FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Jobs have been at the fore-front for economic development and government leaders in the Shoals for months now.
With 1,600 jobs leaving the area due to closures, Tuesday marked a hopeful turn-around for job recruitment with two jobs announcements.
In a packed board room, the Shoals Economic Development Authority announced to members that two Michigan based metal fabrication companies have made the decision to expand south.
MS Metal Solutions agreed to purchase the equipment and rent the facility at izzy+, which will shut-down their Florence operations by the end of the year.
MS Metal Solutions said they will hire at least 70 of the workers who were scheduled to be let-go.
Good news to Shoals leaders who have seen a rocky 2014.
“To those people who lost their jobs, please, a bump in the road is more than that; it`s a whole lot more than that. But we ran into some difficult times and now we just have to continue on and keep pressing forward,” explained Florence Mayor Mickey Haddock.
Haddock says the news got even better when Consolidated Tool agreed to expand their operations in Colbert County.
They want to double the size of their current operations in Muscle Shoals and hire an additional 20 employees.
Haddock believes the concentrated effort to bring jobs back is paying off.
“Just this morning, I will tell you I have talked to five different people in five different states about opportunities. So, just working closely with each and every one, looking to partner with anyone who wants to partner to try and bring jobs to our area,” stated Haddock.
Development and government officials say they believe the Shoals is back on the road to luring new manufacturing facilities.
Over a five year period starting in July of 2010, the Shoals has seen a 33% increase in the number of manufacturing jobs created.
That’s the highest rate of increase in the state of Alabama.