Eight additional Volkswagen eLabs open in Hamilton County
Aug 22, 2018
Governor Haslam applauds Volkswagen’s support for schools during ceremony commemorating new eLabs
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Aug 22, 2018) — Volkswagen Chattanooga, in collaboration with the State of Tennessee, Hamilton County Department of Education and Public Education Foundation, gathered at Hixson Middle School today to celebrate the opening of eight additional Volkswagen eLabs in Hamilton County.
“Hands-on learning nurtures creativity and innovation through design,” said Nicole Koesling, Volkswagen Chattanooga senior vice president human resources. “We have seen firsthand how this method increases engagement with students and improves their problem-solving skills. The Volkswagen eLabs allow students to discover for themselves how to solve real-world challenges using the latest technology.”
“I am amazed by what Hamilton County students are doing in the Volkswagen eLabs, the tools they are using and the solutions they are discovering,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. “Hamilton County Schools is leading the way in workforce development with these groundbreaking eLabs, and I thank Volkswagen for its investment in our schools.”
Volkswagen eLabs, the result of a $1 million donation by Volkswagen Chattanooga and the State of Tennessee, provides approximately 11,000 Hamilton County students with access to digital fabrication tools and emergent technologies that will offer opportunities for authentic problem-solving.
“Volkswagen eLabs encourage learning exploration and help students to be future-ready and prepared for success after high school,” said Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. "These labs provide opportunities for students to tackle challenges individuals may face on a daily basis in our world today and open doors to the possibilities of the future."
The Volkswagen eLabs are administered in collaboration with PEF, an independent, nonprofit organization. PEF provides training, research and resources to teachers and principals at schools in Hamilton County.
"Volkswagen eLabs are changing how our children are learning,” said Dan Challener, president of PEF. “Thanks to these labs and the extraordinary teachers who lead the learning, students are now using cutting-edge tools to wrestle with real problems – can you build a water filtration system without electricity? Can drones deliver eggs? Can you build a solar-powered go-cart?”
Each Volkswagen eLab is implemented by a Volkswagen eLab Innovation Team to help ensure utilization to the maximum capacity. The teams are led by teachers, dubbed “Volkswagen eLab Specialists,” who are equipped with skills in facilitating learning through digital fabrication.
"This work is truly transformational for our community," said PEF Director of Innovation Michael Stone. "Volkswagen eLabs Specialists are redefining what is possible in the classroom, and their students are engaging in revolutionary learning experiences that are reshaping how they think about their future."
The 16 Hamilton County Schools that have received Volkswagen eLabs are:
Brainerd High School*
Brown Middle School*
Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences
Center for Creative Arts*
Dalewood Middle School
East Hamilton Middle School
Hixson Middle School*
Hixson High School*
The Howard School
Hunter Middle School
Normal Park Museum Magnet School
Ooltewah Middle School*
Orchard Knob Middle School*
Red Bank High School
Sale Creek Middle High School
Soddy Daisy Middle School*
*New addition in 2018
Schools were selected through a competitive proposal process by representatives from Volkswagen Chattanooga, Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, HCDE, and PEF.
About Volkswagen Chattanooga
The Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations, LLC (Volkswagen Chattanooga) manufacturing facility began production in April 2011. Volkswagen Chattanooga currently assembles the Volkswagen Passat, a midsize sedan specifically designed for the North American market, and the Volkswagen Atlas, a midsize sport utility vehicle which went on sale in May of 2017. In March 2018, Volkswagen Chattanooga was announced as the future production home of a five-seat SUV, representing an additional $340 million investment. Volkswagen Chattanooga currently employs approximately 3500 team members. Volkswagen Chattanooga is the first car factory worldwide with a LEED Platinum certification. It is also certified to international standards for energy management (ISO 50001), environmental management (ISO 14001) and quality management (ISO 9001).