Why we go to Paris

by Mayor Sandy Stimpson

Why do we go to the Paris Air Show? One word: Jobs. You can’t be any more specific than that.

Mobile has a generational opportunity because of Airbus and we are 100 percent focused on making the most of that opportunity. Aerospace jobs are some of the most highly-skilled, highest paying jobs in the world, and the competition for them is fierce. To get them to Mobile, we must come here to recruit them.

Our mission is simple. Business is all about relationships. To be successful, we must build upon our existing relationships and while constantly working to establish new ones. The great thing about the air show is that it’s a unique opportunity to network with top-level executives from the world’s leading aerospace firms. Mobile has a great story to tell, and this is the best possible audience to share it with.

Just because Airbus is in Mobile and assembling planes, our work is not done. In fact, it’s just beginning. We are actively recruiting additional aerospace companies with a particular focus on potential Airbus suppliers. The good news is that the interest level is high, our brand is strong and our leadership team is in sync.

One of our primary targets is Airbus itself. Part of our strategy is to continue recruiting Airbus because there are tremendous opportunities for Mobile beyond assembly of the A320 family. The great thing about that is, nobody knows what we’re capable of in Mobile better than Airbus.

Our momentum is stronger than ever. The recent decisions by Amazon and Wal-Mart to build distribution centers in our community are being noticed around the world. The Port of Mobile already was named one of the fastest growing ports in America even before those investments. We are continuing to add jobs in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology. Tourism is growing, entrepreneurship is booming and, of course, our quality of life is improving every day.

We have a busy schedule of meetings at the air show and we have great support from our state delegation led by Gov. Kay Ivey. While I won’t give away anything to our competition, I am looking forward to engaging with industry leaders such as Airbus, ST Aerospace, Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation. We will make sure they know that Mobile is open for business.

We like to say that, when it comes to aerospace, even the sky is not the limit for where Mobile can go. Future generations will look back at this time in our history and hopefully be able to say that we made the most of the opportunity we were given. Paris is just a step on that journey.

 

4,000 reasons to say YES

When I joined Mayor’s Stimpson’s administration, the vision was very clear: we will become the safest most business and family friendly city in America by 2020. It is up to each staff member to ensure that vision is a concrete reality. Well, business is booming. Capital improvement is happening all over the City and we have put measures in place in our court systems to stop punishing poverty.

What about our young people?

Their voice was missing but not their actions. In 2016, we saw a spike in violent youth crime. Why? We asked young people from ages 14 to 24, and they all had the same response; we need activities and we want to work.  In October 2016, we created the Youth Empowered for Success (YES) Initiative. Through this initiative, we wanted to provide our young people not only what young people wanted, but by also looking at data to see what they needed to learn, grow and thrive including safety, economic security and outreach through education and mentoring. In order for our youth to be empowered, we as a City wanted our youth to constantly be reminded of our initiative’s core values: love, hope, respect, protection, opportunity, resources and most importantly fun.

How are we ensuring success?

Our recreation staff has been diligently working to ensure activities are in our community centers for the young and the young at heart. We have created an interdepartmental initiative where our fire and law enforcement recruits are engaged with the community as a part of their training. Once training is complete, every recruit will have already established relationships with the community they will serve prior to receiving their badge. We are consistently monitoring positive and challenging youth activity, and are looking at strategies to remove barriers and increase access to evidenced based approaches and best practices. You will begin to see YES Zones all over our City that ensure safe and youth friendly spaces and places. Our professional athletes are stepping up and providing summer camps that provide rigor to the body and mind. We are actively seeking over $3 million in grant funding to build the capacity of young people in our community.

Job growth in Mobile is increasing, and we want youth to be a huge part of the City’s workforce. Through the YES Initiative, we are providing opportunities for evidenced based job skill training and creating awareness that our youth are ready to work. We made funding available for businesses to hire two or more youth this summer. We have assisted the Mobile County Public Schools and the Mobile Housing Board in securing additional businesses to work with their summer job internship programs. We have also partnered with the City of Gulf Shores and Baldwin County hospitality companies to provide jobs for our youth in Gulf Shores. Not only are we assisting businesses and organizations with hiring young people, we are hiring more than 90 youth in our City departments as well.

Do kids really want a job?

Well, the City received more than 4,000 applications this summer! 4,000 reasons to say our youth want opportunities. Our youth want to be productive. 4,000 reasons why you should invest your time, talent and energy into their current potential and future possibilities.

So how can you say YES?

Hire a young person this summer. Ask the managers where you spend your dollars how they are investing in youth. Empowerment begins the moment you decide to take the first step and turn a vision into a reality. Use your power of one to continue the momentum of change. Say YES to the vision of ensuring success for our youth.