Local cities selected for inaugural Economic Development Academy

Published 3:03 pm Friday, October 8, 2021


Two Shelby County cities have been selected to participate in the Alabama League of Municipalities’ new Economic Development Academy.

Earlier this year, the ALM announced the creation of its Economic Development Academy and launched the application portal via its website.

The following 30 communities will form the inaugural class on Nov. 1 in Montgomery: Alexander City, Bessemer, Center Point, Centreville, Chelsea, Coffeeville, Columbiana, Elba, Enterprise, Gadsden, Geneva, Good Hope, Guin, Hartselle, Irondale, Lipscomb, Monroeville, Mount Vernon, Oneonta, Opp, Ozark, Pike Road, Scottsboro, Selma, Tallassee, Tarrant, Thomasville, Trussville, Tuskegee and Union Springs.

Unlike existing economic development programs, ALM’s Academy is tailored to municipal officials using a team model.

The mayor or another designated elected or administrative official and at least two councilmembers are required to participate from each community to form a team of up to five members.

“The League is excited to provide training to local leaders that is specifically designed to help them further understand best practices when recruiting and retaining industry,” ALM Executive Director Greg Cochran said. “Our mission at the League is to ensure that we are providing intentional opportunities that will allow Alabama’s municipalities to be places where citizens want to live, work, play and prosper and businesses want to invest. We appreciate Neal Wade, who has been tapped to develop the curriculum and conduct the classes, the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and the Resource Advisory Council for their unwavering support and participation.”

ALM’s Academy will take place over a full year beginning on Nov. 1 with an orientation. To graduate, participants must conduct an economic vitality survey of their communities; complete a community assessment/project; and attend four statewide training sessions held at an ACCS location.

At the conclusion of the year-long program, graduates will be presented a certificate of municipal economic development from the ALM and the ACCS.

To further reinforce ALM’s Academy and expand its reach, an Academy Resource Advisory Council was developed to add input, assist with training and provide additional resources.

The Council provides significant and necessary subject knowledge and is comprised of: Alabama Department of Commerce, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, AIDT, Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, Alabama Power Company, Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission, Business Council of Alabama, C Spire, Clarke/Mobile Gas, Economic Development Association of Alabama, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Enterprise State Community College, Frazer Lanier, Jefferson State Community College, Macon County Economic Development Authority, Manufacture Alabama, PowerSouth, Shoals Economic Development Authority, Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, Southeast Gas, Spire, Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments, United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Wallace State Community College.