$1 million science lab program established for Hamilton County schools

File photo: Governor Bill Haslam presents a CDBG grant to the city of Dover in this photo from September 23, 2013.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Volkswagen Chattanooga along with Governor Bill Haslam and Commissioner Randy Boyd announced the establishment of Volkswagen eLabs program in Hamilton County. The eLab program is a $1 million program that will allow Hamilton County middle and high schools to apply for funds to create science labs.

The program will allow students to develop hands on experience with emergent technologies like 3D printers, robotics, programmable microcomputers, renewable energy kits and other science-related activities.

The program will be administered in partnership with the non-profit organization Public Education Foundation. P.E.F. provides training, research and resources to schools in Hamilton County.

"Volkswagen has been an incredible partner to the State of Tennessee for almost ten years, and we are grateful for its decision to further invest in Tennessee by creating this new, innovative program that will benefit Hamilton County middle and high school students," Haslam said. "Our state continues to make education a top priority, and when Tennessee companies show their support in helping us make huge strides in education, that means a great deal for the future of our workforce and its success. We thank Volkswagen for its contribution to Hamilton County and continued commitment to Tennessee."

Schools will select a team of teachers committed to investing a significant amount of time to develop the knowledge and skills to take advantage of the laboratory opportunity. Each school must also commit to raise a minimum of $5,000 annually to ensure that the lab is continually refreshed and materials are replaced.

"Education helps build a superior workforce, which creates jobs for Tennesseans. How successful our state is in the future depends on the readiness of our workforce and aligning our education offerings with the jobs needs of Tennessee industries," Commissioner Boyd said. "Our department plays a critical role in working with our education partners to make sure they know the needs of the workplace and are better aligned to serve Tennessee. It is incredibly important to develop and support these linkages, and I applaud Volkswagen for helping Team Tennessee build a pipeline of talent for generations to come."