NASHVILLE – A DeKalb County manufacturer has partnered with Catholic Charities of Tennessee to open a new Sewing Training Academy, an initiative designed to provide skilled employees for the growing apparel manufacturing industry.
Smithville’s Omega Apparel Inc. collaborated with Catholic Charities and the Nashville Fashion Alliance (NFA) to open the facility. First dreamed of late last year, the Sewing Training Academy is viewed as a key component to the success of Nashville’s so-called burgeoning fashion scene.
The parties celebrated its opening Wednesday.
“I am ready to put the graduates to work,” Dean Wegner, Omega Apparel’s president/CEO, said. “Within five years, this initiative could easily add 1,000 new jobs to the local economy.”
The Frist Foundation, the Memorial Foundation, and other benefactors provided start-up funding for the Academy.
“This program will provide the necessary skilled workforce for our apparel community to grow and thrive.,” said Van Tucker, Nashville Fashion Alliance CEO. “High quality commercial sewers are an important part of the creative process for emerging fashion brands.”
The new Sewing Training Academy, located at Catholic Charities’ Job Training Center at 1210 Davidson Street in East Nashville, currently houses 10 sewing machine stations for training.
“We are seeking students with a desire to learn sewing as a professional trade in order to gain employment in apparel manufacturing after course completion,” said Trishawna Quincy, an experienced clothing designer herself and the Academy’s coordinator and instructor.
Three-week courses will be offered at each of three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Classes are held from 9 a.m.-noon Monday-Friday at the Job Training Center. Ten students are admitted per class. The first beginner session began Aug. 31; other levels will follow.
“It is providing us with a truly unique opportunity to serve this growing Nashville industry while providing job opportunities for many Nashvillians, including a number of our immigrant and refugee population, which will allow them to achieve self-sufficiency through employment,” said Megan Stack, director of Catholic Charities’ Family Assistance and Community Employment department, which oversees the Academy.
Omega Apparel, a maker of military uniforms, is one of the Upper Cumberland region’s larger manufacturers. Per the most recent state data, the company employs between 130 in DeKalb County.