Birmingham, Ala. — Spurred mostly by the wishes of others, Sharon Davis studied nursing and worked in the field for 17 years. Then, she cared at home for her bedridden sister who suffered with heart issues and end-stage kidney disease.

When her sister died, Ms. Davis knew she wanted a fresh start, but she didn’t know where or how to begin. She had no pension. She had no Plan B. Then she saw a Facebook post offering an opportunity for people to join the BOLD Women in Welding program at Jefferson State Community College.

Ms. Davis was, to say the…

Birmingham, Ala. — Jessica Parkman and her family struggled to make ends meet even in the best of times. Between rent, groceries, utilities and daycare, she and her boyfriend barely made it from one paycheck to the next.

“Neither one of us makes a ton of money, even though we work full-time,” said Ms. Parkman, a billing specialist at a dermatology office. “We make too much to qualify for a lot of assistance, but not enough to get by.”

Worse yet, they and their five children were barely getting by in a badly maintained house — with collapsing ceilings and…

Birmingham, Ala. — When the walls of the Ramsay-McCormack building came tumbling down in April, an excavator bearing the name Nuckles sat nearby, having done its part to transform this spot in the Ensley Business District.

The machine and the moment belonged to Emmett Nuckles, an energetic young entrepreneur whose demolition company blossomed from a side landscaping business he launched in 2014 while working as a data analyst manager for AT&T.

Nuckles Services is a testament to its CEO’s determination, spirit and vision — traits that have helped him overcome adversity in the past and that keep him looking beyond…

Birmingham, Ala. — As companies across the globe tiptoed through the COVID-19 era and prayed the economy would hold, digital health company Acclinate made a BOLD move.

In December 2020, the company announced its headquarters had moved from Huntsville to Birmingham.

Acclinate’s move did not just happen by accident. The Birmingham Business Alliance, which recruited the company, credits the city of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity and its innovative BOLD program.

The BOLD program — short for Building Opportunities for Lasting Development — has provided $2.5 …

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In the heart of Birmingham’s Central Business District and the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument is a historic commercial corridor that continues to thrive as a symbol of pride for Birmingham — the historic Fourth Avenue Business District. It is a place that highlights the collective resiliency of Black Birmingham during the Jim Crow era. During that time, the district served as the social, cultural and economic center for Black life in and around Birmingham.

“The Fourth Avenue Business District during my childhood was the cultural ‘mecca’ for Black families during that period,” said Shirley Ferrill, who…

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After giving birth to her second daughter, Jazzmine Huggins knew she wanted serious changes in her life.

She was 24 years old, living in public housing and not always making what she felt were the best choices for herself or her children. The low point may have come when she found herself in a confrontation with a man, staring down the barrel of a gun.

Mrs. Huggins wanted to get on a pathway to a better life for herself and her children. She had past work experience and soft skills that would serve her well in the…

Birmingham, Ala. — Andre Moore has spent decades in Birmingham preparing students for lifelong careers in cutting hair, fixing nails and helping other people look their best.

Most recently, he has owned and operated Southeastern School of Cosmetology & Barbering, an institution in western Birmingham where he worked 20 years before venturing out to run his own school.

He had operated Andre’s Hair Styling and Barber Training Center for eight years when his retiring former director, Jim Cunningham, offered him a chance to purchase the Southeastern name. Moore happily said yes.

The transition included a short gap in operation when…

Birmingham, Ala. — As a student at Parker High School, Justin Williams had an idea of what he wanted to be, and he believes he would have found a way to get there. But Birmingham Promise removed any doubts, clearing the path for Williams to achieve his goals.

Under a Birmingham Promise scholarship, Williams is now a freshman at the University of Alabama. The scholarship means he can focus on his computer engineering studies rather than worry about scraping together tuition or running up massive debt. …

Birmingham, Ala. — Jarvis Prewitt’s academic ability is evident: He was the salutatorian of the Huffman High School Class of 2019, excelling in tough Advanced Placement courses and graduating with a 4.0 GPA. His academic record earned him a full scholarship to Alabama A&M, where he is now sophomore studying to become a mechanical engineer.

“I love me some math and science,” Prewitt says.

But when he talks about the strength of his education, Prewitt recognizes some of his most important lessons did not take place in the classroom.

Between graduating from high school and starting classes at A&M, Prewitt…

Birmingham, Ala. — L’Tryce Slade found herself at a pivotal juncture in life in 2006.

After completing law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Slade came to Birmingham to work for a law firm on a case. When that case ended, she did what people do: She set out to find another job. But again, and again, the suggestion came back that she should create her own firm based on her unique expertise and experience, which includes communications, regional planning and environmental law.

Slade Land Use, Environmental, and Transportation LLC was born. It has evolved into…

BHAM Innovation and Economic Opportunity

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