Site Selection magazine is one of the stalwarts of the economic development business. It has been a key ingredient of any economic developer’s toolbox for many years. They publish information for expansion planning decision-makers — CEOs, corporate real estate executives and facility planners, human resource managers and consultants to corporations.
And for many years they have done an annual ranking of states with the best business climate. Gaining a place among their top ten is quite an achievement. Governors put out glowing press releases about the recognition and state economic development agencies tell one and all who may be considering locating in their state.
Their most recent report is just out and Alabama comes in at No. 9.
Part of their ranking methodology is to ask professional site selectors (those folks who crunch all the numbers and determine locations that are best suited for certain projects) what are the most important matters they consider when making recommendations.
The top issue is “workforce skills.”
How well educated are potential employees, how trainable are they, etc.
Which leads us to the obvious question that if our “education sucks” as the governor told the world a few days ago, how did we get ranked No. 9 in places to locate a new business?
It should also be noted that of the top ten states, the high school graduation rate is higher in Alabama than in any of the other nine.
And just in case you are wondering, the governor’s new most favorite state, Massachusetts, is not ranked in the Site Selection top 25. What’s up with that?
Editor’s note: I worked for a number of years in economic development at both the local and regional level. It’s a tough world with everyone trying to gain an advantage in any form or fashion. There is no doubt that the video of the governor belittling our education system is now in the hands of economic developers in other states waiting to be used against us.