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Alabama League of Municipalities selects 30 communities for new Economic Development Academy

The Alabama League of Municipalities (ALM) has selected 30 communities from across the state to participate in its newly-formed Economic Development Academy.

ALM created the academy in July as part of its effort to assist local communities with their business and industry recruitment practices.

Greg Cochran, ALM executive director, outlined his group’s intent in establishing the project.

“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,” he said.

As part of its special design, ALM’s academy employs a team model.

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

“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,” Cochran explained. “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.”

The communities represented in the inaugural class are 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.

The academy curriculum lasts a full year beginning on November 1. Graduation requirements include conducting an economic vitality survey of their communities, completion of a community assessment/project and attending 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.

Wade, former head of the Alabama Development Office, is leading curriculum development for the classes.

At the time of ALM’s announcement of the academy, Wade offered his view of the academy’s mission.

“The objective is for Alabama communities to be the best they can be and competitive for growth and new revenue,” he said. “Setting realistic expectations for each community will be foremost.”

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Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia