Newnan, a new model for America?

From Staff Reports
news@newnan.com
Can American industries be brought back to the U.S.? Newnan’s Don Chapman thinks so.
The idea is to provide jobs, develop people, and put out quality production under the label of “Made in America!”

A year ago, Chapman’s friend, Sharon Tennison, the founder of the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI), put her brain to work on how the sewing industry might be brought back to America’s shores. With experience in starting an apparel manufacturing company in the 1970s, and a second apparel operation in Russia during the 1990s, she realized that bringing the sewing business back home was not rocket science.

Tennison created the plan and pushed the idea. Don Chapman, a board member of CCI, brought both the idea and Tennison to Newnan businessmen Bill Headley and Bill Loftin last week. They heard the plan and offered counsel, Chapman said.

Chapman says that many soon concurred that Newnan would be a perfect place to begin the experiment. Newnan has free space, former CEOs who are ready to share their expertise, professional trainers still available from the bygone sewing era, and the Newnan community, which has a spirit that could get behind a “jobs and training program.”

Tennison’s larger vision is to create the first-ever model of Made In America! If the Newnan model becomes successful, it will be promoted to become the template for other cities. An educational campaign is planned to expose the Newnan model nationally, Chapman said.

At ground-level, the goal is to train and develop new seamstresses, pattern makers, designers, and managers; then provide employment for them in the production center.

The training center complex will be a non-profit 501C3 with a for-profit production wing where graduates will begin to produce quality merchandise in the production area for retail stores. All revenues from the production center will go back into salaries and the training center to train more people and create more production.

This ambitious idea includes “high-spirited, pro-bono contributions from local citizens, mentors for trainees, in addition to classes aimed at building hard skills, soft skills, nutrition and parenting sessions, entrepreneurism, and career planning,” Chapman said.

For anyone interested in knowing more about this prospect, as a volunteer or a participant, “we want to be in touch with you,” said Chapman.

Contact Don Chapman at 770-712-8603 or e-mail him at chapmandon@aol.com .


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