Scientist in the Classroom: Worcester YouthBuild students learn about thermal imaging

This summer, David Gebb, Senior Research Engineer at Saint-Gobain’s Research and Development Center in Northboro, visited students at the Worcester YouthBuild to demonstrate and discuss thermal imaging and the functions of infrared cameras.

David talked about how the technology works to measure heat, with students fascinated by how long body temperature stays on an object once a person walks away from the area.

In fact, did you know that even if an object appears to be redder than another, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the object is hotter?  What’s more is that you cannot see heat in the air, only off of objects! This was really cool to learn!

Through the use of the infrared camera, David showed the students how you can “write” on the wall since the camera picks up the heat coming from his hands!

It was clear from the students that David takes tremendous pride in this work and enjoys what he does for a living at Saint-Gobain.


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Frazer Street Insulation Training


At Project Rebuild, a CertainTeed Insulation employee, Ed,  traveled all the way from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Canton, Ohio to demonstrate how to install insulation at the  Frazer Street house to Project Rebuild students.  This took place on Tuesday, July 11th and Wednesday, July 12th 2017.  Here are several responses from students about the experience. . .

“Ed traveled from Pennsylvania to work with the YouthBuild here in Canton, Ohio. He gave us the opportunity to learn how to install insulation in the Frazer house we are currently working on. He spent two days with us. On the first day, he spent approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes explaining the safety basic training rules in our classroom, located at the Project Rebuild worksite.

During the insulation training session, we were taught what we needed to wear and what we needed to do, which was basically the mandatory equipment you would need for installing insulation. We also learned what density equaled.  First, you typically need to wear eye protection to prevent irritation in your eyes.  Second, you need to wear gloves so you don’t have direct contact with the insulation. Third, you will need to wear a dust mask to make sure you’re not breathing in the dust that floats out of the fabric.

After the basic safety training, we went down to the Frazer project where Ed demonstrated what we needed to do so we understood what we had to complete.  We learned about the house just in case the buyer asked us about what we were working on. When we learned how to put up the fabric, that’s when we learned how to make sure 6 inches were left off both of the sides of the fabric. It was by far a great work experience. Overall, I enjoyed working with Ed!

- Breanna Rivera


 “While taking part in Project Rebuild with Ed (who works for CertainTeed, which is owned by Saint-Gobain), I learned how to install insulation on the second floor at Frazer.  I also learned that the density of the insulation is supposed to be 1.8 and the formula is d=w/v.  The main purpose of this training session was to practice using the formula so we can have the knowledge to install the insulation on our own.                

During our training, we had to use safety masks, safety glasses and gloves.  The fabric that was used for insulation was about an inch and a half, and on each side we had to hang the fabric up on the ceiling using staples.  Joe taught me how to hang up the fabric, and it was only supposed to be an inch and a half apart from each other.  These were all of the components I learned that goes into installing insulation.”

- Shaquan McGough           

“On Tuesday, July 11th and Wednesday, July 12th, we were lucky enough to have a professional insulation installer named Ed come in to visit us at Project Rebuild and show us exactly how his job is done. 

First, Ed taught us in the classroom so we would know what we were doing when it came time to use the insulation blower machine.  He let us know that it is important to use safety glasses while operating the machine.  He taught us how to lay fabric on the inside of the houses, on the outside of the studs, to keep the insulation in one place. 

He also taught us that if we put enough training into something, we can be just as skilled as anyone in that field of work.  Ed works for CertainTeed, which is a company who makes insulation.  At the job site, we learned the insulation blower works by taking a hose and hooking it to the machine, then taking it to the fabric you laid over top of the studs, and using black PVC and attaching it to the other side of the hose. You then insert it into the fabric, which allows you to fill the space with insulation.  

Ed was even nice enough to buy lunch for the Project Rebuild members and staff during classroom training.  He was a good instructor and we hope to see him again!

-Jmon Mohr

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YouthBuild Worcester continues to welcome Scientists in the Classroom

Recently, YouthBuild Worcester students participated in three Scientists in the Classroom sessions led by engineers from the Saint-Gobain Research & Development Center in Northboro.

Mithun Kamath, Senior Research Engineer, focused his presentation on life goals and pursuing one’s dream. Raised in India, he came from a family who just made enough money to make ends meet and realized in order to grow he needed to change his life. Due to financial constraints, he had to wait five years before starting school at UMass Lowell to pursue his dream job in plastics engineering. Mithun explained to the students that even if they come from very little, they can still work to achieve what they want to do in life.

Steven Jacek, Research Engineer, enthusiastically walked through his day working in the lab. He shared several samples of construction and consumer materials and explained how those materials were created. His presentation ended with a fun activity which encouraged students to make the most products out of the materials they were provided to them—something Steven does on a daily basis!

Rachel Pytel, Senior Principal Scientist for CertainTeed R&D, and Linda Bateman, Senior Technical Specialist for Superabrasives R&D, also visited YouthBuild Worcester and shared their inspiring personal and professional journeys. Together, they led a detailed demonstration on how CertainTeed shingles are designed, made and tested.

YouthBuild Worcester is grateful to Mithun, Steven, Rachel and Linda for taking the time to share their experiences, wisdom and knowledge with the students.

Thank you Mithun, Steven, Rachel, Linda and Saint-Gobain!

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Project REBUILD: Frazier Street

Written by: Raina Wilson

On April 18th, 2017, our team at Project REBUILD Inc. was working on site at the Frazier Street project. Our main goal was to get the roof up and covered by end of day. The main reason for this was due to the weather. Even though rain and gusty winds were our opponent, we were still successful in achieving our goal. Once the trusses were up, it was time to put up the Ice Guard and Diamond Deck®. Ice Guard material helps in protecting from wind driven rains an ice buildup. Diamond Deck® is a “high performance synthetic underlayment and is manufactured to provide best-in-class performance in terms of both weather protection and contractor safety” (CertainTeed). Check out some of the photos below to see some of our progress on this exciting project!

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YouthBuild Worcester students tour Saint-Gobain Abrasives and Northboro Research & Development Center

On Thursday, April 20, students from YouthBuild Worcester toured Saint-Gobain Abrasives and the Northboro Research & Development Center to learn more about manufacturing and innovation at the Saint-Gobain family of companies.

Through its partnership with Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest building materials companies, YouthBuild Worcester, operated by Training Resources of America, provides former out-of-school young adults with the opportunity to earn their high school equivalency credentials while gaining in-demand green building skills and education.

Through this partnership, students are also provided with hands-on opportunities to learn about careers in the manufacturing and building materials industries through immersive initiatives like these facility tours.

Students first toured Saint-Gobain Abrasives where they were provided with a safety orientation and learned about the building material science behind bonded abrasives and superabrasives. Students then traveled to the Northboro Research & Development Center to learn about innovation at Saint-Gobain.

The tour was informative, fun, and eye-opening! Here’s what some of the students said about their experience:

“(The tour) opened my eyes to all of the machine operating that goes into making wheels. They literally make everything there and that’s cool!”  –Christian Fernandez

“I really liked the research and development branch in Northboro. What Aldo did with the insulation was so cool! It is amazing how much work goes into the simplest things. Now I know why everything is so expensive!” – Keith Lowell

“Everything was mind-blowing. I could see myself working in the research department because that’s right up my alley.” – Kabilraj Kantharaj

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YouthBuild Worcester students experience the thrill of luge

YouthBuild Worcester students recently learned about the sport of luge with 1998 Nagano Winter Games Double Luge Silver Medalist Gordy Sheer, and then experienced the thrill of luge first-hand at the Norton Luge Challenge, held at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, Massachusetts.

During the classroom discussion with Gordy, the students came prepared with a lot of questions and curiosity about the sport of luge, what it takes to be a luge athlete and why the sled is such an important part of the sport.

The students then learned how impactful Saint-Gobain’s work and involvement with the athletes has made –and continues to make—a significant material difference in how the athletes train, compete, and, ultimately, win medals!

Following the classroom presentation, the students took to the slopes at Wachusett Mountain and put what they learned about the sport of luge into action!

After a basic lesson in acceleration, steering and stopping techniques from the USA Luge athletes and coaches, the YouthBuild students were able to take practice runs on a recreational version of a luge sled down a track complete with curves and timing equipment.

It was a great day for three partners to come together to make a difference in the lives of the next generation of potential athletes and professionals!

Go Team USA!

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YouthBuild San Joaquin students complete CertainTeed Insulation training

Students at YouthBuild San Joaquin in California recently completed the CertainTeed Insulation Training Program (ITP) taught by leading experts in the field courtesy of the CertainTeed’s Insulation team. Participating in CertainTeed’s unique ITP program allowed students to add another important piece to their job training plans and put them on a path to help fill the talent pipeline for the company’s insulation contractors.

The whole concept of YouthBuild students participating in CertainTeed’s ITP started as a pilot program through YouthBuild Philadelphia and has spread across the country to include YouthBuild programs in Schenectady, New York, and St. Louis, Missouri.

A direct result of a partnership led by the CertainTeed Insulation team and Saint-Gobain corporate communications, the ITP leveraged existing Saint-Gobain Corporate Foundation programs to create this innovative school to work program.

Featured in USA Today, ITP is proof-positive that business-driven philanthropy, when combined with the power of partnership, can pave the way for youth to learn, and potentially, begin a rewarding career!

Check out this video from YouthBuild San Joaquin, which features our partnership and the insulation training, led by our own Ted Winslow.



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