The Albert Lea Economic Development Agency (ALEDA) consists of two separate agencies. They are the Albert Lea Port Authority and Greater Jobs Inc. The Port is a political sub-division of the State of Minnesota and was created in 1987 by the Albert Lea City Council. Greater Jobs Inc is a private not-for-profit development corporation created in 1943 as Jobs Inc. Working together as ALEDA, our mission is to create jobs and enhance the tax base of the City of Albert Lea and all of Freeborn County.
Greater Jobs Inc. started as a pilot project (Jobs Inc.) of the National Chamber of Commerce in 1943. It was a response to the economic problems which might occur when the war ended because there was a fear of increased unemployment nationwide. It is important to note that Jobs Inc. was part of a community wide effort outlined in the Albert Lea Plan (written in 1944) to meet their goals of job retention and economic development. Jobs Inc. continued using the Albert Lea Plan as its model with success for years to come.
In 1975, Jobs Inc. directors formed a new corporation that was called the ALIDC (Albert Lea Industrial Development Corporation). Jobs Inc. and the Albert Lea Industrial Development shared the same purposes and goals, as well as board of directors. Due to the similarity of the purposes of both organizations, the board of directors of Jobs Inc. and the ALIDC chose to restructure both entities, so that ultimately only the ALIDC existed. The name of the new corporation would later be called Greater Jobs Incorporated.
In 1987, the Albert Lea Port Authority was established. Greater Jobs Inc. was able to team with the newly created Albert Lea Port Authority to construct a new spec building in the Northaire Industrial Park. Throughout their history, the Port Authority and Greater Jobs Inc. have put up industrial spec buildings which continue to draw new and relocating business and industry to Albert Lea and Freeborn County today.
In 2002, to enhance the economic development focus and assist in developing local startup business and industry, the Albert Lea Business Development Center (ALBDC) was created. Rather than starting anew, the business development center concept is a return to a part of the original Albert Lea Plan. It is a return to using our local resources to expand and create new business and industry in Albert Lea and Freeborn County.
In September 2003, a decision was made by Board members to combine the various local economic development entities into one organization in order to function in a more seamless manner, and to utilize the strengths of each organization. At that time, the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency was created. Today ALEDA serves as the mechanism where the county, city and the private sector work together for economic development in Albert Lea and Freeborn County.