Thursday, the Lawrence County Industrial Development Board announced that an automotive supplier and a pipe fabricator will open new industrial facilities in Lawrence County, creating a combined 78 new jobs.
CCI Manufacturing USA Corp., a Tier 1 auto supplier, is investing $21.5 million to construct an advanced production facility that will include a rail served facility in the Mallard Fox West Industrial Complex.
“CCI Manufacturing’s decision to invest in a new facility in Lawrence County will provide an economic spark for the area and new jobs for Alabama citizens,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) said. “I’m certain that CCI will discover that Alabama offers the kind of business environment that allows companies to grow and thrive.”
CCI will produce automotive fluids, such as brake fluid and engine coolant. 28 Alabamians will be employed at this location.
Economic developer Dr. Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “CCI has a history of leadership in the research and development of cutting-edge brake fluids for the automotive industry. After World War Two, Japan experienced a high number of automobile accidents, which had a direct correlation to a lack of quality, safe brake fluids. Since its founding in 1949, CCI has developed high- quality brake fluids based on accident investigation and continuous research. The company thrived and now has additional locations and subsidiaries in the United States, the UK, Thailand, China, Mexico, Brazil, and Germany.”
“We are excited to welcome CCI to Lawrence County as the county’s first automotive supplier,” said Tabitha Pace, president and CEO of the Lawrence County IDB. “Our team has worked extremely hard in the past year to make this project a reality, and we look forward to working with CCI in the future to ensure their success in our county.”
Progressive Pipe Fabricators has broken ground on a new 82,000-square-foot facility in Lawrence County. The plant is expected to be fully operational by July 1, creating another 50 jobs.
Progressive Pipe Fabricators is a division of Shambaugh & Sons L.P., and will offer custom fire protection services in the Southeastern U.S.
“Our state-of-the-art fabrication facility will be a tightly controlled environment, which will help us produce an even higher quality product and more efficient processes,” said Rob Vincent, chief operating officer of Shambaugh.
Shambaugh & Son has been in the construction/engineering services business since 1926. They are the largest fire protection, mechanical and electrical contractor in Indiana and the third largest specialty contractor in the U.S. Shambaugh is a subsidiary of EMCOR Group.
Dr. Jones told APR, “Progressive Pipe Fabricators, a division of Shambaugh & Sons L.P., will offer custom fire protection services, including fire sprinkler systems, for customers in the Southeast region of the United States. Shambaugh & Sons, a subsidiary of EMCOR Group, Inc., began in 1926, proving their business models also have stood the test of time.”
North Alabama has become a very robust economy for manufacturers with Mazda-Toyota, Polaris, Blue Origin, and Remington being among the biggest names to announce new production facilities in Huntsville and the surrounding areas.
“Both companies’ decisions to choose Lawrence County and the state of Alabama are a testament to our state’s quality and skilled workforce as well as the creation of an environment conducive for business,” Dr. Jones said.
Original reporting by the Alabama Department of Commerce contributed to this report.
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.