Knox County is one step closer to a Skilled Trades Academy and Regional Training Center (START). The school is “designed to attract, train, and retain a quality workforce in the construction industry.”

“Knox County is committed to creating opportunities for everyone to thrive,” Mayor Glenn Jacobs said in a statement. “This academy does that by advancing alternative pathways for students and residents while ensuring that our growing workforce will be ready and able to meet the needs of our trade businesses.”

A vote is slated by the county commission is next week on whether or not to approve a five-year lease agreement with John H. Daniel to secure the company’s warehouse. Associated Builders and Contractors — Greater Tennessee (ABC Greater Tennessee) would run the school.

The academy will focus on teaching a variety of trades “framing, masonry, electrical, welding, and mechanical.” The schools will be taught by instructors currently practicing their trade in the field, and the courses will be Department of Labor approved.

ABC – Greater Tennessee President/CEO Clay Crownover said, “For decades, students have been told that college is the only route to a high paying, rewarding career. Through this program and our 25 years of providing training in Tennessee, we will be able to show potential students that working while learning is a quality and financially prudent path to take.”

The Association has an academy in Nashville, and is “part of 69 state chapters across the country representing 21,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms.”

“Currently, there are tremendous opportunities in the skilled trades. We need more welders, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, carpenters, masons, and many others. The START Center will help folks interested in these careers get the training they need to be successful!” Mayor Jacobs wrote on Twitter about the effort.

The state of Tennessee will provide ABC of Greater Tennessee with $1 million to complete the training center to build a classroom space for proper training. Any leftover money will be put towards creating a scholarship program, the Knox County statement notes.

If the academy is approved, Knox County would take control of the warehouse. The academy would be built by March of 2022, and by August, ABC General Tennessee would begin teaching classes, the statement said.

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Morgan Nicole Veysey is a reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow her on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Glenn Jacobs” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.