Eight Volkswagen eLabs open in Hamilton County schools

Volkswagen eLab opens at Sale Creek Middle School. (Image: Volkswagen Chattanooga)

Volkswagen Chattanooga and the Hamilton County Department of Education opened the Volkswagen eLab at Sale Creek Middle School on Tuesday.

Hamilton County officials say they want students to be be more career-ready by helping them be on the cutting edge of technology.

They took a big step in that direction by opening the last of 8 eLabs at area schools.

These eLabs are the result of a million dollar partnership with Volkswagen and the state of Tennessee with the goal of giving more than 8,000 students access to these labs.

The labs use what's called *rapid prototyping technology* and give students access to things like renewable energy components, and robotics. Today at Sale Creek, students showcased items they made with 3D printers.

One freshman tells us the last three weeks have been an exciting and eye-opening experience.

"Every time you work on a project you learn something new, and it's pretty cool to learn different stuff that you wouldn't learn in other places," says freshman James Gravitte.

Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson says STEM is one of the most important learning tracks for twenty-first century students as there will be 42,000 STEM jobs in the state of Tennessee alone within the next few years.

The Public Education Foundation provided the training and resources for more than 30 teachers in Hamilton County.

Each school is also responsible for raising five thousand dollars *each year* to ensure the lab stays up to date.

Dalewood and Hunter Middle Schools and the Howard school are included in the other e-labs that are already up and running.

Eight more labs are planned to open over the next 15 months.

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