Communities Get Help to Attract Hyundai Suppliers

We've all heard the numbers, Hyundai plus suppliers can equal up to 15,000 new jobs for central and south Alabama. And there's help now for those who want to bring some of those jobs to their own communities.

Several hundred area business and community leaders turned out in force for Tuesday's information about what they could do to enhance the chances of Hyundai suppliers setting up shop in their area.

One of the things Governor Don Siegelman told the leaders is that a team of pretend business prospects will visit communities to see how they look and to ask questions about the factors that matter most to businesses and to families. The visitors will want to know how good the educational system is, the quality and number of area roads and bridges, the quality of the workforce and local technical services. Simple questions like, 'Will a cell phone work in this area.'

And for those communities that don't now have adequate services, the governor and those working with him say they are ready to help.  Community leaders say the help is definitely needed. State Senator Hank Sanders says the Selma area's problem is infrastructure. "One of the biggest problems for us really has to do with the infrastructure. If you don't have the adequate sewer and water then that's a problem."

State Senator George Clay says the Tuskegee area labor force is his concern. "I think education and training of our labor force will probably be the most important thing. We've not had any industry of that type. Basically, we've had Tuskegee University and the V.A. hospital and our people are not manufacturing oriented."

State Representative Mac Gipson says Prattville has a similar problem to that in Selma. "(We need) a little more infrastructure. We need a better entranceway to South Industrial Park. We've got to run a sewer line to our North Industrial Park. There are things that we just didn't quite have in place in time. All of this was in the works, but this came upon us quick, so we're going to have to move quick."

Meetings will continue in towns all over the state as leaders try to figure out not only how to beautify their communities, but also how to improve them. Business and community leaders who want more information on the "Communities of Excellence" can call the Alabama Development Office at 242-0400 or may contact the individuals listed below.

Fast Track "Communities Of Excellence" Program
10 Steps to Success 


  • A solid education system is the foundation for a community's quality of life.
  • Alabama communities need schools that produce students with the basic tools they need to enter Alabama's new high-tech and high-skill economy.
  • In addition to K-12 education, Alabama communities should provide access to pre-kindergarten opportunities, arts education and a rich assortment of skills training programs.

Robert Nomberg, K-12 and higher education; governor's education policy advisor, 334-353-3590;
Pam Baker, early learning, commissioner of Dept. of Children's Affairs, 334-223-0502

Roads and Bridges
  • No community can prosper without a capable and convenient transportation system.
  • Communities need safe roads and bridges that provide access from home to work, work to market, and beyond.
  • Local leaders should work with ALDOT to take advantage of the $250 million available for roads and brides through Amendment One.

Paul Bowlin, director Alabama Department of Transportation, 334-242-6311

Regional Airport

  • Given the speed and convenience of air travel and delivery, adequate airport facilities can be the critical factor in attracting new industry or enhancing existing ones.
  • Airports capable of accommodating cargo aircraft, on and off the runway, can add a new dimension to a community's economy.

Paul Bowlin, director Alabama Department of Transportation, 334-242-6311

Industrial Parks

  • A well-placed and well-equipped industrial park can serve as the heart of a community's economy,
  • Industrial parks can provide a sense of industrial presence, as well as opportunities for collaboration that are vital in the new, high-tech economy.

Todd Strange, director Alabama Development Office, 334-242-0400
Nexton Marshall, director Center for Economic Growth, 334-242-0400

Workforce Capability

  • New and expanding industries seek individuals with not only a strong work ethic, but the basic skills to add value to their company's operations.
  • The introduction of Alabama Works into local communities can equip workers with the skills to take advantage of emerging industries.
  • Local communities also should focus on adult literacy and continuing adult education.

Ed Castile, Alabama Industrial Development Training, 334-280-4411

Childcare and Healthcare

  • When it comes to quality of life, a good childcare and healthcare system can make the difference in convincing new industries to locate in an area.
  • Parents who will fill new jobs need childcare facilities that they trust to give their children safe, high- quality learning experiences.
  • Access to routine and emergency medical care, especially for children and seniors, creates good learning environments for children and good working environments for local industry.

Pam Baker, early childhood health, commissioner of Dept. of Children's Affairs, 334-223-0502;
Bill Fuller, Department of Human Resources, 334-242-1160

Technological Capability

  • Alabama's new economy demands wide cell-phone coverage and access to the Internet and to high- speed data connections that can reach worldwide markets.
  • Access to the information highway, in addition to physical highways, can open up new channels of commerce for businesses and distance learning for Alabama students.

Kay Argo, governor's advisor on technology, 334-353-1130

Local Support and Planning
  • The ability of a community to control its own destiny through local decision-making is critical.
  • In order to take ownership of their future, Alabama communities must be able to invest in their local education system and other local services to raise their standard of living.

Nick Sellers, governor's policy advisor, 334-353-1277
Anne Payne, director Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs

Culture and Community Relations

  • Culture is important to every community. Local and accessible dining and entertainment, such as theater or golf, can help attract CEOs to a community.
  • On the other hand, poor race relations hamper many Alabama communities and keep them disunited.
  • The unrest and division that poor race relations cause often outweigh the positive qualities a community possesses, masking their attractiveness to new industries.

Martha Eamhardt, governor's office director of constituent services, 334-353-1075

Media and Public Relations

  • Cooperation between community leaders and local media can reinforce local efforts to attract jobs and raise the standard of living
  • Communities should put their best foot forward through the efforts of local media and public relations outlets.

Mike Kanarick, governor's press office, 334-242-7150

Source: governor's office