Community barbecue Saturday to celebrate opening of The Forge

The anticipated opening of “the Forge” in Jefferson is an event to celebrate this week. Governor Kim Reynolds and Congressman Ro Khanna from California will put a spotlight on Jefferson on Saturday, Sept. 7.

The open house of Pillar’s Forge location is planned from 4 to 7 pm. The Forge is located at 204-206 E. State Street, or west of the Sierra Community Theater.

The 1904 building was purchased by Chris Deal, doing business as East State St Properties LLC, in the spring of 2018. It has undergone a $1.7 million renovation to Pillar Technology’s (now owned by Accenture Industry X.0) specifications. Accenture has a long-term lease on the building.

The festivities Saturday begin with an open house at the Forge from 4-7 pm. Students in grades 7-12, their parents and teachers are invited to informational sessions about the educational opportunities that will be available at 4 and 5 pm at the Sierra Theatre. Then at 5 pm a free community barbecue meal will be served around the Greene County courthouse, with the program to take place from 7 – 8:30 pm on the north side of the courthouse. Several speakers will be involved including Governor Reynolds and Congressman Khana.

The event is free and open to the public.

The technology consulting company Accenture is dedicated to bringing its “epicenters of collaboration, creativity and tech” to small towns across the nation, and Jefferson is one of those. Khanna was in Jefferson last December, bringing with him a delegation from Silicon Valley to view the center.

Reynolds mentioned the efforts in her Condition of the State address saying, “In places like Jefferson, Iowans are already showing that, with ingenuity and drive, our small towns can be as vibrant as they’ve ever been.”

Pillar’s Forge in Jefferson will employ up to 40 individuals who will assist businesses in the use of advanced digital technologies to transform core industrial operations, worker or customer experiences and business models.

Part of the Forge will also include a training program that will provide opportunities for graduating high school students to take software development classes through the career academy with Iowa Central Community College and be offered a job with Pillar. The starting wages would range between $55-$60,000.

Linc Kroeger with Accenture says it’s been a three-year process for him to get the project to the final stages. He points out the benefits of having this cutting-edge industry located in rural Iowa.
“Being from rural Iowa myself, it’s just a great feeling for them to be able to stay here, stay with their families in the community, build the local economy. To me the excitement of this is when people start getting through their education and start getting their jobs. I’ve got to stay focused on that right now.”

Providing the free community barbecue was offered to add to the festivities, keeping people in the downtown throughout the time. Attractions such as Thomas Jefferson Gardens, the Mahanay Bell Tower, and RVP~1875 will be open along with many downtown shops extending their hours for shopping. The city of Jefferson, Greene County, and Greene County Schools are supporting the day by providing facility needs.  ~courtesy of The Scranton Journal

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