Residents of Bradley County and the surrounding area are no doubt proud that German company Wacker Chemical has just announced a $300 million additional investment at its facility there.
And residents of Chattanooga and nearby areas are gratified by the opening of a new training center at Chattanooga State Community College which will provide Wacker with highly skilled employees for its Bradley County factory.
Wacker will be making polysilicon for the solar industry when it opens late next year.
With the additional $300 million that Wacker is pumping into its plant in Bradley County, its total investment there is a staggering $1.8 billion.
That represents a major economic development in our region. The plant, near Charleston, Tenn., is expected to employ approximately 650 people -- perhaps more. In addition, the site manager said that by the middle of next year, as many as 3,000 construction workers will be at the site. That means paychecks and the circulation of more dollars in the area's economy.
Meanwhile, the new, multimillion-dollar training center at Chattanooga State ensures that Hamilton County residents will play an important role in operations at Wacker. The center, called the Wacker Institute, is "the largest, most advanced" facility of its type in the United States, said Chattanooga State President Jim Catanzaro.
We congratulate Bradley County on the benefits it will enjoy -- and is already enjoying -- from the Wacker plant, and we are thrilled that Chattanooga and Hamilton County will benefit as well.