployment rolls last week compared to the week before.

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

There were 7,964 new unemployment claims filed in Alabama last week, down from 8,581 filed the previous week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. 

Of the claims filed between Oct. 11 and Oct. 17, there were 4,032 related to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s 51 percent, compared to 36 percent the previous week.

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Economy

Governor announces auto supplier IAC plans Alabama expansion

IAC is committing $34.3 million in new capital investment to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that International Automotive Components Group North America Inc. plans to invest over $55.9 million in expansion projects that will create 182 jobs at two Alabama facilities.

“International Automotive Components is a leading global auto supplier, and I am pleased that this world-class company is growing significantly in Alabama and creating good jobs in Cottondale and Anniston,” Ivey said. “IAC’s growth plans show that Alabama’s dynamic auto industry continues to expand despite today’s challenging environment.”

Nick Skwiat is the executive vice president and president of IAC North America.

“Alabama was the logical choice due to its skilled workforce and proximity to the customer,” Skwiat said. “We are excited to see the continued growth of the automotive industry in Alabama and we plan to grow right along with it. We thank the Governor and Secretary Canfield for their leadership in this sector.”

IAC is committing $34.3 million in new capital investment to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County. This facility will produce door panels and overhead systems for original equipment manufacturers. That project will create 119 jobs at the production site in Cottondale.

IAC also plans to invest $21.6 million at its manufacturing facility located in the former Fort McClellan in Anniston. That East Alabama project will create another 63 jobs.

This project builds on a milestone 2014 expansion that doubled the size of the Calhoun County facility. There IAC manufactures automotive interior components and systems. Key components produced at the Anniston plant include door panels, trim systems and instrument panels for original equipment manufacturers.

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IAC Group is a leading global supplier of innovative and sustainable instrument panels, consoles, door panels, overhead systems, bumper fascias and exterior ornamentation for original equipment manufacturers.

IAC is headquartered in Luxembourg and has more than 18,000 employees at 67 locations in 17 countries. The company operates manufacturing facilities in eight U.S. states.

“With operations around the globe, IAC is the kind of high-performance company that we want in Alabama’s auto supply chain to help fuel sustainable growth,” said Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “We look forward to working with IAC and facilitating its future growth in this strategic industrial sector.”

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Danielle Winningham is the executive director of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority.

“International Automotive Components is a valued part of Tuscaloosa County’s automotive sector,” Winningham said. “We are grateful for IAC’s investment in our community and the career opportunities available to our area workforce as a result of their investment.”

“The City of Anniston is excited that IAC has made the decision to expand here. I have enjoyed working with the leadership at IAC, the Calhoun County EDC, and the state of Alabama to get this project finalized,” said Anniston Mayor Jack Draper. “This is even further evidence that Anniston is indeed open for business.”

Only Michigan has more automobile manufacturing jobs than the state of Alabama. Honda, Mercedes, Hyundai, Polaris, Toyota and soon Mazda all have major automobile assembly plants in the state of Alabama.

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Courts

Aderholt fully supports Barrett’s confirmation process

Confirmation hearings began last week and a vote on her confirmation is expected in the next week just days before the general election.

Brandon Moseley

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Congressman Robert Aderholt

Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, updated his constituents on the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Aderholt said, “I do support her fully and I know she will defend life, protect the Constitution, and uphold our freedoms.”

Confirmation hearings began last week and a vote on her confirmation is expected in the next week just days before the general election.

“Senate Democrats are not seriously questioning Judge Barrett on her credentials, instead they have decided to attack her character and her beliefs,” Aderholt said. “I am disappointed to see this unfold on the national stage, but I think Judge Barrett stood strong and did well during this first week of hearings.”

“While I do not have a vote in her confirmation process, I do support her fully and I know she will defend life, protect the Constitution, and uphold our freedoms when she is officially sworn in as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court,” Aderholt said.

Barrett is a Notre Dame graduate, has served on the U.S. Seventh Court of Appeals and is a former clerk for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

“I clerked for Justice Scalia more than 20 years ago, but the lessons I learned still resonate,” Barrett said. “His judicial philosophy is mine, too: A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.”

Barrett vowed to keep an open mind on any matter that comes before the court, though Democrats fear she is prepared to overturn Supreme Court precedent on abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act.

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That the Republican controlled committee will recommend that Barrett be confirmed appears certain. A vote to confirm Barrett to the nation’s highest court by the full Senate could occur just days ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

President Donald Trump has been the president of the United States for less than four years but if Barrett is confirmed, then he will have selected one third of the U.S. Supreme Court. Barrett fills a place created by the death of the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.

Aderholt is in his 12th term representing Alabama’s 4th Congressional District. He faces Democratic nominee Rick Neighbors in the Nov. 3 general election.

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Economy

New unemployment claims increased last week

More people joined the unemployment rolls last week than the week before.

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

There were 8,581 new unemployment claims filed in Alabama last week, up from 7,732 filed the previous week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. 

Of the claims filed between Oct. 4 and Oct. 10, there were 3,125 related to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s 36 percent, compared to 51 percent the previous week.

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