A new construction vocational facility for high school students and adults broke ground in Hamilton County on Thursday. Next week, workers will officially begin the building process of the Construction Career Center in Chattanooga’s Avondale neighborhood.

The old, vacant Mary Ann Garber School at 2225 Roanoke Avenue in Chattanooga is being renovated in order to house the new college-level vocational training center for 11th and 12th-grade students as well as adults in the community.

The 28,000 square foot facility will accommodate up to 200 students per day and up to 200 people in the event space. Construction is expected to be complete in July 2022.

The Center boasts a “100% placement in job, union pathway or continuation in construction-related education” for those who attend the program.

Governor Bill Lee attended the groundbreaking ceremony and shared a message regarding it on Twitter, writing, “A highly skilled workforce begins with a commitment to education. Excited to see how Chattanooga’s Construction Career Center will provide Tennesseans across East TN with the tools they need to skill up for a career in construction.”

Graduates from the Center will receive at least five certifications in construction, work-based learning opportunities, career counseling, and dual enrollment from Chattanooga State Community College / Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT). The center will also provide certification training, instruction and mentorship for adults interested in careers in construction.

The goal of the Center is to prepare a select group of Hamilton County Schools students and adults for careers in the high-demand field of construction trades.

According to the Construction Career Center’s website, the average age of a construction tradesman is approximately 49, and for every person being trained in construction trades, ​five people are retiring. Nationally, the industry will need 3 million construction workers by 2028. ​

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Chattanooga’s Construction Career Center” by Gov. Bill Lee.