Volvo, Pulaski County Board of Supervisors team up to invest $24K in local STEM education

New River Valley News

(Photo: Courtesy Vall d’Hebron Institut de Recerca VHIR / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 via MGN)

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Thanks to a new partnership between Volvo Trucks and the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors, the newly-constructed Pulaski County Middle School is set to receive a gift of $24,000 to buy new teaching equipment and technology for the school’s STEM and Technology Lab.

“Investing in the development of a STEM lab at the new Pulaski County Middle School is more than a corporate commitment, it is an investment in the students and in new technologies and career pathways right here in Pulaski County,” said Franky Marchand, the vice president and general manager for Volvo Trucks’ New River Valley Plant. “Our desire is to energize the creativity of today’s students in a STEM lab environment within the Middle School. We believe engaging scientific discovery with increased technological knowledge will lead to advantages in the student’s lives and in their future careers. We are excited to be involved with the County in this STEM and Technology Lab project.”

According to a joint statement released by Pulaski County and Volvo Trucks on Tuesday, Oct. 5, Pulaski County Public Schools provides qualifying high school students with potential career paths through the STEM Academy, including engineering and technology, production, therapeutic services, construction, law, public safety, corrections, and security.

Officials say the integration of core academics, a STEM-focused curriculum, applied technology, and increased participation in career and technical student organization leadership events serves to enhance both student learning and achievement.

“Volvo’s generosity and partnership with the Board of Supervisors will help accelerate the availability of the latest teaching technologies in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields for our middle school-aged students who may be at the critical crossroad of interest in pursuing a future in STEM,” stated Pulaski County Administrator Jonathan D. Sweet. “Having a well-equipped state-of-the-art technology lab within our middle school significantly enhances the experiential learning opportunities for our students and provides a foundation of understanding, appreciation and enjoyment for STEM subjects that will give our Pulaski County students a head-start in preparing for the 21st Century jobs of the future. We are thankful Volvo is willing to help us make such a meaningful investment in our children’s education and further demonstrate their sincere commitment to our community.”

The Pulaski County STEM Academy is designed to provide students in grades nine through 12 with 21st century, STEM-enriched technological skills, and the knowledge needed to succeed in postsecondary education and in the world of work.

Not only does this academy give students the opportunity to explore various career paths, but it also incorporates Virginia’s Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth.

“One of the bright spots of being an educator in Pulaski County is the support we receive from our local industries. Each year, our Industry and Community Partners find ways to support student learning in creative ways. Today we are celebrating one of these partnerships with a donation to our PCMS Robotics Lab,” said Megan Atkinson, Director of CTE at Pulaski County Public Schools. “We plan to purchase robotics kits so that every Tech Ed student gets a chance to work on a developmentally appropriate robotic system. As they transition from 6th to7th and on to 8th grade, they’ll be challenged with a new experience that develops critical thinking, creative thinking and problem solving. We are so grateful for our community partners and their dedication to the future workforce of Pulaski County.”

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