The Economic Development Administration (EDA) made two grants totaling nearly $5 million to the Southwest Alabama region Friday, specifically assisting manufacturing and innovation projects in Mobile and Atmore, it was announced at a Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce press conference.

Matt Erskine, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce, an agency that invests in distressed communities, made the announcement alongside Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson and Atmore Mayor Jim Staff. “We know these key projects will help transform this region’s economy,” said Erskine. 

The first grant, for $2.9 million, will contribute to the renovation and modernization of the old Threaded Fasteners building in Downtown Mobile, which will become a business incubator designed to help entrepreneurs and businesses in the Southwest Alabama region, said Erskine.

A second grant totaling $1.9 million will help build an industrial access road to serve a new aerospace manufacturing facility located at the Rivercane Industrial Park in Atmore, which Erskine said would help alleviate recent economic decline in the city and is expected to create 116 jobs and generate $114 million in private investment.

The grant comes as the U.S. Department of Labor reported Friday that the country added 151,000 jobs in August, a significant decrease from gains in the previous two months. However, the report also noted losses of around 14,000 in manufacturing.

While the unemployment rate in Atmore soared during the global economic crisis of 2007 and 2008, peaking at 13.1 percent in July 2009, it has slowly recovered to 6.4 percent as of July this year, but still trails the Alabama rate of 5.8 percent and the national average of 4.9 percent. Mobile County’s unemployment rate is currently 6.7 percent, according to Alabama Department of Labor Statistics.

Erskine also announced in his speech that the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and Atmore City would be contributing $1.9 million and $580,000 to their projects, respectively.

Mayor Staff of Atmore said that the grant was a “truly regional project,” while Mobile Mayor Stimpson said that he and the Mobile community were “grateful” for the EDA’s investment.

Article Link

Scholarship Sponsors