Milliken & Company granted use of its Milliken Design Center to THINC College & Career Academy. The academy is part of the excellence in education initiative which was thought up years ago in 2006. It was thought up out of the Workforce Development Committee of the Troup County Center for Strategic Planning.
THINC will train high school students to be better prepared for the work force upon graduation.
A reception was hosted at Milliken, Friday where Renae Willis, vice chair of the board of the directors for THINC said two goals of the initiative was to increase graduation rate and improve the work force.
“THINC will be a charter and expert based academy with a down-to-business approach to education offering authentic workplace curriculum shaping work-savvy students for a demanding work force while being propelled by unprecedented community support,” Willis said.
Willis said the school will offer everything from health science to mechatronics, robotic, business classes and AP classes. High school juniors and seniors will be able to come to THINC for half of the day for classes while also having class at their high school. Eventually however, Willis said they would like to expand to freshman and sophomores.
Though the idea behind THINC began in 2006, it was postponed due to a declining economy and the arrival of KIA in LaGrange. It was revisited in 2013 by community leaders and more than 100 people came to together as volunteers to start the THINC process.
“We knew we had no time to waste, so this plan was put on a fast-track,” Willis said.
For nearly three decades, Milliken’s design center has been the headquarters for the company’s floor covering division. Its granting of the center is valued at $4 million dollars.
Melanie Steinbach, chief human resource officer attended the reception and spoke on behalf of Milliken.
“We are honored to be a part of a community that taking an unique approach to educational challenges and that we are able to play a role by offering the use of the design center,” Steinbach said on behalf of Milliken president and CEO, Joe Sally.
Sheila Rowe, chair of the Troup County Board of Education spoke about the progressive change for students.
“THINC will complement the hard work and dedication that is currently taking place in the Troup County school system and in the classroom,” she said. “Our students will expand in their learning and flourish as a result of the pulled resources and opportunities offered in the academy.”
The funding for THINC comes from businesses making it the only career academy in the state with business funding behind it.
KIA has pledged $3 million dollars and a $3.1 million grant came from the lieutenant governor’s office. Other sponsors include Technical College System of Georgia, Mobis, Power Tech, Troup County Development Authority, Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Power, LaGrange Troup County Chamber of Commerce and Troup County Center for Strategic Planning.
The former design center will accommodate the full operations of THINC beginning in August 2014.
“We have an extremely aggressive time-line and many hurdles to jump with the state department of education… so it is going to be a daunting task. We are committed to opening this facility on time.” Willis said.