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New high-tech training center to be a feather in Franklin’s cap

A state-of-the-art training facility built by Drake Software is the latest addition to Macon County’s economic landscape.


Drake will use it to host training sessions for its tax preparation software, which is used by 40,000 clients nationally, mostly accountants and professional tax preparers.

The 100-person training facility is equipped with live-streaming video feed, WiFi, a projection screen and stadium seating. The building is also available for outside organizations and the general public to rent out at what Drake is calling reasonable rates.

“It’s not just for us,” said Christine Reynolds, education director for Drake Software. “It’s for the community too.”

The 9,000-squre-foot facility in the heart of Franklin will allow it to hold larger trainings sessions close to home, Reynolds said. That may give a boost to hospitality and other types of businesses in town.

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Drake staff currently travel the country to conduct trainings and seminars for its 40,000 or so clients. In May alone, the company has sessions scheduled in California, Wisconsin, Maine and Florida. Although trips won’t stop, hosting larger sessions in Franklin is now possible with a dedicated training building.

“People from all over the United States would come to Franklin,” Reynolds said. “This is the only facility of its kind in the area.”

Before, the company held two training sessions a month in Franklin from spring through fall but could only support 20 to 30 attendees. With a 100-person training room, the company can shorten its waiting list, Reynolds said.

For Macon County, the facility adds one more reason to visit Franklin and increases the potential for business retreats, training conferences and other programs to chose the location as a destination, said the county’s Economic Development Director Tommy Jenkins. He said it will compliment existing attractions such as the area’s outdoor offerings and Smoky Mountain Performing Arts Center.

The training center will appeal to companies holding a business retreat, since it offers better technology that a typical hotel conference room.

“It’s just not near the capability that this facility has in terms of technology,” Jenkins said. “This has the potential to make Franklin a destination for companies looking to conduct business training and seminars.”

Furthermore, Jenkins said, it is always good news when the area’s largest private employer is expanding. Drake Software has some 350 employees, not including its sister companies in the telecommunications, printing, technology and entertainment sectors.

“They’re vital to our economic growth,” Jenkins said.

For rentals rates, call 828.349.5751

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