June 16, 2014 Bishop State Community College is expected to play a vital role in Southwest Alabama’s designation as one of the first 12 manufacturing communities by the U.S. Department of Commerce, said the college president, Dr. James Lowe, Jr. The Commerce Department announced on May 28, 2014, that Southwest Alabama is has received the designation. The U.S. Commerce Department-led program, part of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies that help communities attract and expand private investment in the manufacturing sector and increase international trade and exports. "As the only two-year college in the region that trains for the shipbuilding sector, Bishop State has a tremendous opportunity to have a greater impact in the training and skill development of welders and associated occupations," Lowe said. “The designation will give the Mobile region global exposure that will have long-term economic impact,” said Dr. Kathy Thompson, Dean of Technical Education and Workforce Development, at Bishop State. Seventy communities applied. As part of the application, each had to demonstrate the significance of manufacturing already present in their region and develop strategies to make investments in workforce and training, advanced research, infrastructure and site development, supply chain support, trade and international investment, and operational improvement and capital access. The University of South Alabama will lead the consortium with the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. Other local agencies participating in the Manufacturing Communities initiative include: Mobile County, City of Mobile, Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council, Mobile Works, AIDT Maritime Training Center, Gulf State Shipbuilding Consortium, Alabama Technology Network and Alabama State Port Authority. For more information about the Manufacturing Communities designation, visit the Department of Commerce website. .

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