About Sumter County

As the leader for economic and workforce development in Sumter County and West Alabama, known as Alabama’s “Black Belt” region, the Division of Economic and Workforce Development at the University of West Alabama’s mission is to support and enhance the economic vitality and long term prosperity of the region. 

The Division serves as an engaged and creative catalyst for new investment and an essential resource and support system for existing businesses and industries who want to grow in an environment that values its rich heritage, authentic character and unique quality of life.

The role of our talented professionals is to serve your firm and help you discover opportunities for meaningful dividends from your investment, while increasing your competitiveness. It’s our sincere belief that if you are successful, the community gains enhanced economic vitality  that benefits all.

We are a “one stop” shop to meet your needs and support your goals and objectives. Through site selection and preparation, assistance with various pubic and private agencies at all levels, workforce development and training support, and all essential steps for making a good decision, we are here to serve and provide an effective system of support. 

Whether industrial, commercial and distribution development, retention and expansion of existing businesses, or small business and entrepreneurial development, our professional staff is ready and equipped to go to work for you today. 


Among services offered are:

  • Professional support in all areas of business site selection for our new or expanding manufacturing operations as well as commercial enterprises. 
  • Access to a variety of workforce training programs at the local and state levels, including the UWA Center for Workforce Development. 
  • Tailor-made training and recruitment programs for your firm.
  • Contacts and introductions with local, state and federal authorities and decision-makers who can provide you with professional support and guidance. 
  • Research and grant support. 



Our Mission

To serve as a community outreach arm for the University of West Alabama by developing the region’s unique natural and cultural assets to address the educational, social, and economic needs of the Black Belt.

  • Alabama Black Belt Heritage Area
  • Black Belt Archives
  • Black Belt Garden
  • Black Belt Conservation Research Institute
  • Black Belt Museum
  • Center for the Study of the Black Belt
  • Continuing Education and Outreach
  • Economic and Community Development
  • Fort Tombecbe
  • Increase community and student engagement
  • Address the educational, social, and economic needs of the Black Belt
  • Promote the University of West Alabama as a regional resource
  • Black Belt Symposium
  • Business & Industry Expansion assistance
  • Certified Interpretive Guide training
  • Economic Development consulting
  • Entrepreneurial assistance
  • Public History programming
  • Site selection and RFI assistance
  • Economic Impact and Feasibility Studies
  • Other economic or workforce development assistance