Center for Business and Economic Services The Center for Business and Economic Services (CBES) was endowed in late 2010 by a major gift to The University of West Alabama by the Alabama Power Foundation. Located in the heart of Alabama’s Black Belt, one of the nation’s poorest regions, the center’s mission is twofold: to provide economic development services and to provide training and other direct services to support the business and industry community.The center provides a host of economic development services to the Black Belt Region. CBES develops and prepares economic and community development asset evaluations for communities, as well as numerous other planning tools. The center collaborates with partners, including the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, to facilitate strategic plans for local and county governments. CBES actively develops grant proposals and applies to state and national funding sources for a variety of important projects, and was recently awarded a major brick and mortar grant from the Delta Regional Authority. The center has also prepared a successful grant application for the repair of a historic community center in rural Pickens County. CBES was a lead partner in the $2.1 million Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration grant project that was funded by Secretary Hilda Solis on September 19, 2012. This multi-year project will develop a comprehensive and state-of-the-art technical training program in the Black Belt region, and is one of the largest grant awards in the University of West Alabama’s history. The center provides hands-on business assistance, including marketing plans, to new and existing business and industry, in collaboration with College of Business faculty and students. CBES provides a variety of OSHA-mandated Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response trainings, delivered in the classroom or on-site. These trainings use modern equipment and an updated curriculum developed jointly by the CBES director and Professor Jim Shelton. The center is an active partner with the regional workforce development councils representing the area, and assists these councils with grant application technical assistance. Thank you for your interest in the Center for Business and Economic Services; our goal is to improve the quality of life in West Alabama.