HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam was one of the leaders that came Hixson Middle School to cut the ribbon for eight added Volkswagen eLabs on Tuesday.
“This is a great example of business and government and foundations all coming together to create something, and this is about innovation. You know, it’s hard for any of us to say here’s exactly what the future is going to look like, but what they’re doing here in Hamilton county schools’ doing is helping teach kids to be innovators,” Gov. Haslam said.
The digital fabrication lab at the school gives students hands-on experience with technology to learn skills like how to program and create with a 3-D printing machine.
“They could actually print their own Star Wars figures. Children they want to have their own things that they can display in their home. so they can do these things. They can weld, they can work on arts and wood, for example,” Volkswagen Chattanooga Senior Vice President Human Relations Nicole Koesling said.
3-D printing is used in various ways, including the manufacturing of parts.
It’s those kind of skills students can take with them when they join the workforce.
“What we’re doing here is literally training year after year preparing kids to think in that creative way that the workforce wants and needs today,” Gov. Haslam said.
“We have huge plans for the future and that’s actually something we need the skilled workforce for, for the future with these eLabs we do not only skill our own workforce, I am sure that some of the students that actually are educated here in the eLabs that they will be our future team members,” Koesling said.
The eLabs are thanks to a one million dollar donation from Volkswagon Chattanooga.
They’ve worked with the state, Hamilton County Schools, and the Public Education Foundation to add the labs for students.
There is now a total of 16 eLabs at schools in Hamilton County.