Chattanooga's Normal Park Museum Magnet School wins STEM grant from TVA and other business news

Normal Park wins TVA STEM grant

The Tennessee Valley Authority and its retiree organization, Bicentennial Volunteers Inc., awarded another $1 million in grants to educators in public schools this year to develop science, technology, engineering and math education projects across the Tennessee Valley.

"TVA is focused on supporting clean-energy technologies and STEM education that helps today's students develop the skills needed to work in these careers," said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president and chief external relations officer. "Innovation is the key to success, and it's inspiring to contribute to the next generation's visionaries."

The competitive STEM classroom grant program is operated in partnership with the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network managed by the Battelle organization and provides grants of up to $5,000 per school. The program received 458 grant applications this year, and 238 were selected for funding.

In Chattanooga, Normal Park Museum Magnet School will use grant funding to buy materials for students to construct sustainable building models. In partnership with GreenSpaces Chattanooga, students will be tasked with taking an undeveloped plot of land and designing a building that will function as part of a sustainable city. Throughout the project, students will better understand the interconnection between science and math and learn about engineering and architecture careers.

Since 2018, TVA and its retirees have provided nearly $5 million in STEM grants supporting nearly 600,000 students.

United Way funds local Habitat project

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga has begun construction of its first United Way-funded house at 3431 Kirkland Ave. in Alton Park.

The new house is being built for Jasmine McCann and her two children and is being backed by United Way, which began funding Habitat last year after the nonprofit home building agency submitted a grant request and was awarded $75,000 from the Impact Fund for a transformational project.

"At United Way, we believe providing long-term stability can be a catalyst for transforming lives in our community," Lesley Scearce, president and CEO of United Way, said in a statement. "This exciting partnership with Habitat for Humanity is driving this mission forward by providing Jasmine and her family a place they can call home. Creating and sustaining these pathways to long-term stability is a huge part of what helps our community thrive."

OSHA cites Amazon for safety violations

Federal safety investigators cited three Amazon warehouses for putting workers at serious risk of injury from the bending, twisting and lifting required to rapidly move and stack packages for hours.

Amazon rejected the findings by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and said it would appeal.

OSHA announced the citations Wednesday at warehouses in Florida, Illinois and New York, which were inspected as part of an ongoing investigation into Amazon's safety practices in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant, which earned $33 billion in 2021, faces $60,269 in total fines if OSHA prevails.

The fines are the maximum penalty under the Occupational Safety and Heath Act's "general duty" clause, which requires employers to provide a safe working environment, said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. But in a briefing with reporters, Parker dismissed the idea that Amazon could easily absorb the penalty rather than shoulder the cost of changing its practices, saying the company is legally required to take action or face more serious consequences.

"Each of these inspections found work processes that were designed for speed but not safety, and they resulted in serious worker injuries," Parker said, adding that Amazon "continues to conduct business as usual" despite serious injury rates at warehouses that were nearly double the industry average in 2021.

Campbell's to consolidate snack offices in Camden

Campbell's Soup Co. plans to spend about $50 million to upgrade of its headquarters in New Jersey as it consolidates the central offices of snacks businesses from North Carolina and Connecticut.

The company announced Wednesday it will add about 330 positions at the site in Camden, bringing the total jobs there to about 1,600. It said the move will drive greater creativity, collaboration and career development at the company.

The jobs are moving from a Snyder's-Lance plant in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Pepperidge Farm headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut. A Snyder's pretzel bakery and other operations in Hanover, Pennsylvania, will not be affected by the changes, and the company will continue to operate its Pepperidge Farm bakery in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Campbell's also said Charlotte will remain a key manufacturing and distribution center for the company.

The headquarters upgrade and expansion, aided by unspecified tax incentives from New Jersey, will start in March and should take about three years to complete. Campbell's plans to upgrade existing space and construct new buildings, including a campus center and a snacks research and development center and pilot plant.

Having one snacks headquarters is expected to save Campbell $10 million within a few years, the company said.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner