Dale County receives FDI-Qualified Community Designation
Ozark, Alabama – Dale County is the first in the state to receive Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)-Qualified Community designation. The community is one of only five in the nation to receive this designation.
“This certification is significant for Ozark. It demonstrates to companies across the world that we are a shovel ready community,” Ozark Mayor Bob Bunting said.
The FDI-Qualified Community certification was developed jointly by the European American Investment Council and Navigator Consulting, an international consulting firm with expertise in international site selection. Being experts in the field of FDI attraction, the two organizations are developing this community certification from the ground up to become a gold standard for attractiveness, competitiveness and investment-readiness for FDI.
The certification is the first of its kind in that it assesses the community holistically with a specific focus on infrastructure, workforce preparedness, community leadership, cultural competence, and intercultural communication—assets that are essential to successfully attracting, securing, and retaining international investment. Other communities receiving the designation include LaGrange, Georgia, and two communities in Texas.
The certification process was managed locally by the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation and required a team of local entities and statewide partners supporting or participating in the process. “The certification illustrates to prospective businesses that we have the workforce, infrastructure, and leadership in place to ensure your success” said Veronica Crock, Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation President. “It took a team to make this happen and we are grateful to our local leadership, existing industry, and our partners across the state.”
According to SelectUSA data, foreign direct investment accounted for $1.6 trillion in investment in the United States manufacturing industry alone in 2017 and directly supported 2.45 million U.S. jobs in 2015. As of August 2017, Alabama citizens employed by majority foreign-owned companies exceeded 97,200. Philip Marschall, Site Selection Partner at Navigator Consulting, adds “FDI jobs pay significantly more per job created than the U.S. average and they are typically there to stay long-term, as the companies are looking for a new home to grow.” Moreover, SelectUSA data indicates that the average FDI in rural America is larger than the average for metropolitan areas making attracting FDI a target for rural areas.
Dale County is home to international companies such as Michelin North America and MAHA USA and is home to the Army Aviation Center of Excellence which trains rotary-wing pilots from over 60 foreign countries. “This certification shows that the potential is there for continued growth in our region,” said Dale County Commission Chairperson Mark Blankenship. “I believe this is an example of the progress we can make by working together.”