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Volvo partners with BOS for STEM investment

William Paine/SWT
Volvo Trucks and the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors partnered to present this gift to Pulaski County Middle School for use in their STEM and Technology Lab. Seen here are (from left) Pulaski County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kevin Siers, Vice President and General Manager of Volvo Trucks Franky Marchand, PCMS President Rebecah Smith, PCMS STEM Instructor Heather Arnold, Pulaski County School Board Chair Tim Hurst, and County Administrator Jonathan Sweet.

 

 

By DAVID GRAVELY
editor@southwesttimes.com

Tuesday, Oct. 5, was a good day for Pulaski County students who have aspirations of one day landing a job of a job that requires a solid base of experience in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields as it was announced that a major contribution had been received.

Volvo Trucks has partnered with the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors to provide a gift in the amount of $24,000 to Pulaski County Middle School for the purpose of purchasing new teaching equipment and technology to further outfit the STEM and Technology Lab within the recently constructed school.

“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,” Franky Marchand, Vice President and General Manager, Volvo Trucks New River Valley Plant said. “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.”

Pulaski County Public Schools provide qualifying high school students, through the STEM Academy, several career pathways. Those include Engineering and Technology, Production, Therapeutic Services, Construction, Law, Public Safety, and Corrections and Security.

Student learning and achievement are enhanced through the integration of core academics, a STEM-focused curriculum, applied technology, and increased participation in career and technical student organization leadership events.

The overall goals of the Pulaski County STEM Academy are to provide students with 21st century, STEM-enriched technological skills and the knowledge necessary to succeed in postsecondary education and the world of work.

“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,” stated Megan Atkinson, Director of CTE, 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 sixth to seventh and on to eighth 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.”

The Pulaski County STEM Academy, which is located on the campus of Pulaski County High School, allows students in grades 9-12 the opportunity to explore career paths while also incorporating Virginia’s Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth.

“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 Jonathan D. Sweet, County Administrator. “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.”

Dr. Kevin Siers, Superintendent of Pulaski County Public Schools, was also grateful for the contribution to the educational experience for Pulaski County students.

“Pulaski County Public Schools greatly appreciates the assistance with funding and incredible support shown to our technology education program by Volvo and our local government over the past few years,” Dr. Siers stated. “The funds donated this week will be used to provide every tech ed student with the equipment needed to develop skills in the area of robotics. This contribution creates an incredible opportunity for our students to move ahead as leaders in our region and has our teachers excited about the future of our program.”

Pulaski County is currently the home to the lone Volvo Truck plant in North America and nine international industries from Sweden, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Canada, Columbia and Poland. Other international business partnerships are being sought as well. In 2018, a group from Pulaski that included members of the Pulaski County Economic Development team visited Turkey to build relationships there.

Volvo Trucks North America’s operations and products are guided by the company’s three core values: Quality, Safety and Environmental Care. The Volvo VNR, VNL, VNX, VHD and VAH trucks are assembled at the New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Virginia. The New River Valley Plant is certified to ISO50001 energy standards. Both plants are certified to ISO14001 environmental and ISO9001 quality standards. The Volvo Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines and employs about 110,000 people, has production facilities in 19 countries and sells its products in more than 190 markets.

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