By linking outdoor recreation, youth development and education, the West Virginia University Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative and its partners Rad Power Bikes, Project Bike Tech and the Youth Cycling Coalition will spark the next generation of innovators, leaders and outdoor enthusiasts in West Virginia.
The Monongalia County school district will add a Bike Tech in School classroom and curriculum to a high school campus in 2022. This one-of-its-kind program that uses bicycles and bicycle mechanics to teach core and STEM academics, along with technical and mechanical skills, prepare students to enter the workforce and introduce them to small business operations.
The accredited elective from Project Bike Tech uses curriculum designed to introduce students to the many career pathways within the vast bicycle and outdoor industries, as well as prepare them for positions as bicycle technician or salesperson among a variety of other launching points in the workforce.
“We’re excited to have the support of a fantastic company like Rad Power Bikes. Their generous donation to Monongalia County Schools gets us a long way, giving students the opportunity to learn bicycle and e-bike mechanics while preparing them for a career in the outdoor industry,” said Project Bike Tech Executive Director Mercedes Ross.
Rad Power Bikes funded the classroom this Giving Tuesday (Nov. 30) with a $60,000 donation to support installation of the classroom shop and the growth of West Virginia’s cycling economy.
“When I started building ebikes in my parents’ garage at 15, I knew they had the potential to be a scalable solution to our mobility and climate change challenges,” said Mike Radenbaugh, CEO and Founder of Rad Power Bikes. “The ebike industry has grown rapidly and substantially since then, presenting a host of exciting new career opportunities. Providing a space for students to learn the technology hands-on is the best way to foster passion for ebikes and mobility. It’s humbling to help shepherd this movement, and I hope to inspire the next generation to join the ebike transportation movement.”
Project Bike Tech expanded its classrooms to West Virginia through the Youth Cycling Coalition. As the local coordinator for the Coalition’s pilot in Morgantown, the Collaborative provides research-based evaluation, access to bikes and equipment and operational support as well as expertise in soft surface trail and bike facility development.
“We are excited to have Rad Power Bikes invest in our community,” Greg Corio, assistant vice president of the Collaborative said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to help local youth develop skills and explore new career pathways. The bicycle also provides a great introduction to engineering and STEM fields. We again thank the Youth Cycling Coalition for selecting Morgantown as its pilot town. Being able to offer Project Bike Tech in Monongalia County schools is a direct result of our partnership with the Coalition.”
Monongalia County superintendent Eddie Campbell has been enthusiastic about the concept since its introduction.
“On behalf of the Monongalia County Board of Education, administrators, students and staff members, I would like to personally thank Rad Power Bikes for providing us with this incredible financial gift that will enable our students to be the first in the state of West Virginia to participate in the Project Bike Tech program,” Campbell said. “We are so thankful for community organizations who recognize the importance of providing skill-based career development programs to our young people. We are excited to get started and can’t wait to see our new bike repair lab in operation next fall.”
CONTACT: Christina Petrilli
Outdoor Marketing and Communications Manager
Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative
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