Bowling Green’s Assembly Plant does more than just build Chevrolet Corvettes.
It builds a bond with the community.
Plant Manager Kai Spande handed out $85,000 to eight community organizations in the Bowling Green area on Monday, including the Family Enrichment Center; Boys & Girls Club of Bowling Green; Kentucky War Memorial Unit; Barren River Area Safe Space; Friends of Lost River; Western Kentucky University Foundation; Bowling Green Area Chamber Foundation; Governor’s Scholars Program Foundation; and United Way of Southern Kentucky.
“I think it is just a great opportunity for the GM family and the United Auto Workers family to bond with the community,” said Jeff Wydner, UAW Local 2164 chairman.
Spande pointed out that the organizations actually received their checks on Monday.
“Not one of these is a check in the mail,” he said. “You actually get handed a check.”
He called the donations from the GM Foundation one way for GM to “give back” to the only community in the world where new Corvettes are built.
One of those organizations receiving a check was the Opt for Change program that helps victims of domestic violence. With the donation, the organization hopes to double the number of women and children it helped last year, when 100 received assistance.
Another check went to the On Track STEM program, which sees 500 students in local high schools and at a community college rebuild Chevrolet Camaros and then use them to compete in the Holley Performance Products LS Fest. With its focus on teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the program could well be shaping the future of workers who might work on the C9 or C10 Corvette.
“This is hands-on experience for the students in automotive disciplines,” Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mark Iverson said. “That translates when they graduate and become a better resource to employers here.”
Reporters also heard about the new 850-kilowatt solar array at the Corvette plant, which is the largest such array at any Kentucky automotive plant.
It’s expected to generate the equivalent of enough energy to run the plant for a week and produce 850 Corvettes, Spande said.
“We are bullish on renewable energy,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM global renewable energy manager, pointing out that GM has saved $80 million in energy costs through such efforts since 1993.
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