PIE Center is already attracting businesses

By BRIAN GRAVES

Posted 11/1/17

Only a decade ago, the thought that a high school student could graduate directly into a good-paying industrial job was a fantasy.Now, it is becoming an education standard.That vision is now being …

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PIE Center is already attracting businesses

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Only a decade ago, the thought that a high school student could graduate directly into a good-paying industrial job was a fantasy.


Now, it is becoming an education standard.


That vision is now being developed with Bradley County School’s PIE Center – Partnerships In Industry and Education – being located in the former American Uniform building. It is a vision which appears to be quickly gaining sight.


Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash gave an update on the project during a recent meeting of the Commission Education Committee.


“Things are moving along and we have signed our first contract with Tranco Logistics and they are now in the process of renovating their space and moving in,” Cash said. “They will start paying their lease three months after they enter.”


Tranco deals in warehousing and distribution, and is based in Chattanooga.


Cash said when students start becoming involved with the business, “They will be learning the logistics side of the business.”


The director said the system is in the process of getting “a couple of more leases signed.”


“Steve Wright (of Wright Construction) says he will need eight months to build out his space in order for kids to come in,” Cash said. “He’s ready to start looking at that and signing a lease.”


Committee Chairman Thomas Crye commented having a company like Wright Construction, which will be able to train on heavy equipment, “could have kids graduating right into a $20 an hour job.”


Cash said discussions are also underway with Cleveland State and TCAP to bring programs in that will benefit students.


“With TCAP, we are looking at a diesel mechanic program and certifications in that area,” she said. “With Cleveland State, we are looking at a variety of things. But, one is having more of those industry certifications.”


Cash said there is the opportunity of TCAP and Cleveland State to “join together in giving our kids a different pathway.”


She said the a process is also underway to lease out the property across the street just for storage.


“That will immediately bring money to the building, and the purpose of the money that comes into the PIE is to keep it self-contained,” Cash said. “Hopefully, there will be no additional bills that come in with that. We are already setting our goals for fundraising. You will see a big kick toward that starting next semester.”


The schools director added preparations are being made to make a presentation to the state in hopes of additional financing.


She also said the sale of the current GOAL Academy facility “has a couple of people interested.”


“We still do not have an offer, but we do have a place for them to go when it does sell,” Cash said. “We will lease out the bottom of the Westmore Church of God. They have allowed us to go in and we would pay them what our energy costs are now.” 


 

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