Company plans to build workforce

Published 8:04 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2008

With the necessary infrastructure already in place, Alliance Technology Group can begin production as soon as possible.

That’s contingent upon how quickly the New York City-based company can recruit workers.

After announcing the opening of Alliance Composites Alabama LLC, the company will begin immediately building its initial workforce of 60 employees. It will also invest $15 million of its planned $25 million in the area.

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Alliance purchased two buildings in the Craig Field Industrial complex — one of them formerly owned by Louisiana Pacific — and CEO James Solano hopes some former LP employees will join the new venture.

“We’re a small company, so this is a big stretch,” Solano said. “We’re going to work with the state through their training programs. Also, through word of mouth we hope that some of the same people that worked for Louisiana Pacific will come back to work for us. We’ll rely on that.”

Louisiana Pacific makes the floors for Alliance’s composite shipping containers, which are half the weight of regular steel containers. The patented products reduce shipping costs for companies and offer more durability.

Solano said he hopes the company will begin production by January.

In the meantime, the company will work with numerous agencies to recruit and train workers.

“We’ll get with (Alabama State) Employment Service and try to go through them,” said Wayne Vardaman, executive director of the Selma and Dallas County Economic Development Authority. “We’ll have an announcement, they’ll have their HR person here, and they’ll be doing that pretty quickly. They’ll be training through Alabama Industrial Development Training program.”

AIDT, an institute of Alabama’s Department of Postsecondary Education, encourages economic development through job-specific training. Training services are offered in several areas and are free of charge to new and expanding businesses throughout the state.

In its second year, Alliance plans to increase its workforce to a total of 175.

James Mitchell, president of Wallace Community College Selma and chairman of the Craig Field Airport and Industrial Authority, said WCCS will monitor closely the needs of the company as it expands.

The school will also try to adapt its job training programs.

“Once the company gets here and sets up and gives us an idea of what type of training they need, we’re going to do everything we can through our workforce development office to provide that training,” Mitchell said. “Not just now getting them started, but throughout their tenure here. I think it speaks well. Some my say that Selma is drying up on the vine. I think it’s just beginning, and you’re going to see great additions to our industrial and business community.”