Spotlight on Shelby County: Economic Engines

University of Montevallo.

Education & Workforce
Quality education is a major factor as potential homebuyers and businesses consider locations in Shelby County. 

The Shelby County Board of Education, with 2,600 employees, is easily the largest employer in the county. Alabaster, Pelham and Hoover also have city school systems. And the county is home to the University of Montevallo and Jefferson State Community College.

The county’s economic development organization, 58 INC., is building on that strong education foundation, helping meet workforce needs. For example, it helped create U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship programs for welders and machinists and teams with the local AlabamaWorks! council on an industrial maintenance technician apprenticeship program. 

Working with the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce and the Onin Group, 58 INC. also helped create a ready-to-work program to teach high school students the soft skills needed for jobs.

58 INC. also helps county business and industry with recruiting.

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“We simply want the businesses in Shelby County to feel free to call on us for assistance with hiring and training issues so that we can leverage our resources and partnerships to help them hire and develop a qualified workforce,” says Melody Whitten, director of development for 58 INC. 

Retail, Service & Tourism
Retail is a huge employment sector in the county, and it continues to grow. Major shopping centers dot the landscape, especially in Alabaster, and cities throughout Shelby County are actively engaged in retail development projects.  

Campus 124 in Pelham.

In the city of Pelham, Campus 124 is a mixed-use development breathing new life into a vacant elementary school along the busy Highway 31 corridor. The first tenant, CoreFit, opened in early January in the old school gym. The project also promises entertainment, brewery, retail, restaurant, office and service-related options to Pelham, resulting in a gathering place for citizens and a destination for the region.  

Tattersall Park, located along the U.S. Highway 280 corridor in Hoover, is a 75-acre master planned development anchored by a new Publix and featuring a variety of additional tenants to include Walk-Ons
Bistreaux & Bar, Brookwood Medical Center, Covenant Classical Schools & Day Care, with additional space still available.  

District 31, to be located along I-65 at Exit 238 in Alabaster, plans to break ground along Highway 31 in 2021 for the first phase of a lifestyle-focuses retail center on 70 acres.

The county’s economic development agency 58 INC. also helps with retail recruitment — a benefit since most cities and towns derive the majority of their income from sales tax. 

Shelby County also has a healthy service and hospitality industry, which handles lodging for sports tournaments, events and business travel. Shelby County’s investment in parks and recreation has paid off in more visitors and sports tourism. 

Alabama’s largest state park, Oak Mountain State Park, hosts more than 200 events annually while thriving as a local park for nearby residents. Bass fishing is a year-round sport on Lay Lake, hosting major organized tournaments. An emerging culture and arts scene is underway, with two new venues in Columbiana and Montevallo.  

Health Care
Health care is a major sector, with thousands of jobs created. The landscape of Shelby County healthcare has changed radically in the last few years, with Grandview Medical 

Center opening near the north Shelby County line. Grandview recently opened a new Cancer Center and has opened clinics and other services in the county. A new Physicians Plaza II is underway in answer
to the demand for services. 

In Alabaster, Shelby Baptist Medical Center, part of Brookwood Baptist Health, is one of the largest overall employers in Shelby County. 

The U.S. 280 corridor also has the freestanding Brookwood Baptist Emergency Department and St. Vincent’s One Nineteen Health and Wellness, which includes an outpatient surgery center. In Pelham, Encompass Health has a rehabilitation hospital. 

Utilities & Mining
Alabama Power Co. operates the Wilsonville Steam Plant, among other facilities. Southern Company, the parent company of Alabama Power, is the largest industrial/manufacturing employer and the second largest overall employer in the county. 

Shelby County has some of the highest-grade limestone in the world — used for pharmaceuticals as well as cement and road aggregate. Companies involved in that sector include Lhoist North America and Carmeuse Lime & Stone. 

Life science and technology have emerged as target industry sectors for Shelby County. EBSCO Industries, McLeod Software and FSI Global have corporate headquarters in the county, which account for 2,000 high-tech jobs. Biotechnology companies like Amytrx, Discovery BioMed, Therachem and Avanti Polar Lipids also have operations in Shelby County. 

McLeod Software in Hoover.

Economic development efforts are underway to support growth in this
sector, including a change to city of Hoover zoning to attract research and development facilities.

“Four out of the five largest software employers are located in Hoover in the Shelby County portion, and similarly, three out of the area’s largest life sciences companies are here,” says Greg Knighton, economic development manager for the city of Hoover.

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