May 16, 2012

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Alabama Economic Alliance Announces New Members, Enacts Implementation Model

Montgomery - Three new Alliance members were announced during the Alabama Economic Development Alliance quarterly meeting:  Dr. Thomas Bice, Alabama State Superintendent of Education; Susan Price, Interim Postsecondary Chancellor; and Dr. Robert Witt, UA System Chancellor.
“The addition of Dr. Bice to the Alliance completes the workforce development picture by ensuring that career tech and other K-12 programs are aligned with the opportunities in the state’s economy and our children are prepared for success,” said Alliance Chair and Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield.
Dr. Witt and Dr. Price were added to the Alliance after assuming new leadership positions, which make them members of the Alliance per the executive order enacted in July 2011.
 “When Governor Bentley tasked the Alliance with creating a strategic plan for economic development, this group invested time and energy into doing just that,” said Canfield. “What makes the Accelerate Alabama plan noteworthy is that this group of leaders continues to put the same energy into the implementation of the plan.”
During the February meeting an implementation model based on production planning processes was presented to the group. The model, a tool to measure the strategic plan’s progress, categorizes specific objectives into four areas of focus: Human capital, physical capital, financial capital, or target opportunities.
As the plan moves forward, groups with areas of responsibility will utilize the model to provide updates to the Alliance, which will provide oversight.
“This is a strong model that allows the Alliance to continue to build upon on its work, ensuring results that propel the economy of Alabama forward,” said Canfield. “It also provides a mechanism to identify and address areas that need attention and to develop action items that keep the plan moving.”
During the meeting the Alliance also noted successes achieved in the three areas of focus.
Recruitment:  The Department of Commerce reports increased project activity over the same quarter of 2011. Additionally, six economic development bills have passed the Legislature this session.
Retention:  The Alabama Workforce Training System completed the third week of a 13-week training program for its employees, which will increase their ability to assist existing industry by connecting them to available programs.
Renewal:  The Alabama Lanchpad Business Plan Competition Finale will conclude May 18 at Alabama State University. Six teams from three research universities are competing for a $100,000 award to be used as seed money. An additional $100,000 was awarded during the proof-of-concept competition in Birmingham on April 17.
About the Economic Development Alliance:  Created by executive order of Governor Robert Bentley in July 2011, the Alliance is a group of leaders from the public and private sectors who are vested in the state’s economic development efforts. After an intensive six-month planning process, the Alliance released a three-year strategic plan for economic development in the state, Accelerate Alabama, in January 2012.
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