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    BESPIN’S $21M APPROPRIATION PROVIDES MAJOR BOOST TO AF INNOVATION
    Business Enterprise Systems Product Innovation (BESPIN), the initiative driving the digital and mobile transformation of the Business Enterprise Systems (BES) Directorate for the Air Force in Montgomery, received a major financial boost at the end of 2020 when Congress approved $21 million in appropriations. The funds are indicative of the Air Force’s continued intention to support the project. This will allow BESPIN to continue to grow its agile software development factory through partnerships with small private sector software developers and to deliver training and capability to the US Air Force and US Space Force.
     
    TECHMGM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TAPPED BY GOVERNOR TO SERVE ON STEM COUNCIL
    TechMGM’s Executive Director, Charisse Stokes, has been selected by Governor Ivey to represent Congressional District 3 on the Executive Committee for the Alabama STEM Council. The Council was formed on September 21, 2020, by the governor’s Executive Order No. 721 to advise on ways to improve STEM-related education, career awareness and workforce development across the state, building on and extending Alabama’s Roadmap to STEM Success. Stokes was also recently appointed by Governor Ivey to the Alabama Innovation Commission.
     
    MONTGOMERY MAKES TWO MAJOR TRAVEL LISTS
    Montgomery’s purposeful tourism experience along with the Chamber’s strategic publicity efforts have continued to earn the city rankings as a “must-see” international travel destination. Already this year, Bloomberg.com included Montgomery on its list of 24 Places to Go in 2021, along with spots like Costa Rica, British Virgin Islands and the Maldives, all chosen for their especially profound experiences. Travel & Leisure named the city among the Best Places to Travel in February, placing it among popular locations like Park City, Utah, Aruba and Maui, Hawaii.
     
    AIDT AND HYUNDAI POWER TRANSFORMERS PARTNER ON WORKER TRAINING
    AIDT and Hyundai Power Transformers are partnering on an immersive-learning job training program to increase the number of manufacturing professionals in the power transformer industry. They will roll out job training on a statewide virtual scale with immersive learning startup TRANSFR. This latest collaboration between AIDT and HPT will help advance the goal Governor Ivey set in 2018 of adding 500,000 skilled employees to Alabama’s workforce by 2025. The training program will use a simulation of HPT’s seven-story manufacturing facility to mimic the workspace, machinery used and safety protocols required to make and move power transformers that
    are as heavy as 800,000 pounds.
     
    MONTGOMERY-MADE HYUNDAI ELANTRA NAMED CAR OF THE YEAR
    Made at Montgomery’s Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, the Hyundai Elantra has been named 2021 North American Car of the Year by the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year automotive media jury. This prestigious award recognizes excellence in innovation, design, safety, performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value. This is the second time the Hyundai sedan has won the Car of the Year title; the other was in 2012.
     
    MAYOR REED HOSTS COVID-19 RELIEF WEBINAR FOR LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES

    On January 19, Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed hosted a webinar offering vital information on the recent re-opening of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Experts from the Alabama SBA, the SBDC at Alabama State University and Synovus Bank offered the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the programs and gave guidance on how to access this vital support for small businesses most impacted by COVID-19. A recording of the webinar is available on the Chamber’s YouTube page.
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