Airplanes, cars and more at AIDT celebration

An Airbus A321 airplane, part of the Delta fleet, flew over the AIDT festivities on Thursday. Photo courtesy of AIDT

A look at the new Toyota Corolla Cross, the unveiling of a new logo and a flyover of an Airbus-built airliner highlighted Thursday’s celebration in Montgomery of AIDT’s 50th year helping to build Alabama’s workforce.

“To celebrate 50 years is truly a milestone,” said Ed Castile, deputy secretary of commerce and AIDT executive director. “Today, we are celebrating all of the people who have worked together to bring us to this point.”

In addition to Gov. Kay Ivey, Castile and Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, representatives from Neptune Technology Group, Austal USA and Mazda Toyota Manufacturing spoke at the event at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium. Neptune is the first company AIDT assisted, and Mazda Toyota Manufacturing is the most recent company the group is working with.

“Simply said, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing would not be able to recruit, assess, hire and train up to 4,000 team members without the partnership with AIDT,” said Mark Brazeal, vice president of administration for Mazda Toyota. “It is a partnership built on mutual respect and mutual trust.  It is a great partnership and we are so lucky to have AIDT in the state of Alabama.”

Eric Tanksley, part of the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing Team building the new Toyota Corolla Cross, posed with one of the vehicles. Photo by Alec Harvey

Formed in 1971, the Alabama Industrial Development Training program was part of the division of vocational education and community colleges of the State Department of Education. AIDT has trained about a million employees for 5,200 companies in Alabama. In 2012 it merged into the Department of Commerce.

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At Thursday’s event, some of the companies that AIDT has helped showed off their products. Mazda Toyota brought its new Toyota Corolla Cross, which will be produced at the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant in Huntsville beginning later this year, and Airbus flew one of its made-in-Mobile A321 aircraft over the crowd gathered in the stadium.

“As a result of not only our work but a lot of people’s work, the companies we have recruited have grown and continue to grow,” Castile said. “It means a lot for us to celebrate all of this and to look forward to the future.”

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