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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YouthBuild Canton students complete siding training with CertainTeed

Students from Project Rebuild, our newest YouthBuild partnership in Canton, Ohio, recently participated in siding training with employees from our sister company, CertainTeed.

Mark McNabb, senior territory manager, coordinated the training and shared his knowledge of the siding products and oversaw the installation of CertainTeed’s Cedar Impressions Sawmill Shake Shingles. The experience was beneficial for the students and staff.

The students of YouthBuild Canton send a huge “thank you” to Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed for the opportunity to participate in the training.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to work on our project located at 1714 Frazer Avenue NW in Canton!

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YouthBuild Philadelphia students witness installation of solar panel system

Recently, three YouthBuild Philadelphia students visited the Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed North American headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania, to witness the assembly of three major components of a solar panel system—racking, solar module and the inverter—as a learning opportunity.

Saint-Gobain tapped two Chester County-based businesses to install the system—Alternative Energy Development Group (AEDG), based in Berlin, which served as the project developer and consultant, and Keares Electrical Consulting, based in Downingtown, which served as the electrical consulting firm.

The company’s decision to install CoolStar Solar Reflective Roofing and solar panel system from CertainTeed, coupled with its decision to install insulation from CertainTeed and electronically tintable dynamic glazing from SageGlass, led to the company earning LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for superior core and shell performance.

Since the company is not the building owner but has a long-term lease arrangement, ensuring the integrity of the roof was very important to both landlord and tenant. Saint-Gobain worked in close consultation with AEDG to deploy a solution that would ensure the roof integrity would not be compromised. As a result, the building serves as an example for how companies that are energy efficient and sustainability-minded can work together to move forward with a solar roof installation that has significant benefits for both building owner and occupant.

The company selected to install Solstice GreenTriplex PM250MO1 by CertainTeed Roofing. By installing this product, the company’s building scientists will be able to study the impact of the product which will enhance the development of other residential solar systems.

In addition to witnessing the solar installation, the YouthBuild students received a behind the scenes look at the installation process about how the system will impact energy savings and product development.

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Employees Team Up With Project Rebuild for EHS Day 2016

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics (PPL) and Project Rebuild celebrated Saint-Gobain’s International Environment, Health and Safety Day by constructing a bench made out of reclaimed wood from our partnership house on Frazer Ave in Canton, OH.

Project Rebuild students visited the PPL headquarters in Solon, OH, to help employees with the project. The project started with introductions and a discussion with Kristin Wilson, PPL’s Human Resources Manager, followed by the bench project.

Students and employees worked together side-by-side to build the bench.

The bench is now a part of the Solon campus, as the students left it as a token of appreciation for our partnership.

To see highlights from the project, click here



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Scientist in the Classroom continues with cycle 3

Saint-Gobain continued its STEM education partnership with YouthBuild Worcester by kicking off its third cycle of Scientist in the Classroom.

The Scientists in the Classroom series was designed to bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to YouthBuild Worcester students, by allowing Saint-Gobain’s Northboro R&D employees to participate as  volunteers. Northboro volunteers bring their STEM backgrounds and expertise to YouthBuild students by teaching STEM lessons to students in the classroom.

CertainTeed Senior Principal Scientist, Rachel Pytel and super abrasives  Senior Technical Specialist, Linda Bateman  shared their personal career journeys, which inspired both the students and staff.  Volunteers conducted a lesson on “Introduction to Thermal Expansion” with included demonstrations utilizing CertainTeed siding as well as various exercises in area and expansion.  The presentation was informative, fun and an overall great learning experience for all involved!

Check out some of the student’s reactions from the day below to see just how inspired
and motivated they felt after a day of being with “Scientists in the Classroom”!

 “It makes me want to go to the job site!”
– Alex Tayler

“I will look at houses differently now.  I learned so much about hot and cold temperatures.”
– Kosta Tziarbas

“Now I am interested in building houses with the materials we learned about.  It’s all so interesting!  Thank you!”
– Jordan Martinez

Click here to check out a video recapping the day. What a perfect way to kick off the 2016 series!

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Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics President is inspired by Leonard

In late April, we officially kicked off our partnership with YouthBuild Canton at a pep-rally style event attending by nearly 50 people, including the Mayor of Canton, followed by a volunteer service project –we had about 10 PPL employees working hard in providing sweat equity on the project.

Tom Kinisky, President of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics,  did a great job as our speaker.  He was inspiring…and he too was clearly inspired…see below for a blog he wrote on My Saint-Gobain following the event…thanks again Tom!

Tom’s Blog:

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the annual breakfast meeting of Project REBUILD in Canton, Ohio.  Project REBUILD is a non-profit agency that re-engages at-risk youth to complete a high school diploma or GED and acquire marketable skills in construction technologies through the rehabilitation or construction of affordable housing.  Together with Project REBUILD and YouthBuild-USA, we are supporting a project to rebuild a home in Canton, Ohio.  I was asked to represent Saint-Gobain at the breakfast meeting and to speak about the project and our affiliation with YouthBuild.

At our table was a young man named Leonard, who is currently enrolled in the Project REBUILD program.  He is about 5 months into a 9 month program.  Everyone at the table was asking him a lot of questions about his experience in the program and what he was going to do when he finished.  He told us how he was going to work at a local construction company and that he was also going to get his license to be a welder.  However, his real goal was to go to college and get a degree in social work so that he can help others who are in a similar situation to him.  He was very articulate and seemed at ease and comfortable talking to a group of business people about his future and time in the program.

Then he was asked how he got involved in Project REBUILD.  He said he learned about it from a friend who had gone through the program and thought it was so great.  We asked what the friend is doing now – thinking he had graduated and gone on to a new career.  Leonard said matter-of-factly – his friend didn’t last on the outside too long, especially after he left the project REBUILD program, and is now back in prison.  Then quickly added – that he would be different.  I suddenly realized how fragile life was for Leonard.  This well-spoken, focused, young man was trying so hard to make a different future for himself.

During my speech I mentioned Leonard and what a great spokesperson he was at our table for Project REBUILD.  Later we visited the house and as I was leaving he ran up to me and thanked me for giving him a shout-out during my speech – he was proud to be mentioned.  Then he told me how grateful he was for Saint-Gobain’s support and that I needed to come back to see the house finished.

It’s really inspiring to meet young people like Leonard who are working so hard for many of the opportunities most of us take for granted. I am glad we are part of this program. And, I will definitely go back to see the project.

Thanks to all the Performance Plastics people that volunteered to work on the house that day.  Life’s Material Difference takes on a new meaning in that context.


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