Lockheed Martin held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday at the site of their factory in Courtland. Lockheed Martin is building two new buildings at the Courtland facility for the assembly, integration and testing of hypersonic programs. The company will locate the management and engineering workforce for these programs in Huntsville.
The move will mean 72 new jobs in Courtland and 200 new jobs in Huntsville over the next three years with additional job growth expected.
“It was exciting today as Lockheed Martin broke ground on their new Advanced Hypersonic Manufacturing Building in Courtland,” Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) said. “I enjoyed taking part in today’s ceremony alongside Governor Ivey, Senator Shelby, Congressman Aderholt, Army Chief of Staff General James McConville, and many others. At this facility, Lockheed will assemble, integrate, and test hypersonic weapons systems that are crucial to America’s security.”
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) said that he was, “Honored to be a part of today’s groundbreaking for the new @LockheedMartin facility in Courtland, Alabama. Hypersonic weapons are the future, and developing them is a critical priority as we continue to innovate and improve our nation’s defense. Excited this work will take place in Alabama. @ Courtland, Alabama.”
“Lockheed Martin has a longstanding relationship with the state of Alabama, and I am proud to see that strengthen even more as they make our state the flagship location for their hypersonic programs,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) said. “Both Courtland and Huntsville will gain new jobs, which is always welcome news. I am proud and confident that Alabamians will help advance Lockheed Martin’s goals as we begin working towards the advancements of the future.”
“The decision to bring hypersonic manufacturing to this region would not have been possible without the support of the State of Alabama, our local partners including Lawrence and Madison counties, the cities of Courtland and Huntsville and Tennessee Valley Authority as well as those elected representatives in Congress,” said Lockheed Vice President Scott Keller. “On behalf of Lockheed Martin, we are honored to expand our presence in Northern Alabama and watch as the next cohort of innovators take advanced defense technology to levels we once thought were impossible.”
Keller is the Vice President and general manager for Strategic and Missile Defense for Lockheed Martin.
“Aerospace and aviation are dominant industries in Alabama,” Huntsville economic developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter. “Our state supports the Department of Defense, both economically as well as in terms of genuine appreciation for men and women in uniform. The US Army’s selection of Lockheed Martin in Courtland (Lawrence County) reaffirms that Alabama has the quality and skilled workforce necessary to develop prototypes that are critical to missions involving national security. The 272 positions created over the next three years in Courtland and Huntsville as a result of Lockheed Martin’s newest announcement are quality jobs that will be a tremendous economic boost for the area.”
Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Martin Marillyn Hewson was also present at the event as well as Lockheed Executive Vice President for Space Rick Ambrose. Officials representing the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and U.S. Navy were on hand for the groundbreaking event in Courtland to mark the occasion at the site of the next hypersonic production facility.
Ambrose hosted an event in Huntsville later that day to celebrate the increased workforce expansion as part of this effort.
Lockheed Martin has operated in Alabama for decades and has over 2,000 employees based here. Their efforts in Alabama includes research and development on rockets and space launch vehicles, tactical missiles, space exploration, and air and missile defense targets. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to expansion at its missile production facility in Pike County.
Lockheed Martin is an industry leader in the development, testing and fielding of hypersonic systems. Hypersonic weapons travel at over five times the speed of sound making it very difficult for existing defense systems to intercept and destroy a hypersonic weapon. Hypersonic strike capabilities have been identified by the U.S. government as a critical capability that must be addressed in support of the U.S. National Security Strategy.
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.