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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Nonprofit receives $10 million to build textile facility in Burke County

The Appalachian Regional Commission awarded a $10 million grant to The Industrial Commons, a nonprofit in western North Carolina, to build a 40,000-square-foot textile manufacturing center in Burke County.

This project is a collaboration between North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee aimed at improving economic prosperity in southern Appalachia.

Overall, the project will include $60 million in private investment and will create 85 jobs across the three states, with 31 jobs being added in North Carolina. The county seat of Burke County is Morganton.

The new facility will produce circular textiles – a process where textile waste is broken down and turned into new yarn, which can be used as a new raw material to make new products at The Industrial Commons and throughout the textile manufacturing supply chain.

The Industrial Commons is a woman-owned and led nonprofit that supports the scaling of employee-owned businesses and industrial cooperatives while helping the region’s manufacturing workforce improve its prosperity.

The Industrial Commons is home to three enterprises – Good Books, Carolina Textile District, and Material Return – that have saved 1.8 million pounds of fabric from landfills over the past five years.

The manufacturing hub will be part of TIC’s larger Innovation Campus to be located at the former Drexel Heritage Furniture site in Morganton.

“The Industrial Commons is a nationally recognized model for our circular economy,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders in a statement. “Since its founding in 2015, TIC has been on the frontlines of reenergizing the industrial manufacturing economy in western North Carolina through its unique workforce training and community support programs that have trained more than 3,700 workers.”

The project will also establish a textile supply chain and connect entrepreneurs in Appalachian North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

The $10 million grant is provided through the Appalachian Regional Initiative for Strong Economies, a new federal program through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which drives large-scale economic transformation through multi-state collaboration.

The project also received a $5 million appropriation from the N.C. General Assembly to support the construction of the incubator.

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