Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced this week that 2A S.p.A., a prominent Italian die-casting company, plans to invest $15 million to expand its foundry in Auburn, where it serves as a Tier 1 supplier to major producers of automobiles and heavy trucks.
The expansion project at 2A USA in Auburn will create more than 50 jobs and double the Auburn facility’s current die-casting area.
“2A has earned a reputation for technical innovation, and its decision to expand its Alabama manufacturing operation is a testament to its skilled workforce in Auburn,” Ivey said. “We’re thrilled that this first-class company is including Alabama in its growth plans.”
2A is a family-owned company that produces parts for major automotive and truck manufacturers including Porsche, Alfa-Romeo, Maserati and Volvo Trucks.
“My father Carlo founded 2A with a clear vision of a technology and customer-driven die-casting company,” said 2A President Vincenzo Ilotte, president of the family-owned company. “We are very proud of our location in Auburn and plan to further grow our operation to serve our customers in the U.S. Without the great support from the State of Alabama and the City of Auburn; this would not have been possible.”
2A’s parent company is headquartered in Santena near Turin. It is Italy’s biggest privately owned high-pressure die-casting industrial company. It specializes in the die casting of large, complex aluminum components that are coated, machined, assembled and painted to meet customer requests.
“Alabama’s auto supply chain continues to grow in scope and sophistication as companies such as 2A expand their operations in the state,” said Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “2A’s new investment not only positions its Auburn plant for job creation but also solidifies the company’s presence in the state.”
Die casting produces engineered metal parts by forcing molten metal under high pressure into reusable steel molds, called dies. The process allows for the production of highly accurate complex shapes that are easily replicated.
Economic developer Dr. Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “2A, a respected automotive supplier with locations in Italy, the United States, and China, launched R & D programs and has developed parts ready for assembly in various OEM lines. OEMs, or original equipment manufacturer(s), produce parts and equipment that can be marketed by other manufacturers. 2A’s recent expansion in the United States will result in approximately 50 more jobs at the Auburn, Alabama facility.”
2A USA entered Alabama in 2014 when it acquired a plant operated by Aluminum Technology Schmid North America in Auburn Technology Park West. The company invested in state-of-the-art die casting and machining equipment at the facility, retaining the 95 jobs that were already there. 2A will install new equipment capable of exerting pressures on dies of between 1,000 and 2,700 tons, as well as 4,500 tons, representing the largest standard high-pressure die-casting machines on the market. The first of these machines is scheduled to be operational in March 2020.
The company’s Auburn foundry serves original equipment manufacturers including FCA Group (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), Freightliner Trucks and engine maker Detroit Diesel Corp., with new customers expected to come on board.
Auburn Mayor Ron Anders welcomed 2A’s expansion.
“With this expansion, 2A is bringing even higher-level technology to its already advanced operation here in Auburn,” Anders said. “We’re pleased that they have confidence in Auburn to make such a significant additional investment and look forward to their continued success as a leader in high-pressure die-casting.”
“Through collaborative efforts between the public and private sector, our state has positioned itself as a national and global leader the automotive industry,” Nicole Jones explained. “In the past few weeks, the state of Alabama has had three major automotive industry-related announcements. 2A’s decision to expand its U.S. presence at the Auburn foundry is an important component of the automotive supply chain and is a testament to the creation of an environment conducive for business. We are looking forward to the unveiling of 2A’s new technology in March of 2020.”
The expanded plant will manufacture original equipment for manufacturers including FCA Group (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), Freightliner Trucks and engine maker Detroit Diesel Corp., with new customers expected to come on board.
New unemployment claims continued dropping last week
There were 8,679 new unemployment claims filed in Alabama last week, slightly fewer than the 8,848 filed the previous week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.
Of the claims filed between Sept. 13 and Sept. 19, 4,465, or 51 percent, were related to COVID-19. That’s the same percentage as the previous week.
Unemployment benefits could change for some Alabamians
ADOL will begin the review when the current quarter ends on Oct. 3.
Some Alabamians receiving unemployment benefits could see changes in those benefits after the Alabama Department of Labor conducts a required quarterly review and redetermines eligibility, the department said Friday.
The Alabama Department of Labor said in a press release Friday that no action is required by those receiving regular unemployment, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
ADOL will begin the review when the current quarter ends on Oct. 3.
“Some may remain eligible for PUA or PEUC, OR they may be required to change to regular unemployment compensation. Weekly benefit amounts may also change. This depends on eligibility requirements,” ADOL said in the release. “Those claimants whose benefit year ends prior to October 3, 2020, will have their claims reevaluated.”
After the review, if the claimant is determined not to be eligible for regular unemployment compensation, those who qualify may still be able to be paid under PUA or PEUC, and that determination will be made automatically and payment will be issued, the department said in the release.
Claimants must also continue to certify their weeks.
Many claimants are not receiving benefits because they fail to file their weekly certifications, i.e. requests for payment. ADOL cannot pay benefits for weeks that have not been properly certified. Certifications can be done online at labor.alabama.gov or by calling the appropriate number:
- Montgomery – (334) 954-4094
- Birmingham – (205) 458-2282
- Not in Local Area – (800) 752-7389
PUA recipients must file their weekly certifications either by telephone or on the PUA app, at pua.labor.alabama.gov.
Alabama Gulf Coast beaches remain closed for now
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that beaches will remain closed for now due to ongoing repair and cleanup efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sally.
“Working closely with Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft and Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon, as well as Commissioner Billy Joe Underwood, the governor has agreed to keep Baldwin County’s beaches closed until Friday, October 2nd,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “This will allow those communities additional time to get their beaches ready for public enjoyment in a safe, responsible manner.”
Mobile County beaches might open earlier than that.
“Likewise, the governor has been in touch with Mayor Jeff Collier, and she is prepared to amend the beach closure order for Mobile County when he signals that Dauphin Island is ready to reopen their beaches,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “At the present time, all Alabama beaches remain closed until further notice.”
Hurricane Sally came ashore near Gulf Shores on Sept. 16 as a category two hurricane with 105 mile per hour winds. Numerous homes, businesses and farms have been destroyed and many more have seen serious damage.
“As of Wednesday night, approx. 37,000 cubic yards of Hurricane Sally debris (equivalent to roughly 1,700 truck loads worth) has been picked up in Orange Beach since Sunday (4 days),” the city of Orange Beach announced. “Kudos to our debris contractor CrowderGulf.”
“I spent Sunday afternoon meeting with senior staff and I believe we will need some time to get our buildings safe for children to return,” said Baldwin County Schools Superintendent Eddie Taylor in a letter to parents. “We live in a very large county. Power may be on in your area and your school may not have any damage, but we cannot open schools unless all schools can open. Our pacing guides, state testing, meal and accountability requirements are based on the system, not individual schools.”
“We have schools without power and for which we do not expect power until later this week,” Taylor said. “In this new age, we need internet and communications which are currently down so we cannot run any system tests. We have physical damage at our schools including some with standing water, collapsed ceilings and blown out windows. We have debris on our properties and debris blocking our transportation teams from picking up students. All of this must be resolved before we can successfully re-open.”
“If everything goes as planned, I expect we will welcome back students on Wednesday, September 30,” Taylor said. “Prior to returning students to school, we will hold two teacher work days to get our classrooms and our lessons plans back on track.”
SNAP replacement benefits coming to three counties hit by Hurricane Sally
Thousands of SNAP recipients in Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia counties are set to receive automatic replacement benefits as a result of Hurricane Sally, the Alabama Department of Human Resources announced Thursday.
Recipients who received their benefits Sept. 1 through Sept. 16 will receive a replacement of 50 percent of their regular monthly benefit. Those who received supplemental pandemic maximum allotment payments will receive a replacement of 30 percent of those benefits.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service approved the replacement benefits today at the request of DHR. The benefits are intended to replace food purchased with SNAP that was lost to widespread power outages caused when Hurricane Sally made landfall on Sept. 16.
“Our priority is to remove the very real threat of hunger for the many Alabamians who are struggling from the devastation of Hurricane Sally,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “The first step toward that goal is to replace the food that so many Alabamians lost to the storm. We are actively working to obtain additional resources to provide much-needed relief for the region as it recovers.”
Hurricane Sally caused over 265,000 households to lose power for at least four hours in Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia counties, where approximately 54,000 households will receive SNAP benefits totaling an estimated $8.5 million.
Those recipients should expect to see the replacement benefits automatically loaded onto their EBT cards next week.
The Food Assistance Division of DHR administers the SNAP program in Alabama.
More information about the program can be found at dhr.alabama.gov/food-assistance.