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Manufacturing Stars Fall on Alabama

Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William J. Canary joined National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons at BCA member Altec Inc. in Birmingham on Thursday for the Alabama segment of the NAM’s State of Manufacturing Tour.

Timmons, Canary, and Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield joined Altec Chairman and CEO Lee Styslinger III, employees and business and community leaders, to discuss manufacturing’s optimistic future, the rewarding opportunities the industry offers, and the urgent need to build a modern U.S. manufacturing workforce.

“Innovation is changing the way our industry looks,” Timmons said. “But it doesn’t change what’s at our core: men and women who have lent their talents to build something bigger than themselves, people finding purpose in making things that matter. Manufacturing in America is a confident industry. We’re growing-and the American people want to see manufacturing in this country grow even stronger.”

During the discussion, Styslinger, Altec staff members, and Canary explained how manufacturing is thriving in Alabama and providing highly technical and stable jobs formerly called blue collar jobs but now are called “New Collar.”

“Alabama’s economy is strong, and manufacturing is a key driver of our growth,” Canary said. “Manufacturing facilities account for more than 17 percent of our total output and employ 13.3 percent of our workforce, and these numbers are only expected to grow. The BCA is proud to partner with the NAM to ensure manufacturing job creation and opportunities are robust throughout Alabama.”

Altec Inc. is a leading equipment producer of electric utility, telecommunications, tree care, lights and signs, and contractor equipment.

In an op-ed in the Birmingham Business Journal, Timmons and Canary wrote how manufacturing is changing the economic landscape of Alabama and providing bright futures for Alabama’s young men and women.

“The NAM and the BCA want to show parents, students and the public what is possible in modern manufacturing and-more importantly-how they can be a part of this thriving industry,” they wrote.

In conjunction with the NAM’s State of Manufacturing Tour, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey proclaimed Feb. 15 “Creators Wanted Day.”

“More people than ever before are employed in the great state of Alabama,” Governor Ivey said. “And as our economic opportunity continues to pick up, we must ensure our workforce is strong and prepared. Here in Alabama, we are bringing our leaders in government, business and education together to make certain our students are receiving the most advanced and appropriate training for career opportunities in industries like manufacturing. We couldn’t be more excited to have the NAM here today showcasing the future of manufacturing and all the opportunities it has to offer.”

In addition to Alabama, tour events were scheduled for California, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and New York.

For four years, the annual NAM State of Manufacturing Tour has focused the nation’s attention on the industry that is the backbone of the American economy, highlighting the more than 12 million men and women who are building our future
The BCA is the NAM’s exclusive representative in Alabama.

Photo above: Joining National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons, third from left, at Altec Inc. in Birmingham for the NAM’s State of Manufacturing Tour, were, from left, Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William J. Canary, Altec Chairman and CEO Lee Styslinger III, (Timmons), and Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield. (Contributed)


U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue released a statement on President Trump’s $1.7 billion infrastructure plan and issued recommendations.

“We applaud the Trump administration for laying out its vision for moving ahead on this critical issue,” Donohue said last week. “This will be no small undertaking. America’s infrastructure needs are significant and there’s a lot of work ahead, but now is the time to get to it.”

Meanwhile, the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure and the BCA are working in the Legislature to prepare for Alabama infrastructure legislation next year.

“We’re going to get this issue fixed for the state of Alabama,” said BCA Chairman Perry Hand, chairman of Volkert Inc. in Mobile. “What we are aiming for in 2019 is to pass the funding for infrastructure.”

The U.S. Chamber has outlined a four-point plan for infrastructure modernization and investment, which includes: Increasing the federal fuel user fee by 25 cents; implementing a multi-faceted approach for leveraging more public and private resources; streamlining the permitting process at the federal, state, and local level; expanding the American workforce through work-based learning and immigration reform.

Details on the U.S. Chamber’s infrastructure plan can be found here.

Drew Harrell, BCA deputy chief of staff and executive director of the AAI, in a television interview, explained the benefit of Alabama’s road plan.

The BCA is the U.S. Chamber’s exclusive representative in Alabama.


Many technical and science jobs don’t require a college degree, but some do require two-year technical degrees or vocational training. These jobs can pay pretty good and provide lifelong employment.

Lawmakers know this and on Thursday shined the spotlight on new programs to help boost the number of science and technology workers in the U.S., the Hill reported. “Fulfilling our STEM research needs… is essential for economic competitiveness,” House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said during a hearing on science, tech, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs.

The subcommittee on research and technology heard from educators who highlighted vocational training programs, two-year degrees, and community colleges to help fill the gap.

According to the National Science Board, the number of STEM jobs increased by 34 percent over the last decade. At least 16 million of these jobs – including IT specialists and cybersecurity analysts – do not require a bachelor’s degree. Without emphasis, the technical skills gap could leave up to 2 million jobs unfilled by 2025.

The Manufacturing Institute is an arm of the National Association of Manufacturers. Jay Timmons is NAM’s president and CEO and is chairman of the Manufacturing Institute. (The BCA has a Manufacturing Advocacy Council.)

“[Students are] planning for jobs that either won’t exist when they get out of school, are rapidly evolving, or it’s not within that skill frame where most of the jobs … would be,” Montez King, executive director of the National Institute of Metalworking Skills, told lawmakers.

Dr. Victor McCrary, a vice president at Morgan State University and a member of the National Science Board’s Task Force on the Skilled Technical Workforce, said employers should rethink hiring practices. He said many employers insist on applicants having a four-year degree, but in many cases proper vocational training can mean a more qualified candidate.

Some universities are now creating innovative new training programs and devoting resources to opening technical schools, the Hill said.


Alabama’s Senior Member of Congress Meets with President Trump

Alabama Daily News (2/14) “U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt was a part of a high-level trade policy meeting between lawmakers and President Trump at the White House Tuesday. The meeting centered around how United States policies might evolve on trade, particularly as it relates to NAFTA and other trade deals that might get renegotiated soon.

“Aderholt has repeatedly placed a ‘buy American’ rider on appropriations legislation requiring domestic public work projects only use American iron and steel. ‘I took the opportunity to thank President Trump for his support of my ‘Buy American’ provision that mandates the use of American made iron and steel in publicly funded infrastructure projects. I also applauded his efforts to expand the American manufacturing base,’ Aderholt said.

“‘While our trade deficits with other countries continue to balloon, life is being drained out of the American dream. We have lost good paying jobs that allow people to buy homes, send their kids to college, give to their churches and have a nest egg for retirement.'”

Potential Impact Here if U.S. Supreme Court Approves S.D. Economic Nexus Statute

Bradley Insights and Events State and Local Tax Alert (Ely, Thistle 2/13) “To the surprise of many, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the State of South Dakota’s petition for writ of certiorari in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. et al., No. 17-494, on January 12. The case involves the constitutionality of South Dakota’s ‘economic nexus’ statute, which requires online retailers lacking a physical presence in the state nevertheless to collect and remit sales tax on sales to South Dakota customers – an ‘in-your-face’ challenge to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992). This alert focuses on the potential impact on Alabama and its local governments if the Court in essence approves the South Dakota statute.

“According to a December 18, 2017, GAO study … [the] latest projection of lost revenue to Alabama was in the $200 million range, which seems conservative. So, thinking aloud, what might happen in Alabama if the Supreme Court indeed blesses the South Dakota economic nexus statute? First and foremost, those approximately 185 online vendors who have voluntarily joined Alabama’s Simplified Sellers Use Tax Remittance Program … may continue to remit monthly a flat 8 percent sellers’ use tax to the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) and are protected from a change in the physical presence rule if it’s caused by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

“If the Supreme Court rules in favor of South Dakota, one can expect other states that levy a sales/use tax (including Alabama) to promptly enact their own, hopefully parallel collection statutes. Thankfully, at least much of the (taxpaying) framework is already in place via the ADOR’s online filing portal, ONE SPOT, and the Simplified Sellers Use Tax Remittance Program … through an ADOR website portal.”

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Dana Beyerle
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