Bradley County Director of Schools Director, Dr. Linda Cash will speak at the Cleveland/ Bradley Chamber of Commerce “Food for Thought” membership luncheon on Sept. 19 with a comprehensive update about the proposed PIE (Partnerships in Industry and Education) Center and aspired path for collaborative success.
Education, community and business leaders are addressing the universal concern about students’ limited understanding of career opportunities through the PIE Innovation Center. “The whole emphasis of the PIE Center is hands-on training,” said Dr. Cash. “Which is something that rarely happens today in classrooms.”Dr. Cash noted, “We can build those skills, so when they graduate they can move on to programs at Cleveland State or on to full-time employment.”
The PIE Innovation Center is currently in the building design phase, with an expected construction schedule to be released in the next month for the phase 1 occupancy of three tenants. “The school system is working in partnership with the Bradley County Commission, Bradley County Schools, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee Manufacturers Association, State of Tennessee and many private businesses and industries to ensure that the PIE Center offers a comprehensive educational experience,” said Dr. Cash.
The PIE Innovation Center is a planned workforce development center that will allow juniors and seniors enrolled in Bradley County schools as well as Polk County Schools (with plans of expansion to Meigs, McMinn and North Hamilton County Schools) to receive training in a variety of career fields. The center will collaborate with local business, industry and community partners to provide learning opportunities for both college and career-bound students through a combination of STEM classroom instruction, skill development, and on-the-job training.
“Currently, in Bradley County, we have twenty-eight programs of study between our two high schools some of which are provided at both schools,” said Dr. Cash. “These programs range from Agriculture, Advanced Manufacturing, Architecture and Construction, Finance, Business, welding, machining and so much more. We have 200+ students that are in our work-based learning program excluding Health Science.”
The vision of the PIE Center is an extension of current programs and an expansion of more opportunities for local students and those in surrounding areas. “We are taking the educational experience to a whole different level by actually partnering in a centralized location with for-profit businesses and companies who will be leasing space and offering students on the job training,” said Dr. Cash. “There is currently nothing like what this center will offer to a community or workforce in the state. This Center will allow the business and industry field to work hand in hand with our educators to ensure, as we prepare students from 4th and 5th grade on, their track will be seamless into a career in well-paying jobs.”
Examples of partnership opportunities in the PIE Center are:
Chattanooga Center for Sports Medicine- leasing space and will be offering students work-based learning and skill development opportunities in the health science program of study.
Wright Brothers Construction- leasing space and offering work-based learning and skill development opportunities to students in the Architecture and Construction pathway.
Taziki’s Mediterranean Café’-will be leasing space and offering work-based learning and skill development opportunities in our Culinary pathway.
“You can see the direction through the growing list of partnerships that we are progressing from a dream to reality as the PIE Center will soon become a state-of-the-art training hub for the Southeast Region of Tennessee,” said Dr. Cash.
Dr. Cash brings over 30 years of experience instructing students and teachers, securing resources, and implementing programs. She has served in educational administrative positions since 2002 and in her current role as Director of Bradley County Schools since 2015.
The noon “Food for Thought” Dutch-treat luncheon held at the Cleveland / Bradley Chamber of Commerce office requires reservations to facilitate room setup and food. Please call the Chamber at 423 472-6587 to make your reservation or visit the events calendar on the Chamber’s website, www.clevelandchamber.com, by noon on Monday, Sept. 16.