Chevron and Intermediate Unit 1 Launch Community Fab Lab

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New Digital Fabrication Laboratory Will Encourage and Cultivate STEM Education in Southwestern Pennsylvania, plus Mobile Fab Lab to Reach Students in Rural Locations

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Our partnership with Chevron is bringing project-based STEM learning to every corner of the country, urban and rural, to build the workforce of the future. ~~ Sherry Lassiter, Fab Foundation

Chevron and Intermediate Unit 1 (IU1), in coordination with The Fab Foundation, announced today the launch of a fabrication lab (Fab Lab) that will serve Fayette, Greene, and Washington counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. The IU1 Community Fab Lab will offer a permanent Fab Lab in Grindstone, as well as a mobile Fab Lab, which will give rural community school districts access to mobile technology and equipment that can be set up at their schools.

This digital fabrication workshop is made possible through a $1.2 million contribution by Chevron, part of the company’s $10 million commitment to the Fab Foundation, announced in 2014 at the White House Maker Faire, to build Fab Labs in areas where it operates in the U.S. This Fab Lab is a component of the Appalachia Partnership Initiative, a collaborative effort formed by Chevron in 2014 to develop a highly-skilled regional workforce.

The IU1 Community Fab Lab will feature state-of-the-art design and fabrication equipment, such as laser cutters, 3D printers, vinyl cutters and milling machines, which will give students and the broader community unprecedented access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) resources and help build the skills and experience needed to succeed in STEM fields. The Fab Lab will promote innovation and design in the community and will build the local workforce capacity.

In addition to the permanent Fab Lab in Grindstone, a mobile Fab Lab will also be available to serve communities in the areas of Fayette, Greene, and Washington counties. This will provide high-tech equipment and teacher resources that are not often available in rural parts of these counties. The IU1 mobile Fab Lab will help bring these tools out into the community so students can build the skills needed for jobs in STEM and technical fields.

Ensuring our students have the STEM skills necessary to navigate our increasingly technology-reliant world is critical to the U.S. economy. The hands-on learning that will be available at IU1 Fab Lab will help spark an interest in STEM and prepare individuals for the nearly 1 million U.S. jobs that will require basic STEM literacy over the next five years.

“Intermediate Unit 1 is proud to be one of the few organizations selected from around the world to receive both a mobile Fab Lab and a stationary community Fab Lab. Through the Intermediate Unit 1 community Fab Lab and mobile Fab Lab, our organization will continue to be an innovative educational keystone transforming education and learning for the countless students, educators, and community members we serve. We are extremely grateful for the support Chevron and the Fab Foundation have provided throughout this most worthwhile educational endeavor,” said Charles F. Mahoney, Intermediate Unit 1 Executive Director.

The IU1 Community Fab Lab will provide access to resources for the students in the K-12 system, undergraduate students and the community at-large, including skilled staff and volunteers, design and fabrication equipment and access to an international Fab Lab network.

“At Chevron, we understand STEM education is important to a successful future for our local communities, especially here in Appalachia. We are working with our partners to provide access to state-of-the-art education and technology resources to equip students with the critical STEM skills needed to fill the jobs of tomorrow, particularly for those with limited access to the tools necessary for success in these fields,” said Nigel Hearne, vice president of Chevron Appalachia Michigan Business Unit based in the Pittsburgh area. Chevron has invested $200 million in education worldwide since 2013.

“This Fab Lab is a tremendous resource for teachers and students throughout southwestern Pennsylvania, and particularly in Fayette County. It will help get our kids excited about science and give them the technical skills they will need in their careers. I commend Chevron for its commitment to our community and to educating our children,” said Fayette County Commissioner Al Ambrosini.

IU1 is a public educational service agency dedicated to providing quality leadership and services to schools and communities in southwestern Pennsylvania. For more than 15 years, IU1 has developed effective STEM programs and worked to foster education and innovation to prepare its communities for a successful future.

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