HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Rocket City and surrounding areas have seen a surge of new job opportunities with the growing automotive tech industry.
From Mazda Toyota to the technology park in Decatur and everything in between, every announcement has created new jobs to the area.
Thousands of open positions have been announced in relation to new ventures connected to the Mazda Toyota plant in Limestone County.
Both city and state leaders said the new ventures mean people from the surrounding areas have access to fresh employment.
Most recently YKTA, a billion-dollar joint venture, broke ground near the Mazda Toyota plant, bringing an additional 650 jobs.
On the other hand, there is a skilled labor shortage in the state of Alabama, and some are concerned that only a low percentage of local workers will fill the new openings.
Mayor Tommy Battle said, of course, local hiring is ideal, but they may not be the only ones to fill some of the positions.
"You will in source with all the people who are already here, coming up through the high schools, the two-year colleges, the four-year colleges," explained Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. "We have enough jobs to fill that we need that plus we also need to outsource. We need to attract people to our community. Between both sides, that's how we're going to make sure our economy keeps rolling and that we fill the jobs that we've already brought into the area."
The mayor said the City of Huntsville has a three percent unemployment rate now, and people are being employed wherever they're qualified.
But he said it's also important to share the wealth and attract people from elsewhere to move here to live and work.
City leaders said one focus is providing the educational opportunities necessary for the younger generation to step into some of these roles.
Battle said each industrial job has a spin-off of 2 and a half more jobs, and those are the jobs that keep the economy strong.