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Volkswagen expanding eLabs program access to more Hamilton County students

Image: WTVC.
Image: WTVC.
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Volkswagen will soon expand its eLabs program to more students in Hamilton County.

The program provides students the ability to see cutting edge technology up close.

Volkswagen says their eLabs are recognized around the world for their innovative technologies.

They focus on product development through digital fabrication.

The result, according to Volkswagen, is a "transformative learning experience" for students.

We visited Red Bank Elementary Monday to learn more about the process and see what opportunities it will bring to students in our area.

The electric sounds of machinery, woodwork, and learning surrounded 643 laser-focused Red Bank elementary students Monday.

The students were using laser-cutters and 3D printers as part of the eLab program, which will soon be expanded in Hamilton County schools.

"The Public Education Foundation has received a $5.3 million grant to expand access to the world's leading multi eLabs," says Michael Stone with PEF.

The program started in 2017, with a million-dollar grant from Volkswagen and the state.

"This represents the largest investment, the largest expansion ever, in this innovative initiative that was piloted right here in Chattanooga," says Stone.

Now the districts says an additional $5 million will go towards building eLabs in 34 more schools.

"They're working on math standards, literacy, and we want them to have a chance to put those in to play or to use them after they've learned them in their classroom," says Emily Moore.

Red Bank teacher Emily Moore says the eLabs teach a variety of skills, such as coding, biology, and communications.

"Their focus is not only practicing technical standards, but to develop processing skills such as like leadership, innovation, ownership, and grit," says Moore.

A training method that will build a well-rounded workforce, through creative hearts and minds.

According to the US Department of Labor, STEM jobs are projected to grow more than 10% in the next 8 years.

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