Searcy talks Hoover economy, workforce development
Published 11:59 am Monday, March 21, 2016
By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer
HOOVER—As the executive director of the Economic Development Association of Alabama, Jim Searcy knows about the state’s economic landscape. On March 17, Searcy praised Hoover’s position for economic growth during a Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Economic development has changed over the past 20 years and encompasses more than just industrial development, Searcy said. In addition to recruiting businesses in the automotive, aerospace and manufacturing industries Searcy said the EDAA is also looking to attract “retail, large office, regional headquarters and even national” head quarters to Alabama.
Searcy said Hoover is uniquely poised to recruit automotive research and development and will likely see continued growth.
“I think we’re positioned really well to recruit automotive R and D,” Searcy said. “I think you’re going to see the growth that Hoover has had.”
Searcy noted some of Hoover’s assets, especially educational institutions such as UAB and Jefferson State Community College, which are “attractive to corporations.”
Along with strengthening Alabama’s economy, the EDAA is also focused on workforce development at the kindergarten through 12th grade level. Searcy said it is important for students and parents to look at more post-high school educational opportunities, not just a four-year college degree. Two-year degrees and vocational training are also tools for workforce development, he said.
“We’ve really got to work on workforce development,” Searcy said. “(We need to) engage our kids and our parents to understand there are a lot more things to do than a four-year degree.”