Mississippi, Alabama governors say trained workforce key to success in poor region

The governors of Mississippi and Alabama said today the economically depressed regions along the border between the two states can benefit from recent announcements of new industries if workers can be trained to do the jobs.

German company ThyssenKrupp announced Friday that it would build a giant steel mill about 25 miles north of Mobile, near the Alabama-Mississippi line. Alabama Governor Bob Riley and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, both Republicans, said the area is ripe for spin-off development from the steel plant and from automobile manufacturing plants in both states.

Barbour and Florida Governor Charlie Crist both endorsed Alabama's bid for the plant, which is expected to draw workers from all three states.

Alabama and Mississippi have received a joint $15 million federal grant to train workers in 37 counties along both sides of the state line. The governors spoke at a work force development conference today to discuss how to train people currently making $15,000-$20,000 a year so they can make as much as $70,000 a year.