By Barnett Wright
The Birmingham Times
More than 3,500 jobs have been recruited to Jefferson County in the last 12 months and officials expect that number to increase by year’s end.
“I expect another 200-job announcement soon and we’re a finalist in another more than a 1,000-job project that could be announced later this year,” said David Carrington, chair of the Finance, Information Technology and Business Development Committee.
In the past 60 days, the county has participated in three major announcements: Amazon’s $320 million advanced robotics fulfillment center that will employ a minimum of 1,500 full-time employees; DC BLOX’s data center campus, expected to hire 20 to start with opportunities for additional jobs with clients going forward, is projected to result in $785 million in capital investment over the next 10 years; and Shipt’s decision to keep their corporate headquarters in Birmingham, adding another 881 employees.
That’s in addition to recent announcements by Autocar, Evonik, Grupo Antonio, Iberia Bank and Pack Health and others.
“It’s important to note that these projects are spread throughout the county in both unincorporated and incorporated areas: from Birmingham to Hoover and from McCalla to Center Point,” Carrington said. “These are good paying jobs in diverse industries: from banking to advanced manufacturing and from distribution to technology. Salaries will range from $30,000 to more than $100,000.”
Carrington pointed out that Shipt and Pack Health were started in Birmingham and are indicative of a budding technology ecosystem.
After years of stagnation in some areas, Commission President Jimmie Stephens said he believes the county has “turned the corner.”
One reason is the collaboration among area leaders.
“Teamwork is key to continued success,” he said. “We are stronger when we work together because our combined assets are greater than other competing areas. We just need to continue to communicate with one another and coordinate our actions and success will follow.”
He added, “communication with prospective prospects has been key along with matching vocational education opportunities to specific industry needs. Our workforce is diverse and is capable of meeting the needs of most industry needs . . . We must market our area, tout our strengths and continue to demand excellence from our leaders.”
The benefits of job growth goes beyond the Birmingham metro area.
“There is little down-side to more, better paying jobs,” Carrington said. “They are the key to a healthier, growing community; more opportunities for our young people; fewer crimes; and higher government revenues without raising taxes.”