manufacturers in rough economic times. The governor’s
background as a physicist and his commitment to clean
energy initiatives, as well as the presence of Oak Ridge
National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, are
also major drivers.
Preparing for a sunny future
With unemployment at its highest rate in decades, many
workers are hoping skills developed in other industries will
allow them to find new lines of high-paying work.
At the Hemlock plant, the average pay will be $70,000 to
$80,000 a year, says James Chavez, president and CEO of
the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce. To train potential
workers, the state will provide nearby Austin Peay State
University with $6.4 million to establish a two-year associate degree program in chemical engineering technology.
Pellissippi State Technical Community College
(PSTCC), with campuses around eastern Tennessee, is
developing a series of non-credit green training courses —
with plans to incorporate them into for-credit programs
— aimed at helping workers retool for the new economy.
Brad Coburn, PSTCC’s director of industrial and contract
training, says the new program has gotten a lot of interest,
particularly from those with backgrounds in manufacturing
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