Category: Economy

Business Education Alliance: High-Level Skills and Education Needed to Meet Workforce Needs

Alabama faces a shortage of 200,000 highly skilled workers to fulfill industry job predictions by 2025 unless it aligns workforce development programs and collaborations between business and education with what employers will need, said the Business Education Alliance in a report released today.

As Alabama shifts away from an industrial-based to knowledge-based economy, the BEA report stated, 60% of the working population will need to attain college-level degrees or credentials to qualify for jobs in 2025. Data for 2017 showed that 43% of the Alabama workforce possessed a college degree or other post-secondary education. Read more.

New Proposal Plans to Connect Birmingham’s City Center to Northwest Neighborhoods

A new project would connect Birmingham’s City Center to neighborhoods in the northwest quadrant that are currently separated from downtown by I-65 and I-59/20.

Urban Impact Inc. and REV Birmingham announced the proposal Tuesday in conjunction with Birmingham’s City Center Master Plan. The proposal seeks to find a consultant to develop a plan to connect the city center to northwest neighborhoods such as Fountain Heights and Smithfield.

Ivan Holloway, executive director of Urban Impact, said these neighborhoods are key to the development of Birmingham’s City Center and the Innovation District. Read more.

Five Points South Wins Entertainment District Designation

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to name Five Points South an “entertainment district,” making it one of only three areas in the city where it’s legal to drink alcohol in public.

The effort was spearheaded by the Five Points Alliance, a consortium of neighborhood business owners and residents. John Boone, the alliance’s vice president, told the council that the ordinance would help the alliance with planning large community events, such as the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and Taste of Five Points food festival. Read more.

Woodfin Touts Neighborhood Revitalization Work, Cuts in Crime Rates in Update on his Administration’s Progress

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin marked the halfway point of his first term in office Tuesday evening with a presentation highlighting his administration’s accomplishments and broadly gesturing toward his plans for the next two years.

Tuesday’s event, which took place at the downtown Birmingham venue Haven, followed a similar presentation that took place in March, also titled “The Big Picture.” Both events were intended to provide an update on the Woodfin administration’s strategic initiatives. But while March’s event featured presentations from a slew of city officials, Tuesday night’s presentation centered on a half-hour speech from Woodfin. Read more.

Don’t Look at Us, Jefferson County Commission Tells People Upset Over Rising Property Taxes

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens used the commission’s committee meeting today as a platform to dispel the misconception that county government is raising property taxes through reappraisals.

“There’s a misconception that the county commission is responsible for this and I want everyone to be clear that the county commission is not responsible for this,” Stephens said. “This is a state function.”

However, county employees do conduct the property appraisals, Stephens said. Property values assigned by the county’s Board of Equalization reflect property sales activity in the market, the chairwoman of the board said. Read more.

New Birmingham Bold Funding Approved for Economic Development Projects, From Help for Small Businesses to Job Training for Single Mothers

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve $680,949.46 in program funding for seven local organizations as part of Mayor Randall Woodfin’s Building Opportunities for Lasting Development initiative.

Adah International, the Birmingham Business Alliance, the Birmingham Business Resource Center, Jefferson State Community College, REV Birmingham, the Salvation Army, and the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham were the beneficiaries in Bold’s second year, following approval of the program’s “inaugural class” last November.

Several of the projects will help small businesses, with a focus on women-owned, minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses, while others will support underprivileged mothers and children and help residents improve their work skills. Read more.

New STEM Lab at Memorial Park Center Will Give Youth Access to Computers, Train Future Workers

Cyber Monday took on new meaning for residents of Birmingham’s Titusville Community with the ribbon-cutting of a STEM lab at Memorial Park Recreation Center.

The six-computer lab is courtesy of a $10,000 contribution from DC Blox, which opened its data storage center across the street in July.

Jeff Uphues, CEO of DC Blox, said he wasn’t in charge of the scheduling of Monday’s event but is glad the day had finally arrived.

“So much of our lives are driven by technology,” Uphues said. “This is just an example and a testament to what’s going on in the community to Titusville, a testament to the city of Birmingham and then the county. Everything that’s going on here is wonderful.”

The STEM lab is the result of DC Blox’s desire to do something for the community. Access to computer hardware, software and instruction was determined to be what the area wanted to provide a boost to area youth. Uphues said more than 800 youth are estimated to live in the Titusville Community and as many as 4,500 are within walking distance.

While the STEM lab is aimed at aiding children, the vision is broader, providing instruction to prepare young adults for the job market, for example. Read more.

Birmingham Water Works Board Approves Rate Increase

Birmingham Water Works customers will have slightly higher monthly water bills starting in January 2020. The Birmingham Water Works Board voted 5-1 Tuesday in favor of a 3.9% rate increase. Rick Jackson, spokesman for the Water Works Board, says the increase is necessary to maintain a viable water system and replace 100-year-old water mains. Read more.