Auto worker

The Black Belt is working to get a piece of the action in Alabama's growing auto sector. Photo from Mercedes-Benz U.S. International. 

A proposal to drive the benefits of the state’s thriving electronic automotive industry into the Black Belt has received seed money from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The University of Alabama received a $500,000 grant to work with community partners to grow the automotive sector and increase labor participation rates in what the proposal calls the “wider West Alabama region,” including Dallas County and other Black Belt counties.

The University of Alabama project is among 60 other projects competing for $1 billion from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The EDA is seeking “transformative investments” that will boost pandemic recovery and rebuild American communities, including some with decades of disinvestment, according to a news release from UA.

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