Alabama is the nation’s top state for manufacturing in a new ranking by Global Trade, a publication focusing on international business.

Alabama came out on top based on several factors: the continual growth of the auto manufacturing and aerospace industries in the state, the AdvantageSites program that pre-certifies sites for development, and rapid environmental permitting that accelerates projects. One of the biggest factors cited in the publication was a skilled workforce, which the state continues to put a focus on.

A Skilled and Passionate Workforce
Manufacturing workers in Alabama total over 270,000, representing more than 13 percent of the state’s workforce. That’s the fifth highest concentration among the states, according to data from the National Association of Manufacturers, and a recent poll shows those workers bring more than talent to the job.

In a 2017 Gallup poll conducted by the Alabama Department of Commerce, Alabama’s workers earned the label of ‘psychological owners’ who drive performance and innovation. That same poll ranked Alabama as having the highest percentage of highly involved, enthusiastic and engaged workers in the U.S.

“Alabama’s manufacturing workers bring energy and passion to their jobs, and they’re always willing to learn new skills that will enhance productivity,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“These qualities set them apart from their counterparts in other states and allow them to manufacture a sweeping variety of top-flight products that are in demand all over the world.”

Workforce Incentives and Initiatives
As a benefit to companies looking to move or expand their business in Alabama, AIDT, the state’s primary workforce development agency, provides job-specific training at no cost. In addition, the state continues to push workforce initiatives with recently established programs like AlabamaWorks, Apprenticeship Alabama and Success Plus.

AlabamaWorks connects businesses with job seekers by linking to career and job training opportunities. The program brings together key components of the K-12 and two-year college systems, state workforce training and placement services, and industry. It’s designed to help every person in Alabama who wants to find a job with one. It also fits every employer that comes to Alabama with the skilled workers needed.

Apprenticeship Alabama offers tax credits to participating companies qualifying apprentices who receive classroom instruction and on-the-job training, while the state’s most recent initiative, Success Plus, aims to prepare a pipeline of workers with industry-recognized skills obtained through earning certificates, credentials or degrees. It’s an answer to the increasing demands employers have for higher levels of talent in modern workplaces.

Global Trade’s ranking comes on the heels of two other national recognitions earned by the state in recent months, Business Facilities’ ranking the state as number one in the nation for business climate and Area Development’s Silver Shovel Award for economic development successes.


The Mercedes plant in Vance and the rest of Alabama’s ever-growing auto industry is a major reason Global Trade named it the nation’s top state for manufacturing. (contributed)