published Friday, August 15th, 2014

13-16 jobs in preliminary plan for Tubman demolition in Chattanooga

The former Harriet Tubman Homes site in East Chattanooga is seen from Missionary Ridge.
The former Harriet Tubman Homes site in East Chattanooga is seen from Missionary Ridge.
Photo by John Rawlston.

WHAT'S NEXT

Registration for the three-day program begins Sept. 8. For more information call 643-6701 or e-mail oma@chattanooga.gov.

Hundreds of East Chattanooga residents want jobs, but their chances of getting hired to help demolish the vacated Harriet Tubman housing site are slim.

The contractor, Environmental Abatement Inc. of Hendersonville, Tenn., promised the city that 80 percent of its local hires would be from the 37406 neighborhood, but it turns out that's only going to be 13 to 16 people.

"Is that all?" said Annette Thompson, an East Chattanooga resident for more than 40 years.

Residents are disappointed because they expected more hires, but city officials say the demolition is only the start of living-wage jobs they anticipate coming to East Chattanooga.

"At least they're offering something," said Thompson. "For those who want to work, there is opportunity."

Those hired will work for about five to six months at $18.75 an hour.

More than a third of East Chattanooga residents are unemployed, according to the 2012 Chattanooga Gang Assessment.

Environmental Abatement submitted the preliminary proposal to hire about 16 people all told. The offer will not be final until Wednesday when the company is scheduled to present a final Workforce Projection Form, said James McKissic, the city's director of multicultural affairs.

City officials cautioned residents not to get discouraged if they are not hired for the demolition project.

"While that work is important, it's short-term and the available positions are small in scale to the demand in East Chattanooga," city communications director Lacie Stone wrote in an email Thursday. "The goal from day one with the Tubman site has been to bring a large employer who will provide long-term employment opportunities for the neighborhood."

Residents interested in applying for the Tubman demolition must participate in a three-day training. Registration for the training will start Sept. 8.

Proposed training dates are Sept. 18, 19 and 22, but may change. Residents must show proof of address with government-issued identification.

The training will include employer expectations, dressing for success, interview skills, resume development, health and safety regulations, CPR and first aid certification.

Residents can use the certifications gained for other job opportunities, Stone said.

"Livable wage jobs are coming to the neighborhood," said Warren E. Logan Jr., president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga.

The city is partnering with the Urban League along with Hope for the Inner City, Chattanooga's Youth and Family Development Career Centers and Chattanooga State Community College to conduct the job training.

East Chattanooga resident Wallace Johnson said he has been out of work for three months and is excited for an opportunity to earn $18.75 an hour.

"Just about all my life I've been making pennies," he said. "This is a chance to feel appreciated. They're paying you for what you do."

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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